Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2022

Verstappen says 2022 dominance will be “hard to replicate” after 15th win

2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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After taking his 15th win of the season in Abu Dhabi, Max Verstappen says Red Bull’s success this season will be difficult to repeat.

Verstappen comfortably won the season finale, making a one-stop strategy work to lead from lights to flag.

“It was a good race,” he said after climbing from his RB18. “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 until the end.

“Incredible, though, to win again here. The 15th win of the season, it’s unbelievable.”

He finishes the season on 454 points – the most ever scored by a driver in a single season – with a 146-point lead over second-placed Charles Leclerc.

“It’s been really enjoyable to work with the whole team and to be able to achieve something like this this year,” reflected Verstappen.

“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.”

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Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, Yas Marina, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in pictures
Team mate Sergio Perez, who was beaten for second place in the drivers’ title by Leclerc, said he believed Red Bull had more performance yet to find. “Certainly we had great moments, great battling.

“I struggled a bit with the tyres for this year, in terms of managing the tyres in the race, so hopefully that will be something we can improve for next year and just generally be a bit stronger.”

Leclerc said he was “really, really happy” to have made a one-stop strategy work and seal second place in both the race and the standings. He said Ferrari must carry its late-season momentum into 2023.

“I really hope next year we can do a step forward in order to fight for the championship,” said Leclerc. “But considering where we were last year it’s a really big step forward.

“I think we improved towards the end of the season, in terms of strategy which turned into work in terms of race pace because coming the Sunday we seemed to struggle a bit more. But we will push during the winter break in order to catch them back a little bit.”

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2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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32 comments on “Verstappen says 2022 dominance will be “hard to replicate” after 15th win”

  1. I sure hope it won’t ever be replicated!

    Sure, the racing overall this year has been pretty good. And it was not a straightforward dominance from the start with Ferrari making a good go over the winter.

    But in the end, it’s F1 and it showed how a team being on top of their game, with most bits of it working perfectly (from a few races in and up until the title was sealed up) and the title fight was not all that great.

  2. Let’s hear it for genuine genius Adrian Newey, not his fault the budget was inflated, but he designed/engineered a totally dominant car. Might have been a better season for the team if they had built two dominant cars, but there you go, when you have a clear #1 driver they obviously get to use all the best bits. Hopefully it will be less boring season next year, if RB stick to following the rules for a change, and the other teams catch up.
    After a rules change, there tends to be a period when one, or a few, teams dominate, then the rest adapt (or copy), and it gets more interesting. Here’s to 2023!

    1. On what planet was Red Bull totally dominant car? Max made it look like that, but it was Ferrari which was quicker in qualifying and races. When Schumacher embarassed Williams, Hill and Coulthard in 1995 can you say with a straight face Benetton was totally dominant haha? This is history repeating itself. Red Bull was slower than Mercedes in 2021 and Ferrari in 2022, but Max and his driving is simply unbeatable by lesser drivers like Hamilton and Leclerc. Remember what I’m saying right now – Max is already the best driver in F1 history and future seasons will prove it for those who still can’t comprehend that’s the case.

      1. Max is better than Usain Bolt, better than Mike Tyson better than all the Nobel prize winners… Who else is there? Well better than them. Why are they booing Max? He is the best!

      2. RB was the dominant car on planet Earth, matey. I’m not sure where you are. The WCC often gives a clue, take a look at the results this year if you don’t believe me. A few years ago, it was Mercedes, before that Red Bull, and before that other cars.

        1. I really dislike Max, but the Mercedes was far more dominant. Even in their weakest year, they were regularly lapping cars up to sixth place and besides the illegal Ferrari engine year, no one beat them on straight speed. 2014, besides Ricciardo, no one else won and their car got faster from there.

      3. I can agree schumacher demolished hill in 1994 and 1995 (it doesn’t look like that points wise in 1994 cause schumacher didn’t participate\got banned from 25% of the races that season) with a car that wasn’t dominant compared to the williams, simply cause hill wasn’t at the same level as a driver, and that red bull was marginally slower than mercedes last year, but not this year, that last part is a joke: leclerc, who is as fast as verstappen, struggled to beat perez to 2nd in the championship, and struggled to do so even this race, that should say enough. If a number 2 driver (speed wise) competes with the number 1 driver of the other car, the pace isn’t there.

  3. Max completely dethroned Sir Lewis Hamilton this year. In a car slower or at best equal to Ferrari he achieved what Hamilton can only dream of, having driven absolute Mercedes rocketships in 2014-2021. Winning 15 races, while Hamilton could’ve managed only 11 all these dominant years speaks volumes about the difference in their respective talents.

    Unfortunately for Max Mercedes are making all the shady and unethical moves behind the scenes. Changing rules mid-season, demanding rule change for 2023, receiving classified info from their FIA mole in Canada about floor stay and then budget cap numbers… Mercedes are shameless! Hopefully Red Bull and Max watch their backs, because targets on them grow ever larger with every success, while Mercedes and Hamilton become more and more frustrated.

    1. Both Lewis and Max are absolutely legends in F1 for what they have achieved. I think it’s wrong to lessen the SEVEN championships of Lewis. Being so consistent and building a team is absolutely world class.

      We should stop comparing in this way and attacking either Lewis or Max. Enjoy these awesome, rare talents fighting each other on track while going to the limit.

      Great respect for both and I hope we can all come together to simply enjoy this great sport.

    2. receiving classified info from their FIA mole in Canada about floor stay and then budget cap numbers…

      The press got those snippets of info.
      The teams merely echoed what the press sources had brought up, with one exception: Hans Christian Horner, spinning the usual tall tales, shifting from outright denial of the budget excess though a suggestion that it wasn’t a real breach, just a difference of viewpoint on how different costs should be recorded, and finally the feeble it’s not really a big breach.

      Meanwhile, apologists pushed the message that the whole thing wasn’t true (but it was), whilst suggesting that the other teams were at fault for having discovered that RBR had actually broken the rules (it’s obviously the fault of all people who discover and call out a cheat, not the fault of the cheat).

    3. Max Verstappen just dethroned all future champions in Formula. That’s how good he is. He is so good he won Abu Dhabi last pedaling half the because he’s engine broke after 3 laps. But that didn’t stop Max.

    4. Daniel Riccardo. Max must be nervous the might Ric is back at red bull. Remind me armchair who was came out on top between those two.

      1. You should really check before making these statements… In their last season together Max finished 4th above Riccardo 6th in the championship by a large margin. He had 79 more points. So the answer is Max, why do you think he left?

        Do tell me about how Max a better car then Daniel ;)

  4. Perhaps having to stick to the budget cap will indeed present some additional challenges to Red Bull’s 2023 campaign.

    It’s unfortunate in a way; Verstappen has had a fantastic season, but his team seems determined to undermine it with their shenanigans and theatrics.

    1. Again, I point to my post above. Fans of one driver need to stop trying to talk down the rivals. A fan of Max could point at the dominant car of Lewis and say the two Mercedes always drove off in the distance together, even Bottas could win with that car. And the fans of Lewis then point at Masi, and on and on. No one will listen to the other of course, it’s just preaching to the choir.

      Fact is that what these two drivers have done is absolutely stuff of legends and we should respect them both. What they are able to do most of us can only dream of.

      Enjoy the sport people!

      1. Fans of one driver need to stop trying to talk down the rivals.

        Drivers aren’t half as important as many viewers think. As any driver will say, it’s very hard to see how well someone is doing by looking at the result. For all we know and understand from how the various cars are outfitted with newer and older parts, someone in P15 may well have put in the best race of them all.

        Verstappen had by far the best race car this season and he didn’t make the most of it. That’s not to say he didn’t score fantastic results. He did, but there’s quite a leap from that to ‘stuff of legends’. There’s very little in Verstappen’s 2022 campaign that will be talked about in years to come. And, to be clear, only a small part of that is on him. He did the job, did it well – and everyone else failed to show up to compete.

        1. It is a shame Red Bull shirk at any thought of a pair of top drivers.when they do, it never lasts more than one season.
          Nice guy as SP is, he would not be in the top 10 of the current grid.
          Very different philosophy in almost every other team (bar the pay drivers)

          1. Really? Bottas was not second to Lewis? Barichello was not second to Schumacher?

            Come on, it’s normal and logical, since not many drivers have this rare talent and history shows putting two of those together is a recipe for a lot of crashes. Why do you think Mercedes was happy to keep Bottas on?

          2. Bottas was given the drive by Mercedes following very strong performances for Williams. Perez was sacked by his last team and on his way out of F1 it is likely he wouldn’t even be in the sport right now.
            RBR hired him to play second fiddle. Not looking for a strong teammate, just one that wouldn’t bleed points like Albon.
            You do Ruben’s a disservice. He was absolutely one of the best around that time. Agreed not as good as MSC but he was right up there with best of the rest.
            You honestly rank Perez in the top 10 of the current grid? 🤣

          3. You are right, Max is actually just an average driver accidentally breaking all kinds of records, simply because of a dominant car and bad team mates.

        2. Ok, I must say it’s hard to say he didn’t make the most of it when he became world champion for a second time and broke the record for most races won ever. To be honest there is not much more he could have done, so it sounds a bit biased to say this. There is not much more a racer can do then to win a record amount of races in a season right? Even Toto Wolff recognizes Max has a rare talent only a very few, like Lewis, have.

          But it’s a moot argument because you and a lot of Lewis fans will never change your opinion no matter if Max breaks all records. It will either be the car, rules or the breaking of them, stewards, and so on.

          It just saddens me to see we cannot step away from our bias to see the absolute amazing performances these drivers have delivered. It’s sad to see Max fans diminish the legacy of Lewis and vice versa. I’m just glad that F1 drivers at least see the amazing performances of both these drivers.

          1. he had the most dominant car in history.

          2. When we’re talking about not making the most of it we have singapore for example, along with some mistakes he didn’t end up paying points for, such as spain race, hungary quali and race spin.

          3. I’d say out of those with a good car he’s still been the one who drove best this year.

          4. @Sam. You are talking about Lewis I presume?

  5. FIA. Drivers are not allowed to wear jewelry, but go on, here’s an extra bit bling for the winner.

    1. It looks so tacky.

      1. Medal of Dishonor

  6. What is too often forgotten is that ten years ago many people thought Hamilton was crazy for leaving McLaren and joining Mercedes. Many predicted that is was going to ruin his career, that he would not even win grands prix never mind championships.
    In sport you are only at the top for so long, at the highest level. Sooner or later that dominance gets broken and another takes over, and at this moment it is Verstappen and Red Bull. When Max wins his eighth world title we can all agree on him being the out and out best ever F1 driver but not before.
    I would but Hamilton on par with one another in equal machinery, this sport needed a Verstappen to go against Lewis but in equal machines like we had last year.

    1. Why? Does winning 8 titles make you the best driver? Not imo when it’s so reliant on the car, imo the best driver is the one who demolishes team mates the most, provided team mates are of the same quality, which is where mathematical models come in place, which eventually allows to compare the greats of the 50s with verstappen; I believe he should be among the best.

    2. If titles were all that matters, vettel would be considered stronger than alonso, which almost everyone disagrees with.

  7. Indeed & hopefully

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