Verstappen wins F1 season finale at Abu Dhabi GP

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Red Bull's Max Verstappen took his second win of the 2020 Formula 1 season at Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, as the expected challenge from Mercedes failed to materialize.

In a typically processional affair at the Yas Marina Circuit, the Dutchman led every lap from pole position and was never threatened as he cruised to a surprisingly easy victory in F1's final race of 2020.

"It was really enjoyable yesterday already and today, of course. We had a good start and from there on, of course you look after the tyres, but the car was having a good balance," Verstappen said.

"It was really enjoyable out there today. We did everything alright. Once you start up front you can control the race a bit more and it makes your life easier."

After Verstappen came the Mercedes duo of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton, neither of whom appeared to have the pace to challenge the dominant Verstappen - an unusual outcome at a circuit where Mercedes have won every race since the start of F1's turbo-hybrid era in 2014.

World champion Hamilton was returning to his W11 after sitting out the preceding Sakhir Grand Prix with COVID-19, and the Briton seemed out of sorts all weekend, outpaced by Bottas for the first time since the season opener in Austria.

"Considering the past couple of weeks I've had, I really am generally happy with the weekend," Hamilton said.

"That was a really hard race for me physically. All year I've been fine but today I definitely wasn't. I'm just glad it's over and a big, big thank you to the team for their continued support. It's still a fantastic result to get two podium finishes."

Behind the top three, Verstappen's teammate Alex Albon took fourth, with Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz finishing fifth and sixth to help McLaren leapfrog Racing Point and seal third place in the constructors' championship.

Daniel Riccardo set fastest lap and finished seventh in his Renault ahead of AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly, and Ricciardo's teammate Esteban Ocon overtook Racing Point's Lance Stroll on the last lap to finish ninth, just ahead of the Canadian.

Stroll's teammate Sergio Perez was the only driver to fail to see the chequered flag, as the Mexican pulled off on lap 10 with a transmission issue that dealt a serious blow to Racing Point's hopes of finishing third in the constructors' standings.

World champion Hamilton's final points tally stands at 347. Bottas finishes some way off his teammate in second place with 223, and Verstappen takes third with 217.

In the constructors' standings, a dominant season sees Mercedes finish top with 573 points. Red Bull are a distant second on 319, and McLaren edge a tight battle for third with 202 points.

The 2021 Formula 1 season is scheduled to begin with the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne on March 21. 

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