Max Verstappen credited a perfect Red Bull performance after winning the Abu Dhabi GP, but doesn’t think Mercedes went full attack.
In the final round of the 2020 season in Abu Dhabi, a venue which was been a Mercedes stronghold since 2014, it was Red Bull who shone brightest under the lights as Verstappen went from pole to victory in the 2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, leading every lap.
Mercedes were no match for the Dutchman, and in the closing stages Alex Albon was even starting to turn up the pressure on P3 finisher Lewis Hamilton.
It was a victory that surely will give Red Bull hope for 2021 on a Sunday evening where team and driver “did everything right”.
“It was really enjoyable. It was already enjoyable after yesterday,” Verstappen told Sky F1.
“Today we had a good start and from then on of course you look after the tyres. But the car had really good balance. We did basically everything right.
“I think once you start up front you can control the pace a bit more and it makes your life a bit easier.”
“I saw that they were dropping off behind me so then I could take it a bit easier.
“Of course I had to go through a bit of traffic and backmarkers, but overall it was just a very strong race I think for the team.”
P1, YES BOYS 💪 A simply lovely race 🏆 🍾 This was the perfect way to end the 2020 championship. Thanks a lot, @redbullracing and @HondaRacingF1, and of course all fans 🙌 #AbuDhabiGP 🇦🇪 pic.twitter.com/84Y3Xwp2uI
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) December 13, 2020
After that win Verstappen urged Red Bull to take this positive momentum into 2021 and challenge Mercedes from the start.
“Of course it’s always good to finish the season like this, the team worked very hard over the whole year to improve the car, and to be able to win that last race is a good boost for everyone,” he said.
“I think a good motivation for everyone in the team to go into the winter and I hope that we can be competitive from the start next year.”
Mercedes appeared to operate well below their usual level here in Abu Dhabi, and Verstappen indeed believes that the Silver Arrows weren’t operating on full attack, pointing out the the fact that they had turned down their engines on Saturday and believed that remained the case for the race.
“There are a few reasons maybe behind that,” he replied when asked if he was surprised by Mercedes’ struggles.
“They had to turn down their power a little bit.”