Honda F1 Abu Dhabi Grand-Prix race - finished the season in style

Honda F1 Abu Dhabi Grand-Prix race - finished the season in style

13.12.2020: ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX Yas Marina Circuit 11-13 December 2020 Sunday, December 13th 2020 We finished the 2020 season in style as Max dominated the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and three of the four Honda-powered cars scored points.



ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX
Yas Marina Circuit
11-13 December 2020
Sunday, December 13th 2020

 

 


We finished the 2020 season in style as Max dominated the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and three of the four Honda-powered cars scored points.
 



Starting from pole position, Max led away strongly and pulled out of DRS range before settling into a comfortable lead. Alex started fifth and also held station in the opening laps before making his way past Lando Norris on lap six to take fourth place and set off after the Mercedes pair ahead of him.


Daniil held onto seventh at the start while Pierre lost one position, but there was a bit of a movement in the opening stint as Daniil slipped back behind his Scuderia AlphaTauri team-mate. A Safety Car after 11 laps, caused when Sergio Perez retired  on track with a mechanical issue, set the course of the remainder of the race, allowing all four of our cars - like the majority of the field - to make a pit stop for hard tyres to run to the end of the race.



Max eased away in the lead and held the fastest lap until right at the end when it was snatched by Daniel Ricciardo on an alternate strategy, but he recorded pole position, victory and led every lap to dominate the final race of the season. After dropping back a little  from the top three, Alex looked after his tyres well to come back at the Mercedes drivers in the closing stages, crossing the line just 1.5 seconds behind Lewis Hamilton at the finish.



Pierre had to fight through traffic following the early pit stop and cleared Charles Leclerc with ease before making an impressive move on Lance Stroll under braking for Turn 11 as he climbed into the points, then also jumping Sebastian Vettel to score four points in eighth place. Daniil was similarly left out of position by the early stops and he just missed out on points in 11th.


We end the year with three victories - two for Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and one for AlphaTauri - and 11 further podiums, finishing second in the constructors’ championship with Red Bull and scoring AlphaTauri’s best-ever points total since it started out as Toro Rosso back in 2006. We were also the only PU manufacturer not to take any PU related penalty points with any of our four drivers this season.
 
 


 
Toyoharu Tanabe
Technical Director, Honda Racing F1   



"It was great to finish the season with a win from Max and Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, to bring Honda’s total to three wins for the year. Max dominated the race, starting from pole, never looking under pressure from those behind him, leading all the way to the chequered flag. It was a fantastic performance. Alex got really close to catching Hamilton for third place, but there were not quite enough laps to do it.


As for Scuderia AlphaTauri, Pierre again drove an aggressive race with some great overtaking moves and unfortunately, Daniil lost some positions after the pit stop and finished just outside the points in eleventh place. Overall, this was a strong result for Honda to round off the year. The Covid-19 pandemic meant we had a very compressed season. We had hoped to challenge for the championship title with Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, but we could not match Mercedes over the year and so it’s clear we need to work very hard to improve our package.


All the same, there were some high points, such as Max winning the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix and Pierre taking his first F1 win, the team’s second in our 50th race with the team at their home Grand Prix in Monza. Another positive is that we learned from previous seasons, improving our reliability so that we used just the three PUs allowed per driver, taking no PU-related penalties. I would like to thank everyone involved in the Honda F1 programme for all their hard work in these difficult times, as well as all our friends at Red Bull and AlphaTauri.



Their efforts are much appreciated and thanks must also go to the families that supported them. As previously announced, at the end of next season, Honda will pull out of Formula 1. But our goal remains the same: to win the world championship. Along with our partner teams we will now be working very hard during what will be a very short off-season in the search for more performance, so that we can come back stronger."
 


 
Max Verstappen
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing    Race:1st


"It has been a very enjoyable two days which we didn’t really expect coming into the weekend. Being on pole was already great but to win here is a perfect end to the season for us all. The tyre management was good and the car had a nice balance which made it very enjoyable to drive. I expected a very tough fight today but I think we managed everything very well and there was never really a moment where I felt under pressure which is a pretty good feeling.



To finish the year off like this I’m of course very happy with and I just hope we can start next season competitively, so we can be there right from the start, as we want to be able to try and fight for the championship but for that we need to start strong. Everyone in the Team and at Honda has worked so hard the whole year to improve the car and this is a really good boost going into the winter and I hope everyone gets to celebrate tonight."
 
 



Alexander Albon
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing    Race:4th


"I’m happy and I think if the race was a couple of laps longer I’d be even happier as I feel we could’ve got past Lewis and taken another podium today. I was managing my tyres at the beginning of the stint and maybe I was too conservative as I had lots of life left in them at the end of the race whilst everyone else’s were starting to drop off. But overall it’s a great result for the Team today and I’m happy with my race.


I’ve felt very good with the car this weekend and it’s probably been my best in F1. There was obviously a lot of pressure coming into this race and my only goal was to focus on my performance and do the best job possible so I’m proud of how I’ve delivered under the circumstances. It feels great to prove to everyone that I’m strong enough mentally to deal with all the external talk and keep improving.



As a Team we haven’t given up, I’ve had a lot of support from everyone back at the factory and we’ve worked hard with the engineers to make me more comfortable in the car. Now I’m just looking forward to going home and relaxing with my family."
 



 
Pierre Gasly
Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda    Race:8th


"I’m very happy to finish P8 today. It’s been an intense race, with a lot of overtakes and quite a few battles on track. In general, it hasn’t been an easy weekend and I didn’t feel that good in the car, but I managed to make it count in the race when it really mattered. I’m really pleased to give the team a few more points before going into the winter break and I’m glad we made the best out of the last one here in Abu Dhabi.


I would like to say a big thanks to the whole team for this season. It has been a real pleasure to work with everyone, I think we took a big step forward in all areas and we're really taking the fight in the midfield battles. Now we have a bit of time to enjoy the great things we achieved together this year and our first great win together. We’ll fully recharge the battery for next season to come back even stronger and try to achieve even better performances."
 



 
Daniil Kvyat
Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda    Race:11th



"It’s frustrating as I would have wanted to finish the season with a better result, but unfortunately today I got stuck in a train behind Vettel and that cost a lot of time. I think the key point of the race was during the first stint: on the Soft tyres we expected the degradation to be on the rear but, instead, we finished the front tyres and when you have understeer you’re a sitting duck.



I lost a couple of positions to some key cars before the virtual safety car which put me on the back foot. It’s a shame to finish just outside of the points as the pace was there, but recovering from the first stint was very hard. The season as a whole was alright, we had some really good races, and others where we should have scored more points, but for one reason or another, it didn’t happen. This is how things go sometimes, but I would like to thank everyone in the team for another intense season together."
 
 



- Honda - photos Red Bull

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13.12.2020 / MaP

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