After a valiant effort, Ferrari had to settle for third in the Constructors’ Championship at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix finale after Mercedes managed to beat them to P2 by just three points.
All eyes were on the fight for second in the standings ahead of the final race of 2023, as just four points separated Mercedes and Ferrari.
Both teams had a driver qualify in either half of the field, with Charles Leclerc and George Russell having qualified second and fourth, whilst Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz could only manage 11th and P16.
Hamilton and Sainz both endured frustrating races, with progress having been incredibly difficult to make.
Sainz ended up retiring from the race in the closing laps once it became apparent that he wouldn’t score a point, whilst Hamilton recovered to ninth.
Leclerc and Russell spent the majority of the race running in second in third, with the Monegasque having been aware that he needed Russell to be overtaken by Sergio Perez to secure P2 for Ferrari.
To try and make this happen, Leclerc allowed Sergio Perez to overtake him at the end of the race, to see if the Mexican could get five seconds ahead of Russell in fourth.
Perez was slapped with a five-second time penalty for colliding with Lando Norris, which meant Leclerc just needed to stay within five seconds of the Red Bull driver to inherit second.
Unfortunately for Leclerc and Ferrari, Russell remained within five seconds of Perez, which promoted the Mercedes driver to third.
As a result, the Silver Arrows beat Ferrari to second in the standings by just three points.
“We thought until the very end, but it’s P3 in the Constructors’ for 2023,” tweeted Ferrari.
Ferrari’s tweet was followed by several comments by the team’s supporters, with many having heavily praised Leclerc for his mesmeric efforts.
“Nice fighting till the end. Loved how Leclerc just turned into a strategist!” commented @autodrp.
“It was impressive to see Leclerc’s strategic moves, fighting till the very end!” said @seveone_rekaf.
“Bravo @Charles_Leclerc and great team effort to push as hard as possible,” wrote @ZetaZalazar.
Others were quick to criticise Sainz for failing to score a point.
“So we’re not gonna talk about sainz’s horrible pace all weekend and Ferrari’s lack of strategy?” asked @CFlashRacing.
“You mean charles*** fought till the very end, proud of him and the team!!!” exclaimed @theredsedici.