The Day After: Not a bang, but a whimper

Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Aston Martin Red Bull Racing RB16 during the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on December 13, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

A race that fizzled out almost immediately, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix saw the 2020 Formula 1 season end with not a bang, but a whimper.

Nevertheless, it still had plenty to talk about, so only makes sense to do one final round of medium hits.

First off, congratulations to Max Verstappen. To win a race in such a boring fashion against what might be the most dominant car ever – although the characteristics of the track certainly helped – is a testament to his ability as a driver. That said, I fully expect the Mercs to show up in Melbourne next year and be three tenths faster than everyone.

After a rollercoaster battle for third in the constructors, we end up back where it started, with McLaren on top of Racing Point and Renault. Obviously Sergio Perez’s weekend-long misfortune had a part to play in the final result, but I would argue that given how evenly-matched the cars were, it is just more proof that drivers can make the difference.

Speaking of Perez and drivers. Ted Kravitz is reporting he will be announced as Alex Albon’s replacement at Red Bull in the near future. While I don’t trust Ted’s taste in footwear, I do trust his reporting, and really, after Sakhir, it would be hard to justify any other outcome.

It’s a great shame that Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari tenure ends with a scoreless finish, but sentiment aside, it’s a fair reflection of what has been one of the worst years in the team’s history. Next year they will supposedly be bringing a new engine which will return them to promince – suffice to say, I’ll believe it when I see it.

Lost in all the hubbub over the departures of various drivers, it’s worth mentioning that this race brings to an end the Chase Carey-era of Formula 1. Will be very interesting to see what his legacy is – personally, I’m a big fan of his efforts to bring the sport into the digital age, but I hate that he’s kept expanding the calendar. Either way, so long to Mr. Moustache, and here’s to a new beginning under Stefano Domenicali!

Driver of the Day: Daniel Ricciardo

As biased as I am towards my compatriot, it’s impossible to deny he drove a superb race from 11th to 7th on the grid. As GP247’s resident stats-whiz “KartCMP1” pointed out in his “Best Case Race Pace” stat breakdown, he absolutely served teammate Esteban Ocon in one final reminder of what Renault will be missing next season.

Worst of the Day: Hermann Tilke

Now 12 years into its existence, it’s clear the Tilke-designed Yas Marina circuit is one of the worst tracks on the calendar. Considering its owners have more money than god, surely some reconfigurations aren’t out of the question?

Quote of the Day:

Not a quote, but a song, as Sebastian Vettel serenades Ferrari for the last time: