The 2015 season ended with spectacular fireworks lighting up the night sky above the Yas Marina circuit. Sadly, we came away from the nineteenth and final Grand Prix with no points to our name. Carlos Sainz finished eleventh and Max Verstappen was classified sixteenth at the end of the 55 laps.
Carlos had a brilliant opening lap, passing two cars between turns 2 and 5 to go from tenth on the grid to seventh first time across the stripe. Unfortunately, the Spaniard’s first pit stop on lap 7 was not the best and he lost a bit of time, rejoining fifteenth. He moved up the order as others stopped. He was on a two stop strategy, making his final trip down pit lane on lap 28 and clawed his way back into the points on lap 44. However, in the closing stages Carlos was powerless to fend off Grosjean who was on much fresher rubber.
Max actually took the chequered flag in twelfth spot, but the Stewards did not look kindly on our man’s aggressive driving. First of all he picked up a 5 second penalty for “leaving the track limits and gaining an advantage,” when he had a thrilling duel with Jenson Button, as he tried to pass the McLaren at Turn 8. The Englishman stayed on the inside for the following Turn 9, which forced Max off-track to complete the pass. Then in the closing stages, he had a further 20 seconds added to his race time, for “ignoring blue flags.” Having pitted on lap 8, his race was compromised when he flat-spotted a tyre and had to come in again just twelve laps later, with a final change on lap 38.
Our work in Abu Dhabi isn’t over quite yet as, along with the other teams we are staying on for a day of Pirelli tyre testing on Tuesday: Sainz will drive the STR10 for the last time in the morning, while Verstappen will say his farewells to his first Formula 1 car in the afternoon. Now we are all focusing on 2016 and the Australian Grand Prix, which takes place in 112 days time.