Abu Dhabi (dpa) – After crossing the finish line in a Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel serenaded his childhood dream. The four-time Formula 1 world champion said goodbye to the Scuderia after six years of singing over the radio.
Even if the Italians didn’t win the title, the Heppenheimer was ultimately emotional. At the season finale in Abu Dhabi, Vettel experienced the last pointless disappointment in 14th place, before driving for the new Aston Martin team next year.
“You are the red team, passionate, you never give up,” Vettel sang to the tune of the song “Azzurro,” adding, “Feeling your magic was an extraordinary experience. Guys, thank you!” Vettel also sent a greeting to the Maranello factory, adding, “Now I say goodbye and wish you all the best!”
When the Dutchman Max Verstappen won in the Red Bull, Vettel had no chance and closed the turbulent Corona emergency year as World Cup 13. as bad as never before in his career in a full season. The veteran was pointless ten times in 17 races. As third in Istanbul, he took the podium once in 2020. His last victory so far comes in September 2019 in Singapore, while Verstappen took the tenth Grand Prix victory of his career.
“I think saying goodbye is always difficult after so many years. Today’s race and the year don’t represent the time we had,” said Vettel at Sky: “On the one hand I’m sad, on the other I’m looking forward. to the next chapter. “
Verstappen drove Valtteri Bottas and world champion Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes to second and third places – and with an impeccable performance he raised the hope for a more exciting 2021 season. “I really enjoyed it,” said the Dutchman enthusiastically. “It was a very good race for the team.” Bottas was second in the world championship for Verstappen.
Verstappen confidently defended his first place on the grid and extended his lead in the beginning. Hamilton couldn’t pass Bottas and found himself on the defensive on one of his parade courses. Hamilton had won five times in Abu Dhabi in the past – more times than anyone. However, after his coronavirus infection last week, the veteran was not in top shape. He was only allowed to start on Thursday after taking a break in Bahrain last Sunday.
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The World Cup decision had been made a month ago when Hamilton became seven-time champion in Turkey, but the Brit wanted to be there again. He also experienced the last Vettel Grand Prix in red. “This year has been difficult in many ways. I hope we can find a good finish,” said Vettel. It must – again – remain with one wish.
His mechanics applauded the veteran as he drove out of the Scuderia garage for the last time, and teammate Charles Leclerc personally wished him the best of luck. But it went like so many races in recent months. Vettel again had problems with the car, which he didn’t really have access to all year. Vettel started from 13th position and did not progress alone. Even before the weekend it was clear that he could not improve the general classification. Last year with the Italians was the most frustrating after finishing second in the world championship twice. But he was unable to emulate his idol Michael Schumacher and lead Ferrari at the very front.
Everything should get better in 2021 when Vettel steps into the Aston Martin. There, the Hessian replaces the Mexican Sergio Perez. Last week’s Bahraini winner retired early at his Racing Point in Abu Dhabi. The 30-year-old has not yet found a new employer. The top teams used Perez’s retirement with the subsequent safety car phase for their first pit stop, and the field closed early again. However, the Ferraris did not change tires and Vettel was even in seventh place.
At the front, Verstappen drove his laps alone and kept the Silver Arrows at a relaxed distance. The pole setter has always won in Abu Dhabi for the past five years. Vettel also has three Emirates wins in his vita – but they’re all still in his time at Red Bull. “I’m being eaten,” Vettel sent to his pits after a little more than halfway through the radio. After finally getting new tires on lap 36 of 55, Vettel dropped out of the points and crossed the finish line far from the top positions. Shortly before time, he was even overtaken by Verstappen. The winner was still concerned about his tires, but easily took his second win of the season.