Red Bull F1 finished the 2019 with a podium for Max Verstappen at the season ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, while Alex Albon finished 6th.
Verstappen finished second behind dominant race winner Lewis Hamilton at the Yas Marina Circuit, with the Dutchman making an on-track overtake on Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to take the podium. It was a 9th podium of 2019 for Verstappen, who took 3rd in the Drivers Championship.
Albon finished 6th in the final race, having ultimately struggled with tyre wear leading to late overtakes by Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas. The Brit-Thai driver, who will stay at Red Bull for the 2020 season, finished 8th overall in the Driver’s Championship.
In all, Red Bull finish the 2019 season 3rd with 417 points, with Verstappen enjoying the Milton Keynes-based team’s 3 race wins at the Austria, Germany and Brazil events.
Speaking after the race, Verstappen spoke of his delight to finish with a podium and enough to confirm he would finish ahead of both Ferrari’s.
He said, “Of course I’m very happy to finish the season with a podium and to be third in the championship ahead of both Ferraris is also a good achievement. On this track today Mercedes and Lewis were just a bit too quick but as a Team we had a good strategy, good pit stops and the car was working really well so second place is a good result on this track. The pace was good and overall we were quite a bit faster than the other guys which is a nice feeling.
“Looking back my highlight of the season was Austria. To take the first victory for Honda in the V6 era was very emotional and as a Team to win at our home track again in front of so many Dutch fans was a great feeling. It’s been a good season and the Team never stopped pushing. Honda also made some great improvements so we can be very happy with our first season together.
“It’s a great ending and now we just want to focus ahead and be even more competitive in 2020.”
As for Albon, the driver admitted his final race strategy didn’t work, but he felt satisfied enough with his rookie year and would be hoping to work on his pace at post-season tests in Abu Dhabi that place this week.
He said, “The race didn’t turn out quite how we wanted but we will have a look at it. We pitted early to try and undercut Seb but it didn’t work and then we got stuck behind a train of traffic without DRS. That made for a long second stint and the tyres just didn’t last until the end and Seb cleared a lot of cars quicker than we probably expected.
“It’s one of those things but looking back over the season I can be happy. I know there’s some work to do and areas I have to improve but it’s my rookie year so that’s always going to be the case. I feel like the racing has been good, the pace still needs work, but that will come with experience. We’re testing next week so we’ll continue the hard work and come back stronger next year.
“It’s nice to spend the winter knowing where I’ll be racing next year so I can focus on the job in hand. I’m really enjoying working with the Team so I can’t wait for 2020.”
Toro Rosso enjoyed one points finish in their final race before they rebrand as Alpha Tauri for the 2020 season. Daniil Kvyat finished 9th after starting 13th, with his strategy allowing him to jump McLaren and Renault cars that qualified ahead. Pierre Gasly had a difficult final race, finishing 18th and never really recovering after his car suffered first lap damage in a collision with the two Racing Point cars. The Red Bull junior team finish 6th in the Constructors with 85 points – an improvement on a 9th place finish with 33 points in 2018.