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Verstappen extends 2022 record as his predecessor says goodbye

After the drama and excitement of George Russell’s first Formula 1 victory in Brazil, usual 2022 service was restored in Abu Dhabi. Max Verstappen never looked like losing, while Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc battled for second in the race and the championship – a fight won brilliantly and deservedly by the Ferrari driver.

As Alex Kalinauckas explains in our report on page 16, the differing strategies between Red Bull team-mates Verstappen and Perez contributed to Leclerc’s success. But Verstappen can hardly be blamed for that, particularly as it was his excellent tyre management that allowed him to be on a one-stopper – and there were several other factors that contributed to Perez falling short by 1.3 seconds.

Verstappen’s victory moves his season-wins record to 15. We compare his year to the best campaigns of previous greats on p33.

In stark contrast to the 2021 season finale, there was a lot of good feeling in the Yas Marina paddock – much of it directed at Sebastian Vettel in his last grand prix as a driver (p4). Vettel has matured into one of motorsport’s finest ambassadors and the high regard with which he is held was clear to see. Autosport wishes the four-time champion well in his future endeavours – while also being bold enough to have a go at finding a place for him in the pantheon of F1 legends (p14)…

At the other end of his career is Kalle Rovanpera. Tom Howard talks to key figures about the new World Rally champ’s rise on p38.

Kevin Turner Chief Editor

NEXT WEEK 1 DECEMBER Toyota’s 2022 successes World Endurance and World ce and World ws, plus a

Rally reviews, plus a British star’s F1 test

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COVER IMAGES Sutton/Hone/Motorsport Images

PIT & PADDOCK 4 Vettel waves farewell to F1 in Abu Dhabi 6 Ricciardo to take Red Bull reserve role 9 FIA launches all-female F4 series 10 Breen returns to Hyundai WRC line-up 13 Opinion: Alex Kalinauckas 14 Opinion: Kevin Turner 15 Feedback: your letters

RACE CENTRE 16 Abu Dhabi GP report and analysis 33 How Max’s 2022 compares to the greats 36 World of Sport: FIA Formula 2; Macau GP

INSIGHT 38 How Rovanpera is smashing records 42 The team taking on NASCAR’s big players 48 MotoGP review: Bagnaia vs Quartararo

CLUB AUTOSPORT 61 Autosport Three Hours to return 62 Full series for new Masters GT category 64 RAM to Gulf 12 Hours with special livery 66 Opinion: Stefan Mackley 67 National reports: Brands Hatch 68 Celebrating 20 years of the Fun Cup

FINISHING STRAIGHT 70 What’s on this week 72 From the archive: 1997 Belgian GP 74 My favourite car: Richard Attwood

SUBSCRIPTION OFFER 26 Special deals for Autosport

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