Driver Ratings: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
(Photo credit: Charles Coates/Getty Images)

Well, what a gripping season it has been.

For the final time this season, here is Vavel’s driver ratings - and there’s no surprise as to who our Driver of the Day was...


Lewis Hamilton – 10/10

A crowning race on an epic season. Lewis Hamilton finished off 2019 in style as he secured pole position, fastest lap, race win and led every lap along the way - a Grand Slam to add to an already mightily successful season.

Hamilton and Mercedes proved untouchable on the day as they made their advantage count in the final sector and managed their rivals in the first two.
It ended up being a 16.7 second victory for Hamilton on a day he hardly needed to get out of second gear.

Max Verstappen - 9/10

Verstappen closed out the season strong, taking a comfortable second-place finish. He completed a good first stint on the Softs to give himself the tyres to retake P2 from Leclerc, and, even with some turbo lag strife, was able to ease clear of the Ferrari driver en route to the flag.

Charles Leclerc – 8/10

After four races away from the podium, Leclerc bounced back in Abu Dhabi as he finished as the best two-stopper in the field.

Leclerc got off to a lightning start on the soft tyres but having to pit earlier than his two rivals cost him and he eventually pitted twice.

After a brilliant spell just after the summer break, Ferrari’s race pace has dropped off towards the end of the year, Leclerc will be hoping that turns around come March.

Valtteri Bottas - 8.5/10

Bottas was always facing an uphill struggle, starting from the back of the grid due to his engine penalties.
But he was able to scythe through the field well and recover to P4, needing another couple of laps to grab third from Charles Leclerc at the end.
He’d probably have done so had he cleared Nico Hulkenberg in the first stint, but without DRS and, after his clash with Romain Grosjean in FP2, he probably thought twice about going for a lunge.

Sebastian Vettel – 5.5/10

Ups and downs for Vettel across 2019 and unfortunately this one belongs to the latter.
Trailing narrowly to his teammate, Vettel was the victim of a poor Ferrari double-stacking effort, he then got stuck in a group behind Hulkenberg and never recovered from there.

2019 marks the first time Vettel has lost to a teammate when basked in red, he’ll look to turn that around in the new year.

Alexander Albon – 6/10

Albon struggled in qualifying, finishing more than half a second off Verstappen, but enjoyed a nice battle with Vettel through the race.
With fading tyres, Albon was powerless to keep Vettel back in the closing stages, dropping to sixth, with the gap to his teammate standing at 53 seconds by the chequered flag.

Sergio Perez – 8.5/10

Vintage Perez once more as he performed his trademark long first stint that focused on tyre preservation before making some clinical overtakes in the second half of the race.
The result means Perez ticks over the 50 mark for the season, a solid total considering the car’s shortcomings in qualifying. 

Lando Norris - 7.5/10

Norris was the midfield leader for the majority of the weekend in Abu Dhabi, heading them in qualifying and leading the train after the first stint.
But by sticking to a one-stop strategy, he was left open to an attack from Sergio Perez, who made a super pass through the chicane to take seventh. P8 was still a decent way to end the year all the same.

Daniil Kvyat – 8/10

Outside of the Williams drivers, Kvyat was the only driver to start the race on the hard tyres.
As the McLaren and Renault drivers came into the pits early on, Kvyat went all the way to lap 40 before making his stop. He then picked up positions as other drivers’ tyres fell away - strong showing considering the pace of his Toro Rosso.

Carlos Sainz - 7/10

Carlos Sainz said he was treating the fight for P6 in the standings like a fight for a world championship – and boy, did he fight.
Undercut by Norris and overcut by Hulkenberg in the first stint, Sainz made a late switch to a two-stop in a last-ditch attempt to grab a point – something he took on the very last lap, diving past Hulkenberg with a bold move. Bravo señor!

Daniel Ricciardo – 7/10

Undercutting the early pit stops of the McLaren duo, Ricciardo found himself in a race-long duel with the McLaren guys but he failed to beat either as he slipped out of the points.

Nonetheless Ricciardo has had a solid first year with the team, even if the car hasn’t been what he might have expected.

Nico Hulkenberg – 6/10

A sign-off from Hulkenberg that reflected his career to date: promising, but ultimately falling short.
He did well to keep Bottas, Vettel and Albon back as they struggled to pass without DRS, giving him the overcut on Sainz and Ricciardo, but committing to a one-stop left him unable to keep those on fresher rubber back at the end, causing him to fall to 12th on the last lap.

Kimi Raikkonen – 6.5/10

After their best team result of the year in Brazil, it was a crash back down to earth for the Alfa duo as they struggled all weekend long.
Raikkonen did at least put up more of a fight to come home P13.

Kevin Magnussen - 6/10

A season Haas will be glad to see the back of. Magnussen started well, rising from 14th to ninth on the opening lap, but then endured his traditional fall down the order.
After moving to Hards, Magnussen was left a lowly 14th, unable to progress as the drivers ahead kept things clean.

Romain Grosjean – 5/10

After qualifying on Saturday, Grosjean spoke about the VF-19 and being less than reluctant to say goodbye to it.
With another dismal race on Sunday, he can now draw a line under 2019 and focus on next year.

Antonio Giovinazzi - 5/10

Giovinazzi gambled on a two-stop strategy to try and recover from his Q1 exit, starting on Softs, but didn’t have the pace to make it work, leaving him behind both of the Haas cars at the flag.

George Russell – 7/10

It’s been a tough season for Russell who ends the year as the only driver not to score points although there is little question as to who has been the better Williams driver this year.
A 21-0 record in qualifying might be small consolation but it’s those small victories that you have to take in his spot.

Pierre Gasly – 5/10

With a chance of P6 in the championship, Gasly’s fate was out of his hands from the off as he was involved in a first corner incident that saw him dive into the pits after the opening lap.

No safety car meant no chance of recovery as he spent the rest of the race in relative obscurity.

Robert Kubica – 5/10

Kubica’s F1 swansong held promise as he led Russell early on, but floor damage meant he was unable to keep pace with his teammate through the second stint.
A tough end to a tough season.

Lance Stroll - 4/10

Stroll looked decent in qualifying, reaching Q2, but undid any hopes of reaching the points in the clash with Gasly at Turn 1.

It left Stroll with damage that forced him to pit, dropping him out of any real contention, before retiring due to a brake issue.

 

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