Verstappen beats Mercs in easy Abu Dhabi GP win

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Verstappen beats Mercs in easy Abu Dhabi GP win

Max Verstappen claimed a dominant victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to finish 2020 with Red Bull’s second race win of the year. Verstappen finished ahead of Mercedes pair Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton, who said he was not at 100 percent after returning from a COVID-19 layoff. Hamilton had already wrapped up the championship with three races to spare at November’s Turkish Grand Prix. Verstappen’s win means Red Bull finishes on a high, with the Dutchman also claiming the team’s first pole position of the campaign on Saturday. The Dutch driver had claimed a stunning win at Silverstone’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix in July and has been comfortably best of the rest behind the Mercedes duo, with nine other podium appearances on top of his two victories. Bottas secured second in the championship, but his season has seen him finish a distant 124 points shy of teammate Hamilton. Verstappen’s teammate Alex Albon finished fourth in a solid but unspectacular drive. Albon is still unsure whether he will remain at Red Bull into 2021, with the team expected to make a decision before Christmas. In what was a processional event, the main interest was the midfield fight for third in the constructors’ championship. Coming into the weekend, Racing Point led McLaren by 10 points and Renault by 22 points in the battle, which is worth millions of dollars in prize money. Racing Point suffered an early setback when Sergio Perez’s engine failed on the ninth lap of the race. With Lance Stroll claiming Racing Point a single point after struggling to tenth position, McLaren looked to have done enough to edge in front, with Lando Norris (5th) and Carlos Sainz (6th) securing 18. Sainz is set to visit the stewards post-race for a slow entry to the pit-lane, although it is unlikely he will get a penalty heavy enough to change the outcome of the midfield fight. Daniel Ricciardo finished seventh for Renault, his final appearance for the team before replacing Ferrari-bound Sainz at McLaren, and claimed an extra point for the fastest lap of the race. Ocon overtook Stroll on the final lap to jump from 10th to 9th, although Renault still finished fifth in the championship. Ferrari rounded out its disappointing 2020 with Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel finishing 13th and 14th respectively, the fifth race of the season it failed to finish with either car in the points.