58 laps to retire. Sebastian Vettel climbs into his Aston Martin for the last time in Abu Dhabi. After that, Formula 1 is over. It should continue for Mick Schumacher. only where?
Formula 1 bows to Sebastian Vettel. The four-time world champion is contesting the last Grand Prix of his career in Abu Dhabi (2 p.m. / Sky) today. In terms of sport, the 35-year-old is no longer interested in anything, but he still wants a strong finish. For the Red Bull teammate of world champion Max Verstappen, the Vice World Championship is still within reach.
Vettel’s great career ends
Sebastian Vettel’s 299th Grand Prix is also his last. In the ideal case, the four-time world champion still has 58 laps or 306 kilometers to go before he can retire. Vettel prepares for an emotional chaos. The 35-year-old feels comfortable with his decision to step down after 16 years in Formula 1 and have more time for private life and new professional goals. He’s at peace with himself. “I’ve thought about it so often and it feels so right,” said Vettel, who only drove behind in his two years with Aston Martin. In qualifying, he finished ninth, at least points are possible for him in Abu Dhabi, where he became world champion for the first time in 2010. Father Norbert and brother Fabian are there to support him emotionally.
Will Verstappen help Perez this time?
In São Paulo, Max Verstappen, who has long been world champion, refused to support Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez. The Mexican is still fighting for the Vice World Cup. He is level with Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari. After a week with a lot of Zoff, Verstappen now wants to help in the battle for positions. “If the opportunity arises to help as a team, we will certainly do so,” said the Dutchman, who is aiming for his 15th win of the season. In qualifying, he even tried to help Perez with a slipstream trick just before the end to do a very fast lap. But it didn’t help the Mexican. So Verstappen starts from pole position in front of his teammate.
Mercedes one year after the controversial Formula 1 final
In Brazil, George Russell redeemed the Silver Arrows. The Englishman clinched the first win of the season for Mercedes ahead of his compatriot Lewis Hamilton. “The pecking order is still third, but we’re very close,” said team boss Toto Wolff. However, the Yas Marina Circuit with its long straights and hard braking zones does not suit the Mercedes. A year after the controversial final, when Hamilton only lost his world title to Verstappen on the last lap, it doesn’t look like a win either. Only fifth place for Hamilton, only sixth place for Russell and the return of the Hoppel effect on fast straights dampen confidence considerably.
End and new beginning for Schumacher
After two years, US team Haas serves Mick Schumacher. A hard blow for the 23-year-old, who, due to crashes in the first half of the season, made the team’s leadership doubt about a further commitment. The end at Haas can be a stepping stone for the son of record world champion Michael Schumacher in the long run. Mick Schumacher, 13th in Abu Dhabi’s starting place hunt, still has a mini-chance of a regular cockpit for 2023 at Williams. But a job at Mercedes as a replacement driver is much more likely. Schumacher could learn a lot there in a long-standing world champion team. “We believe we can take care of him if the situation arises,” said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.