Weekend Review: 10 – 12 December 2021
After one of the most dramatic conclusions to the Formula 1 World Championship in recent years and a title-winning weekend for rising star Oscar Piastri, here’s everything you need to get up to speed on the action:
Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
A late safety car and the ensuing drama ensured Max Verstappen (Red Bull) would be crowned Formula 1 World Champion after a last-lap pass on Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes).
Hamilton made a lightning start to lead into the first corner and gradually built up his advantage, but lost time behind Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez after his pit stop to bring the two title protagonists back together on track.
Verstappen elected to pit for a fresh set of hard compound tyres as the race wore on, but Hamilton elected to continue. The Red Bull’s pace advantage saw the gap shrink, but – crucially – Hamilton seemed on course for a record-breaking eighth world title heading into the closing stages with a comfortable margin out front.
Nicholas Latifi went off in the final sector and hit the wall, bringing out the safety car. Verstappen pitted once more for the faster, softer compound tyre, with Mercedes electing to keep Hamilton out front and retain track position.
The Brit looked to be in a strong position, with Verstappen having re-joined behind several lapped cars. The message initially was that those cars were not to be allowed the opportunity to overtake the safety car, but a late call to reverse that decision ensured the pair would restart the race nose-to-tail.
Verstappen duly seized his moment, passing Hamilton at the Turn 5 chicane before bringing it home two seconds clear to spark pandemonium on the Red Bull pit wall, and headlines worldwide.
Mercedes have lodged their intention to protest the result.
FIA Formula 2 – Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi
A podium in the opening sprint race proved enough for Oscar Piastri as the PREMA driver cruised to the FIA Formula 2 title at last weekends season finale at Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi.
Reversed back to tenth after a fifth consecutive pole position in qualifying, the Australian made his way through the pack to seal the coveted title in F1’s premier feeder category but retired from the second after a collision at Turn 9 with Roy Nissany and Juri Vips.
Mark Webber’s protegee bounced back in fine fashion, dominating Sunday’s Feature Race in the build-up to the Grand Prix from pole to round out a season that yielded his third major title in four years.