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Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Quotes - Sunday 26 November


Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Driver Quotes - Sunday 26 November

Red Bull

Max Verstappen: It's been an unforgettable season. It was emotional on the in-lap driving the RB19 for the last time, this car and Team has given me so much. I have to say a big thank you to everyone at Red Bull, we've had an incredible year. It will be hard to replicate a year like this but we always want to do better and to improve so let's see what we can do next year. In the meantime, I think the whole Team and everyone in the paddock needs a rest and to spend some time with friends and family. It's been a simply lovely year.

Sergio Perez: Overall, we had a good race today. I think I could have maybe stretched it to a one stop, it's something to look at and review. It probably would have been possible, but we will never know! My honest opinion is it was just a racing incident with Lando but unfortunately, the stewards didn't agree with that and I got the penalty and lost second place in the final race of the season.

I have learnt this season to never give up, we have had some tough times, ups and downs but it only matters where you finish when the season ends here. I am happy with the whole Team, they have done a tremendous job and we deserved a lot more today and at times this season. We have had the best season in our history and so much credit to Max, he has been outstanding. Next year we have another chance and we go for it.


Charles Leclerc: Today, I had a very good car and the strategy was the right one. I could have pushed hard for many laps on the Medium tyres and my second place was never in danger. Unfortunately, in the end, Checo's (Perez) five second penalty cost us a lot. Towards the end I tried to help him to build a gap over George (Russell) so that he could wipe out the penalty and finish ahead of the Mercedes, which would have put us ahead of them in the classification.

However, looking back at the season, we can say it has been positive. We started the year with a car that we could not push to the limit. We knew what the problem was, but it took a while to change things. From Japan onwards my Ferrari became a very different car, capable of very good results. Unfortunately, over the course of the year there were several occasions when we were in a strong position but left points on the table: I'm thinking of my retirement in Bahrain when I was third, or in Brazil, where I qualified on the front row but I never actually started the race.

I hope that, over the winter, we will be able to put everything we have learned to good use in order to be competitive right from the start of next season. We want to give something back to our fans for all their continued support.

Carlos Sainz: Not the way we wanted to finish the season, with a very tough double-header on my side in Las Vegas and here in Abu Dhabi. The race today was never going to be easy. The first stint on the Hard was risky and it didn't go to plan. From there on our race was a bit compromised and we waited for a Safety Car that never came.

It hurts badly to miss P2 in the Constructors but there have been plenty of positives throughout the year and we will of course work on the things we could've done better.

I want to thank the entire team, here and back home in Maranello, for their incredible effort all season long and also send a massive thank you to every single fan for their relentless support. We will regroup during the winter and come back stronger next year. Grazie a tutti e Forza Ferrari sempre.


Lewis Hamilton: I'm happy for the team that we've managed to secure P2 in the Constructor's Championship, it was a great effort by the team at track and both in Brackley and Brixworth. But we're not we're we want to be yet, we want to be competing for the championship and race wins and this weekend showed that we need to dig deep and work hard during the winter to get back to where we want to be and come back stronger next year. I hope everyone at the factory is happy with the result today and I'm grateful for all the hard work the team has put into this season, it's been a long and tough year for us.

George Russell: Today's result means a huge amount and I'm really pleased we've secured P2 for the team. There are so many people back at the factory in Brackley and Brixworth, who have worked so hard to achieve this. It's been a really challenging season for us. I've let the side down a couple of times this year so I'm pleased to bring it across the line today. It was really intense at the end and so close with Perez, his pace was just great. I thought Charles was going to back me up but respect to him for keeping it clean. I'm happy to end the season this way with a podium.


Esteban Ocon: "That's a wrap on the 2023 season and it was not the best of races from us to finish the year. We simply seemed to lack pace today and, unfortunately, we finished outside of the points in twelfth place. On my side we opted for the one-stop strategy and we fell short of the top ten. We have a lot to review from this race and a lot to analyse from what has been an inconsistent and up and down season. We did not reach the objectives we set ourselves at the beginning of the year and it is time for us to debrief, regroup and focus on key areas of improvement. I have no doubt we will come back stronger and hungrier than ever to improve all together as a team to put ourselves in a better position next year. We have the test on Tuesday and after that it is time to rest before firmly setting our sights on 2024. Thank you to the team and all the fans for their unconditional support this year. I already cannot wait for lights out in Bahrain."

Pierre Gasly: "For us, that is not the way we wanted to end the season, where, unfortunately we finished today's race outside of the points. It was a frustrating afternoon. After a good start, I was hit by Checo [Perez] and then later by Lewis [Hamilton] and we had quite a lot of damage to the rear of the car, which we carried for a lot of the race. I saw the damage afterwards and it's quite extensive! It was a difficult race from there and we have things to review, lots to learn, as we probably did not optimise everything where scoring some points could have been possible. In terms of the season, I have really enjoyed joining the Alpine family. It has been a mixed season on track, but from where started in Bahrain, we are in a much better place now and that is really positive and encouraging. Thanks to everyone at Enstone, Viry and at the track for their immense work and I'm confident next year we can be so much stronger."


Lando Norris "Tough race! Not the pace that we wanted but we did what we could to score important points to finish the season. We lost out a position in the pit stop so a little bit of a shame, but otherwise, I think I did what I could, we were just not quite strong enough today.

"Overall, we can be happy with how everything has gone because we've done what we needed to do as a team by securing P4 in the Constructors' Championship. We have had plenty of ups from the start of the season, the last few months have been great for the team, and we'll take that momentum into the winter to come back stronger next year.

"Thank you to all the team at track and back at MTC who have worked hard this season to give us a car which is able to compete towards the front of the grid. We have made some memories this year and I'm looking forward to pushing on together in 2024."

Oscar Piastri "It was a slightly tricky day today, but P4 in the Constructors' is still a very good effort.

"We know we want to aim for more than that next year, but I've enjoyed my first year of F1 a hell of a lot. There's been some great highlights, some trickier moments but it's all part of the experience. I'm looking forward to some time off now.

"Thank you to the team trackside and in Woking, thank you to all the fans for sticking with us on our rollercoaster this year and we'll be back fighting for more next year."

Alfa Romeo

Valtteri Bottas: "Unfortunately, we just didn't have enough pace tonight. We tried two different strategies on the cars, and I went for one stop, but the tyres eventually began to wear off and we just couldn't make the progress we needed. Ultimately, that has been the story of this season - we never quite had enough raw pace to put up a decent challenge and constantly achieve points finishes. It's definitely been a long season, for all of us both trackside and back home in Hinwil, and I am glad to be getting some time away from the track now, to reset and recharge. I want to thank everyone who has been working hard all this time - the crew here at the track, our home team in Switzerland, and Ferrari - for all they have done. I also want to thank Alfa Romeo for these years, and wish them well for the future: I'm proud to have been part of their history. Now, the focus switches to 2024: the concept of next year's car, for what I have seen, is interesting, and we will be working hard throughout the winter to come back stronger next season."

Guanyu Zhou: "Not the best result to end the season, but at least we went out there and tried everything we could. I'm not overly surprised by our pace today, as the feeling of the car and the pace were consistent with yesterday in qualifying: we just didn't have enough pace in these conditions. It's the end of a long season and a hard one: we finish with some good memories, like Sunday in Doha or our qualifying in Budapest, but the knowledge we need to do more for 2024. So many people have worked hard to get us racing and deserve our gratitude: the mechanics, technicians and engineers and all here at the track; the boys and girls in Hinwil; and our partners at Ferrari and Alfa Romeo. I want to thank Alfa Romeo for all they've done for us, and for the two years I spent with them: it's such a legendary brand and I wish them well. We know next year will be a fresh start: the team back in Hinwil is working hard, our new car will be completely new and I am looking forward to trying it. The margins will still be small, so making a step forward will allow us to battle for much better positions. Now it's important for all of us to catch a bit of a breather, recover after this long season and come back with fresh energies to tackle next year. For me, now it's the chance to go back to Shanghai, which I don't get to do often, and spend some time with my family and my friends: and to prepare to be in the best possible condition for next year."

Aston Martin

Lance Stroll: "We elected to start the race on the Hard tyre and put in a long stint hoping for a Safety Car and a quick stop, but it didn't play out like that, so we ended up running a two-stop strategy. Nevertheless, I think we were attacking well today and making progress throughout the field. We do tend to have better pace on a Sunday, and that was definitely the case today.

"I'm pleased that we finished 2023 with some stronger performances that we can be proud of. It's definitely been a year of learning - we've had ups and downs - but we're in a good place heading into next year."

Fernando Alonso: "If you'd told me before this weekend that I'd finish fourth in the Drivers' Championship, I wouldn't have believed you - so this is a real gift. I'm really pleased with the way I've driven all season - I think this has been my best, most consistent season of driving since 2012. I think I got the maximum from the car all season.

"The whole Aston Martin team has worked incredibly hard and I am already looking forward to going into the winter and starting work for next season. We started this year as an underdog, but we'll start 2024 very much in the spotlight; we need to be ready for that.

"Finally, a big thank-you and well-done to everybody on the team - this year has far exceeded all our wildest expectations and every single person should be proud of what we've achieved."


Kevin Magnussen: "I think the only positive today is that it was the last race. We can close this season now and look forward to next year. It's not been a good year for us, we haven't developed at the rate we should've, or at all. We started the year in an okay position, but we lost out to the competition in the development race. It's going to be a big winter for us to catch up, but I believe we can do it."

Nico Hulkenberg: "The positives for me are how I've felt during this season. My hunger to drive, to be competing in Formula 1, be back in the competition, that's been really fun and good. Even with the difficult Sundays, I've been enjoying it and I'm hungry for more, so that's positive news. Otherwise, today was the story of the season, we just don't have enough pace. Degradation wasn't necessarily the problem today, it was just pace, we couldn't keep up with the faster cars. We've put it to bed now and hopefully we'll have some better tools next year."


Yuki Tsunoda: "Thanks to everyone for voting me Driver of the Day. It was a tough race. At one point, I thought we could finish in the top six. It didn't work, but we don't regret staying out and trying the one-stop strategy. I gave it my all, and I'm happy with myself. It was an enjoyable season overall. We struggled with car performance at the start, but we were able to step it up throughout the season. Although we didn't achieve P7 in the Constructors' Championship, we improved from P10 to P8 in the final part of the season, all thanks to the team in Bicester and Faenza. At the same time, there were a couple of mistakes I made that cost us, especially in Mexico. Well done to Williams. They deserve it, and I enjoyed the battle we had. Thank you to Franz. I enjoyed the last three years, and I will definitely miss him. Without his advice on how to improve, I wouldn't have been able to progress as much in my Formula 1 career. I appreciate him, and I know we'll keep in touch."

Daniel Ricciardo: "It wasn't a bad race. We had a decent pace, but as soon as you get into a little dirty air, it's hard. Just like today, there have been a couple of races where, if we had one more lap, I feel like we could've gotten a few more points, but starting further back put us on the back foot slightly. It's good that Yuki got some points, but we needed a little more, so it would've been nice if I could've scored some too. Part of me is happy to go on a break to prepare for a full season, but I would also like to continue racing. It's exciting having a proper off-season and knowing I want to be here. I was happy with the races I've done.

"Shoutout to Franz. He's been a big part of the team and obviously, very early in my career he played a big role. It was nice to be able to spend his last races together. I wish him well, and I know he'll be missed by the whole team. Even today, everyone is celebrating him, and all he wanted to do was go racing, so it shows the person he is. I hope he enjoys his time away from the track as much as he enjoyed it racing week after week, with the same amazing passion."


Alex Albon: My race was okay; I don't think it was the best following a bad start, but we seemed to recover for the second and third stint. Unfortunately, Yuki [Tsunoda] was too fast for us to have any involvement in his race, however it's been the hard work across the year that's allowed us to seal P7 in the Constructors' Championship. Congratulations to the team, including everyone at track and back at the factory. Looking at the progress we've made, it's a great achievement. I'm also very proud of my performance, so I'll give myself credit for what has been my strongest year in Formula 1. The connection I have with the team has allowed us to execute the season well, even when we've been fighting race after race to hold our positions. Looking to next year, we've got a challenge ahead of us but I'm already excited for what's to come.

Logan Sargeant: Firstly, congratulations to the entire team at track and back at Grove for claiming P7 in the Constructors' Championship. Everyone has worked incredibly hard all year round to earn this achievement.

I was unfortunate not to get a position or two off the start. Other than that, we missed a bit of pace. Purposely we didn't optimise strategy to try and hold back Daniel [Ricciardo] as long as we could. I was proud of the defence I put up against him for a few laps to contribute to helping the team today. I enjoyed the end on fresh Hard tyres, coming back through the field doing Quali lap after Quali lap. From a personal point of view, it's been another strong weekend. Obviously yesterday was unfortunate with the track limits but once again I've had the pace of what the car was capable of and I'm proud of that.

There's been tough times and good times during my rookie season. This back half of this season I've really found some momentum. My race pace has been on a very upward trajectory and Qualifying pace is starting to come together. I'm proud of the resilience I've had all year, I've never given in. I kept pushing and improving and I couldn't have spent this season with a better group of people.


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