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Race recap: Team ends 2021 season with battling Abu Dhabi GP showing

Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One™ Team ended its maiden F1 season in the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

A wild championship decider featured a late Safety Car that could have provided the team with a points-scoring finish, but on-track events went against both Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll.

Sebastian

Sebastian began the Grand Prix from 15th on a set of new Medium tyres and demonstrated good early pace.

The German moved past team-mate Lance at the end of the long backstraight, moving into 14th through Turn Six on lap six of 58.

Sebastian continued to lap competitively until he caught up to the Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi.

Significant time spent behind the Alfa Romeo hurt Sebastian's race, but he cycled into the top 10 when the Soft-tyre runners pitted early in the race.

"I think we had some decent pace today, but we were unfortunately stuck behind the Alfa Romeo of [Antonio] Giovinazzi for too long, and that cost us too much time," reflected Sebastian.

Sebastian made his only pitstop of the race on lap 23 to switch to a new set of Hard tyres.

Race report

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Uncover the story of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with our in-depth race report. Discover the data underpinning our race and hear from Lance, Sebastian and CEO & Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer as they review the Yas Marina race.

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Lance Stroll, 2021 Abu Dhabi GP
Lance Stroll, 2021 Abu Dhabi GP

Pitting from 10th, he returned in 16th and gained places through retirements for both Giovinazzi and Williams's George Russell.

"When we were in clear air, the pace was good, but there was only so much we could do," added Sebastian.

But with six laps remaining, Nicholas Latifi's crash caused a late Safety Car, and Sebastian was waved through by race control to unlap himself.

Lining up 13th at the race resumption, Sebastian gained two places, but fell narrowly short of the points.

Lance

Lance started the Grand Prix from 13th on a set of new Medium tyres.

He battled the Williams's Russell and Latifi early on before settling into 15th, later cycling into 11th when the Soft-tyre runners pitted.

On lap 21, Lance made his first stop of the race to switch onto a set of new Hard tyres.

In his second stint, Lance made progress as Russell, Giovinazzi and Latifi retired.

When the Safety Car caused by Latifi occurred, Lance and the team reacted swiftly by pitting for a set of used Soft tyres.

But the Safety Car decision went against the team as drivers ahead of Lance were waved past to unlap the field.

"It was a tricky race today, and we were not able to benefit from the late Safety Car because we were not waved through to overtake, which was frustrating, and I did not understand," said Lance.

"It was a late chance to make up some places and potentially aim for points after we made the decision to pit again."

Unable to maximise the Soft tyres as a result, Lance settled for 13th at the finish.

"P13 is not how we wanted to end the season, and my 100th Grand Prix, but we have learned a lot this year that will put us in good stead for 2022," added Lance.

“It has been great to be a part of Aston Martin's first year back in Formula One, and I am sure there is a bright future ahead."

CEO & Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer paid tribute to the men and women who have worked tirelessly to drive the team forward – at the Silverstone HQ and trackside around the world – in a challenging season.

With a well-earned rest around the corner, Otmar said: "I want to thank our staff back at the factory, and at the races, who never gave up all season.

"They will come back refreshed next year, ready to push for better results than we have had this year."

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Race report

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