Verstappen ends F1 season with 15th win

A year after one of the most controversial finishes in the history of Formula One, the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was anything but.

Max Verstappen, as usual this season, was far ahead of the rest on Sunday on his way to a record-extending 15th win of the season.

"Incredible to win again here, 15th win of the season is unbelievable," Verstappen said.

"It's been really enjoyable to work with the whole team and to be able to achieve something like this this year."

At the track where he beat Lewis Hamilton last year -- after a restart call that is still hotly disputed to this day --Verstappen held off his teammate Sergio Perez at the start and didn't face a serious challenge after that in the season-ending race.

Instead, much of the attention was on retiring four-time champion Sebastian Vettel battling in his final race, while a hydraulic problem ended Lewis Hamilton's race for Mercedes as the seven-time champion finished an F1 season without a win for the first time in his career.

There was potential for a fight for second place on track and in the championship standings, but little real drama.

And in what he'd admitted before the race could be his last race in Formula One, Australian Daniel Ricciardo bowed out from McLaren with a ninth place finish and in the familiar position of ending up three places behind his teammate Lando Norris.

Perez and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc had come into the race equal on points, just like Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton did last year.

Leclerc got past Perez by opting for one less pit stop and managed his old tyres so that Perez couldn't get close enough to try an overtake.

That thwarted Red Bull's bid to have its drivers place first and second, as Leclerc finished three points ahead of Perez in the standings.

It meant Verstappen's refusal to yield sixth place to his teammate at the last race in Brazil -- which left Red Bull facing questions over an apparent rift in the team -- turned out not to be decisive at the end of the season.

"I knew the only possibility to beat Checo (Perez) today was with a different strategy and playing with the tyre management, which we did really well today," Leclerc said.

"I really hope next year we can do a step forward to fight for the championship."

Carlos Sainz was fourth in the other Ferrari, while George Russell was fifth despite a five-second penalty when the Mercedes team released him from a pit stop into the path of another car.

Vettel placed 10th for Aston Martin as he retires from F1 after 16 years.