After 21 races in a record-breaking season, in which we have seen Max Verstappen and Red Bull wrap up their Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles, respectively, with the latter also securing their first-ever 1-2 in the Drivers’ Standings, we come to the season finale of the 2023 Formula One season in Abu Dhabi.
Verstappen keeps on dominating, and it remains to be seen if he can close out an incredible season with a seventh win in a row. Elsewhere, McLaren and Aston Martin are engaged in a tight scrap for P4 in the Constructors’, while there’s action right up till the bottom of the table.
Plenty of things are at stake heading into the final race of the season. Here are our predictions for the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Three-way battle for P4
When the 2023 Formula One season started, it looked like Verstappen would run away with the championship (which he did) and Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin would be a strong contender for P2 in the Drivers’ Standings.
While Aston Martin fell through the ranks over the course of the season, the likes of Sergio Pérez, Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris all stepped up, which brought them into the fight for the second spot.
While Verstappen has confirmed his third title and his teammate and Hamilton have booked the P2 and P3 spot in the Drivers’, respectively, the fight for P4 is still wide open, with three drivers still in the fight. Carlos Sainz, Fernando Alonso and Lando Norris are still trying to secure that fourth spot, and while Sainz and Alonso are tied on 200 points heading into the final race of the season, Norris is only five points behind them.
It should be another tight finish to the season. The Abu Dhabi track is one that should favour McLaren and Aston Martin. Expect an intense finish to the season with Alonso and Norris in the hunt for the final podium place and a good haul of points.
Win Prediction: McLaren / Aston Martin
Battle to avoid the wooden spoon
While the battle in the middle of the Constructors’ Standings is still on heading into the final race of the season, there is also an intense and tight battle on right at the bottom of the field.
Alfa Romeo and Haas have both had a year to forget as they lie right at the bottom of the Constructors’ Standings in ninth and tenth, respectively. Both teams have gone pointless in the last four races, and with four points separating them, it’s a battle right to the end to avoid finishing last.
Historically, Yas Marina has been a rough track for both Alfa Romeo and Haas; they’ve failed to score points in here since 2018. That said, Alfa Romeo do hold a slight advantage given the nature of the track.
Expect another scrap towards the end of the field from both Alfa Romeo and Haas.
Time to sign off a record-breaking season with another win
It’s been a record-breaking season for Max Verstappen. He has won the most number of races in a single season and now also holds the record for the highest win percentage in a season.
Verstappen has been near-flawless this season, rarely having put a foot wrong and showcasing maturity and dominance in his third World Title-winning season. At various circuits around the world he’s adapted naturally, and last weekend at the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix, which was the newest track on the F1 calendar, even though he didn’t have the best of Qualifying and starts, the Dutchman charged through the field to take the win.
Coming to the end of a season in which they have won all but one race, expect Red Bull to end on a dominating note, with Verstappen signing off an incredible 2023 with a win at the track where he won his first World Title two years ago.
Pole Prediction: Max Verstappen / Sergio Pérez
Win Prediction: Red Bull
Circuit: Yas Marina Circuit
Venue: Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, the UAE
Practice Session 1 time: 15:00, November 24
Practice Session 2 time: 18:30, November 24
Practice Session 3 time: 16:00, November 25
Qualifying time: 19:30, November 25
Main race time: 18:30, November 26
Where to watch: F1 TV Pro
(All timings IST)