VERSTAPPEN WINS IN ABU DHABI
Formula One came to Abu Dhabi for the 2022 finale and as always it was a relatively dull race -the exception to that being this race last year. It was a race that was dominated by goodbyes for so many of the drivers.
Max Verstappen leads from Sergio Perez to Charles Leclerc in third - a clean start from all the drivers. Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz almost come together into turn nine as Hamilton is forced wide and over the rumble strip but no action is taken by the stewards.
The first rush of pit stops came on lap 16 as Perez pits from second and drops to fifth. He is followed in by several other drivers. On lap 21 Verstappen pits for the lead and Leclerc takes the lead.
On the very next lap Leclerc pits from the lead and comes out third behind Verstappen and Perez in second.
Just 28 laps into this race Fernando Alonso is forced to retire and his final race for Alpine is a DNF.
The only real bit of drama came on lap 39 when Mick Schumacher and Nicholas Latifi came together as both drivers are able to carry on.
With just a few laps left (lap 55/58) Hamilton has a gearbox problem and is very slow - his gears are sticking and is forced to pit and retire for his first mechanical issue of the season - which is extraordinary reliability from the Mercedes team which really struggled in this first half of the season.
Latifi also retires from the race.
This race as uneventful as it was it was all about the goodbyes that we say to drivers as we say goodbye to Latifi who will leave Williams, we also say goodbye to Schumacher and Ricciardo - two drivers many hope will make a full time return to the grid very soon.
But today was all about Sebastian Vettel as he says goodbye to Formula One as he retires from the sport - he leaves with a lasting legacy and will walk away as statistically the third most successful driver in the sports history.
4 World Champions and 52 race wins.
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