Carlos Sainz secured a tenth place finish in the final lap and sixth position in the championship, beating Nico Hulkenberg for a final point of the race to finish ahead of Gasly in Toro Rosso for only one point.

Sainz and Norris secured fourth place in the constructors’ championship for McLaren, their best result since 2012 when they finished third, and the Spaniard also improved his position in the drivers’ championship in the last race of the season.

He did it in the most dramatic way possible after a late second tyre change in the lap 41 when he replaced 29 laps old hard tyres and dropped to the 14th which one lap later became 13th when Ricciardo went in for his second stop.

But Sainz was able to overtake Magnussen, Raikkonen and Hulkenberg and finish 10th, which earned him the point he needed to overtake Gasly in the championship, who led him with the same number of points before the last race due to a higher ranked best finish (Gasly was 2nd in Brazil and Sainz was 3rd in the same race).

“Very happy!,” said Sainz.

“The target this weekend was to finish P6 in the Drivers’ Championship and we made it happen! It wasn’t an easy race, with a lot of traffic in all the stints and having to start with the Soft.”

“We went for the two stops knowing it was going to put me in a delicate position to make it to the top 10, but also knowing it was my only chance.”

“I managed to catch Hulkenberg right at the end and pulled off an overtake, on the last lap, that I will not forget! I’m very happy with my season and extremely grateful to every single member of the team. Thank you!”

Sainz McLaren Abu Dhabi GP F1 2019 Photo McLaren

Norris loses crucial Perez battle

Lando Norris finished 11th in his first Formula One season, one position behind Perez, after Mexican overtook him in the final lap and secured 10th in the standings, seventh time in the last eight seasons.

Perez started 10th on the medium tyres and extended his opening stint on 37 laps, most of all drivers on that tyre component, which secured him a short 18 laps second leg on the hard tires.

And while it seemed that Norris, on 29 laps older hard tyres, would be able to hold Perez, the Racing Point driver was able to pass him on the outside of Turn 11 after the second DRS straight.

Norris, like Sainz, was forced to two stops for starting on soft tyres, making his first visit to the pits in the lap eight when he replaced soft with a hard and completed as many as 46 laps on white marked compound (85.19% of the race distance).

“Pretty much a good race having made a decent start. I struggled a bit and made a mistake at the end of my Soft stint, then had a big lock-up, so had to box earlier than we wanted to. But in general I felt like I did a good job with my tyre management,” said Norris.

“Good battling, good overtakes when I needed to do them. The only other mistake I made in the whole race was being overtaken at the end by Perez. In fairness, he did me fair and square but I’m gutted because that was a crucial overtake.

“It’s been a long season and overall I’m happy. We made some really good improvements and I’ve enjoyed it a lot. As a team, we’ve done an excellent job and I’m already really look forward to next season. Thanks to the entire team for making my rookie F1 season so cool!”

F1 2019 – BEST OF THE REST

6 Carlos Sainz Jr. 96   6 4 8 8 4 8 10 10 8 10 4 15 1
7 Pierre Gasly 95   4 9 8 11 4 1 6 12 8 2 4 6 2 18
8 Alexander Albon 92   2 1 4 8 1 10 8 8 10 12 10 10 8
9 Daniel Ricciardo 54   6 2 8 6 12 4 8 8
10 Sergio Pérez 52   1 4 8 8 6 6 4 6 1 2 6
11 Lando Norris 49   8 4 2 8 2 1 6 4 6 4 4

SAINZ OVERTAKES HULKENBERG

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