2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Sunday
- Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won his first world title in dramatic fashion at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with three pit stops: taking the lead on the final lap after stopping for P Zero Red soft tyres during a safety car.
- Verstappen started from pole on the soft compound but was passed by his title rival Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) who began the race on the P Zero Yellow medium. Verstappen was the first of the two to make his stop from soft to P Zero White hard on lap 13, followed one lap later by Hamilton, who switched from medium to hard. Verstappen then made a second stop for hard tyres under a virtual safety car on lap 36 before his third and final stop for softs under a full safety car with five laps to go.
- There was a wide variety of strategies seen throughout the race, with five different run plans in the top five at the finish, influenced also by the safety car periods.
- Eight drivers – including the polesitter – began the race on the soft compound, with nine on the medium and just two (AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and Alpine driver Fernando Alonso) on the hard tyre: both of whom finished in the points.
- The race got underway in warm and dry conditions with 28 degrees centigrade asphalt and 25 degrees ambient: similar to qualifying and staying consistent to the finish.
HOW EACH TYRE PERFORMED
- HARD C3: Instrumental to the race, this compound completed some long stints while offering very good and consistent performance; also allowing Verstappen to set the fastest race lap. The two drivers who started on the hard completed a 36-lap stint on them with full fuel while Hamilton did 44 laps on this tyre, with low wear and degradation.
- MEDIUM C4: Used during the first stint by around half the field, with Hamilton able to take the lead off the line on this compound. His team mate Valtteri Bottas did 30 laps on them during his opening stint (a total of 35 laps on that set, as it was also used in qualifying).
- SOFT C5: With similar behaviour to the medium, this proved key to Verstappen’s title and win, when he used it for the final racing lap to move in front after the safety car re-start. This compound performed in line with expectations, with very few signs of abrasion.
FORMULA 2: FEATURE RACE AND SPRINT RACE
In the second 23-lap Sprint Race held on Saturday evening, UNI-Virtuosi’s Guanyu Zhou won ahead of Prema’s Robert Shwartzman and Campos driver Ralph Boschung. The drivers all used the P Zero Yellow medium tyre but the fastest lap was set by DAMS driver Roy Nissany, who boxed to put on the P Zero Purple supersoft.
Half of the drivers began the 33-lap F2 Feature Race, which took place before the Formula 1 Grand Prix and features a compulsory pit-stop, on the supersoft compound, with the other half choosing the alternative strategy by starting on the medium. Piastri reclaimed the lead to win, having started from pole, with UNI-Virtuosi’s Felipe Drugovich in third on the alternative strategy. Both compounds performed well, as per expectations.
MARIO ISOLA – HEAD OF F1 AND CAR RACING
“We had a tense and strategic battle for the championship, when a virtual safety car and then a full safety car provided two pivotal moments. Max Verstappen pitted for new tyres on each occasion and tried to hunt down Lewis Hamilton, who stayed out and managed his tyres well to the finish, but could do nothing about the effect of Verstappen’s fresh soft tyres on the final lap. From the beginning, the two title protagonists had diverging strategies, starting on different compounds and adopting different strategies, which we saw all the way down the field; thanks also to the unpredictable nature of this race. All three compounds played an important role, standing up extremely well to the challenge of this new track layout and contributing to a thrilling finale. Congratulations to Max Verstappen for his first title and to Mercedes for clinching the constructors’ championship. It’s been an absolutely incredible season with some of the most intense competition we can remember: a fitting way to close the chapter on 13-inch tyres before starting a new one with 18 inches.”
|BEST TIME BY COMPOUND|
|LONGEST STINT OF THE RACE|
|PIT STOP SUMMARY|
|CAR||DRIVER||START||PIT 1||PIT 2||PIT 3|
|33||VER||C5u||C3n (13)||C3n (36)||C5u (53)|
|22||TSU||C4u||C3n (23)||C5u (53)|
|10||GAS||C3n||C4u (36)||C5n (54)|
|4||NOR||C5u||C3n (17)||C4n (48)|
|16||LEC||C5u||C3n (15)||C4u (35)|
|3||RIC||C5u||C3n (18)||C5u (52)|
|18||STR||C4n||C3n (21)||C5n (52)|
|47||MSC||C5n||C3n (10)||C5u (52)|
|11||PER||C5u||C3n (21)||C3n (36)||C5u (53)|
C3 = Hard C3 | C4 = Medium C4 | C5 = Soft C5
n = new | u = used