Max Verstappen in the press conference. Abu Dhabi November 2022.

Key stories to emerge from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix press conferences

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will bring the curtain down on a dramatic season, and even with both titles wrapped up, the drivers still had plenty to say ahead of the weekend.

The driver and constructors’ standings battles need to be concluded and there will be some sad farewells at Yas Marina at the end of the year, although it comes with the caveat that no title will be on the line, perhaps after the drama of 2021, the drivers will be grateful for a little less of a challenge this time around season finale.

But despite the battle at the front being over, the drama from the Sao Paulo Grand Prix – particularly at Red Bull – has spilled over to Abu Dhabi, with the team issuing a statement on Thursday admitting mistakes were made in how they handled their team’s last orders. Time limit.

Mercedes will also be looking for a way to overhaul Ferrari in the constructors’ standings, with an outside chance of doing so with a 19-point margin to match, and ‘Hulkenback’ will be a full-time expression like Nico Hulkenberg next season. was confirmed as a Haas driver for next season.

Here’s how the Formula 1 paddock reacted to all the key news and more in Abu Dhabi.

Max Verstappen ‘had enough’ of ‘bull****’ after abuse after family-focused Interlag

Max Verstappen has hinted at what he should say to people on social media who have sent him abusive messages, and more specifically to his family, in the wake of the team bookings controversy that dogged him and Red Bull at Interlagos last weekend, as well as criticizing what he has read in the media around the incident.

Both he and Sergio Perez said the moment was now behind them, with Red Bull in a statement calling Verstappen an “open and fair team player” who acknowledges they left him in a “compromising” situation without allowing his team to around in front of the checkered flag in Sao Paulo.

Speaking to the media including PlanetF1 at the FIA ​​press conference, the two-time world champion defended himself against those who he said crossed the line in their criticism after the race.

“It’s also incredibly disappointing to read things like this because I know what I’m like, [Perez] he knows how I work with them and I’ve always been good for the team,” he explained.

“When your own sister writes.” [to] you and this is already too much and you need to do something about it, I think that says a lot. Yes, it gets to me because you can’t attack my family.

“You don’t even know the real story, so you don’t have to write a story, but yeah, I’m just a little fed up with everything that keeps happening.”

“As soon as something negative [happens] it needs to be highlighted and it’s quite uncomfortable to be a part of it all to be honest.

“Well, at the end of the day, I didn’t even do anything wrong, it’s just that people didn’t understand what was really going on.”

Guenther Steiner explains Mick Schumacher’s departure from Haas

The long wait for Haas to decide on Kevin Magnussen’s 2023 partner ended in Abu Dhabi, with Nico Hulkenberg set to return to the grid to replace Mick Schumacher.

However, Schumacher is determined to ensure this is not the end of his fledgling F1 career and hopes to stay involved in 2024 to drive elsewhere.

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner said at the start of the year that he was “done with rookies” as the team wanted to take a step forward, and Hulkenberg adapted.

“I think the experience of many years in Formula 1, which has never been with a team other than us,” Steiner told media including PlanetF1 when asked what Schumacher was missing.

“So by being seen Nico. [as a driver with] three or four teams before, experience [is key] and experience takes time, and we don’t have time right now because we want to move forward.

“We don’t want to be where we are. Now we want to improve.

“It’s not Mick’s fault we’re where we are and it’s our own fault, but we’ve got to come again and there’s a shorter route by taking a guy with a lot of experience who’s done it in a few teams.” .”

Carlos Sainz hints at deliberate incidents in qualifying and raises red flags

There was also talk in the Abu Dhabi press conference about how upset Verstappen was when Perez returned to his Monaco qualifying drive and whether or not his crash in Q3 was deliberate.

The Ferrari driver was not asked whether Perez deliberately spun his car into Portier at the start of the season, but hinted that this kind of behavior will continue more than we think – and called on the FIA ​​to introduce stricter rules for drivers. which are triggered and cause red flags, especially ones that are – inadvertently or otherwise – used for their own benefit.

In an interview with media including PlanetF1 in Abu Dhabi, Sainz was open about what drivers want to curb this kind of behaviour.

“Without commenting on whether it was intentional or not, I think it’s real now that all the riders — we want some kind of rule,” he said.

“If you generate a red flag or a yellow flag, whether it’s intentional or not, something should be done about that driver because you’ve compromised the other nine on purpose, or maybe not.

“But you should be punished for that. If not, we all start playing with it.”

Asked for specific examples of moments drivers have used to their advantage, the Spaniard laughed and said he would “need to pull out the media without the microphones and tell a few stories…”

Charles Leclerc remained tight-lipped about Mattia Binotto rumors at Ferrari

Reports in Italy suggested that Mattio Binotto’s future at Ferrari looked short, but although the team were quick to condemn the rumors surrounding his position as team principal, saying they were “baseless”, Charles Leclerc was asked what could happen in the future – with Fred Vasseur of Alfa Romeo associated with the job in his place.

“In general, there are constant rumors around Formula 1, and especially around Ferrari,” Leclerc said on Thursday.

“And of course that doesn’t change as the end of the season approaches. There are always voices around us, but I think as a team we really have to focus on our work and on the track, try to extract all the things that are happening around the team.

“People tend to forget how big a step we’ve made from last year to this year.

“We definitely have to take the next step, but I’m sure we can do it all together.

“And starting with this race, I hope we finish on top this season. But other than that there’s nothing more to say, I don’t think we should pay too much attention to it.’

“This statement was apparently made to the media. But again, they remain rumours. But it’s also not great for the team itself to read these things.”

Tributes pour in at Abu Dhabi for Sebastian Vettel’s retirement

Sebastian Vettel’s 299th Formula One race will be his last, with the four-time world champion ending one of the sport’s greatest careers this weekend.

Needless to say, he was a significant topic of conversation in the paddock as drivers discussed their memories of the Aston Martin driver, as well as the impact he had on the sport as a whole.

The respect also extends to his fellow champions, with Fernando Alonso – in his final race for Alpine before succeeding Vettel at Aston next year – this weekend wearing a helmet in Vettel’s colours.

Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, doubts this is the last we’ll see of Vettel in Formula 1 because the sport just finds a way to get you…

“I think we’ve always had such great, great battles, honestly,” said the Mercedes driver.

“And I was just sitting here thinking that most drivers come back like he did [pointing atAlonso next to him].

“You’ll probably be back. [referring to Vettel]. We see more drivers coming back. So I’m sitting here accepting, yes, it’s your last race, but he’ll be back.

“Formula 1 has a way of pulling you back in and we’ve noticed that from a lot of other drivers.

“We can make a deal,” joked Vettel in an immediate reaction. “We’ll talk outside.” When you want to run away, I might want to come back…”

Another message from Thomas Maher

Read more: Where did it all go wrong for Mick Schumacher…and what’s next?

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