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Abu Dhabi GP: Post Race press conference


Parc Ferme Interviews - Conducted by Jenson Button

Checo, I mean, it looked like a tough race out there for you and you've missed out on that P1 by one point (sic). How was it for you?
Sergio Perez: Yeah, I mean, it's how it is. Sometimes everything can be really close. But at the end of the day, I've got to be happy. You know, I gave it all. We gave it all through the season. And I'm sure we will come back stronger for next year.

This season there have been a lot of ups and downs for you. Yesterday, it looked great in qualifying. For me, it just felt that a little bit more and you would have had that pole position and we could have had a very different story. But what positives can you really take from the 2022 season?
SP: Well, certainly, you know, we had great moments, great battling. I struggled a bit with these tyres this year, you know, in terms of managing the tyres in the race. So hopefully that can be something that we will improve for next year, and generally just be a bit stronger.

Excellent. OK, well enjoy the winter and we look forward to you giving a bit more next year.
SP: Thank you, mate.

Charles, it looks like it took a lot out of you that race?
Charles Leclerc: Yeah, it did. I was 110% from the first lap to the last lap. Honestly, we had the perfect race for us, there was not much more today. I knew that the only possibility for us to beat Checo today was with a different strategy and playing with the tyre management, which we did really well today. And we managed to make the one-stop work. So really, really happy.

Yeah, it looked like it was a big strategy call by the team, which is great to see them making really positive calls and yourself. P2 in the championship. Congratulations.
CL: Yeah, thank you. I mean, I really hope next year we can do a step forward in order to fight for the championship. But considering where we were last year, it's a really big step forward. I think we improved throughout the end of the season in terms of strategy. We still need to work in terms of race pace, because coming to Sunday we seem to struggle a bit more. But we'll push during the winter break in order to catch them back a little.

Max, fantastic victory, double world champion, win the last race of the season. It seems like it's the perfect season for you?
Max Verstappen: Yeah, it was a good race. It was all about tyre management. I think we looked after the Mediums quite well. And then on the Hard tyres it was literally managing from lap one to the end, but incredible, you know, to win again here and 15th win of the season is unbelievable.

Yeah, it's been a been an outstanding year for you. What do you take from such a special year? Obviously, last year, it was a little bit more competitive, with fighting with Lewis for the championship, but this year, you've walked away with it.
MV: It's been really enjoyable, you know, to work with the whole team and to be able to achieve something like this this year. I know it's going to be hard to replicate something like this. But it's also very good motivation to try and do well again next year.

Sebastian Vettel Interview

Congratulations, Seb, four World Championships and you score points in your last race. How are you feeling?
Sebastian Vettel: Well, you know how it is. I wish it would have been up a couple more points. But yeah, I enjoyed the race. I think it was a bit of a different warm-up today to get into the race but once the lights go off, it's full-on race mode. I think, about today, we obviously didn't go for maybe the best strategy, so it was a shame, because I think we could have turned the Constructors' Championship around for us. But yeah, overall obviously a big day and a big thank you for all the support. So many flags, so many smiling faces, which has been very, very special, very nice and yeah, I'm sure I'm going to miss it more than I understand right now.

Just talking about the race today. You looked like you were fighting with the Alpines. It looked like you could have finished so much higher and it just went away from you guys.
SV: Obviously we then opted to stay out and you know, once the tyres were getting older, we were going backwards, but once we committed to the one-stop, I think that was it. But it was obviously the slower strategy today. So, not so enjoyable when you are in the car and you are going backwards. I was fighting through the people and had a nice battle with Daniel, but just couldn't get close enough. But yeah, I think it's nice also with him to fight the last couple of laps. And, you know, both of us finishing the points. So yeah, it's been a big weekend.

Seb, you have the microphone, please leave us with a message.
SV: Well, I don't have that much more to say. I feel a bit empty, to be honest, it's been a big weekend. But I can only repeat, you know: I think the last two years have been very, maybe disappointing from a sporting point of view, but very, very useful and important to me in my life, a lot of things happened. A lot of things that I realised. I think it's a huge privilege being in the position that we are in and with that comes some responsibility. So I hope to pass on a little bit to the other drivers to carry on some of the good work. It's great to see that, you know, we have the power to inspire you with what we do and what we say. So I think there are far bigger and far more important things than racing in circles, but obviously it's what we love and through that if we can transfer some of the really important values that's big. And I think for that the last two years have been have been great for me. So thank you for the support. Thank you for the messages, the letters and all the love in general. So yeah, I will miss that. But it's been an absolute joy throughout my career, so thank you. Thank you.

Press Conference

Well done Max, what a way to end the year, with an incredibly dominant win. Just how much satisfaction does this one give you?
MV: It was a good race. I knew that if I would want to do a two-stop, it was a little bit compromised because I didn't have two Hard tyres, so my target was always to try and make sure that the one-stop was going to work. On the Medium tyres initially, I think we had very good pace - just my last three laps on that tyre was a little more tricky but I had to get to a certain lap, right? And I think we managed to extend that stint quite well. And, yeah, once I put the hard tyres on, I brought them in quite nicely because I had a good gap. And at one point, I wanted to go a little bit faster, but we were still not sure if the tyre was going to hold on for the whole stint to the end. So, it was a bit of management to see if you could make it but then at one point, I hit, kind of a crossover where then the two-stop is not going to work anymore. But luckily, at that point, the tyres were really good and I could just continue to the end.

And car balance, was that good?
MV: Yeah, it was very nice.

So, I mean, just compare it to what you had in Brazil last weekend...
MV: Ah, completely different weekend. I mean, Brazil, we had a lot of struggles. And I think we understood already quite a bit what went wrong there. But yeah, from the start, we were a lot more competitive here.

So Max, give us your final thoughts on what's been an incredibly dominant year by you.
MV: It has been a great team effort, especially after our tough start to the year, to turn it around like that, I would have never imagined that, like nobody in the team. But it's been really enjoyable to be part of this team. We have a lot of fun. Of course, we focus on the performance but you also need to really enjoy the moment, appreciate the moment. And I think we definitely did that. We will do but we already also focusing on next year. You always say you try to do better. I know it's hard to do a lot better than this but you should always try to aim for that.

Which has been your best win?
MV: Spa.

And look, we've got 105 days until it all kicks off again in Bahrain next year. What's the plan over the winter for you?
MV: Try not to do too much! Relax a bit, have holidays, spend time with family and friends.

Charles, coming to you. P2 In the race and in the World Championship, just how tense was it getting in those closing stages as Checo was closing?
CL: It, it was really, really tricky. Especially at the end of the stint on the Hard, even though we did a really, really good management to be honest. It's tricky, because when you get to the end of the race, the front-locking started to become a problem, so it was very easy to do a mistake. But at the end, we kept everything under control and managed to keep Checo behind. But I think today was a really, really perfect execution from our side. I don't think we had the pace of the Red Bulls still, and our goal from the beginning was to try and push Checo do something different, which we did perfectly. And again, with a great tyre management, we made the one-stop work, which eventually got us the second place.

Check out our Sunday gallery from Yas Marina here.


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