The Honda-powered Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso teams wrapped up the 2019 Formula 1 season in style Sunday, scoring a podium and three top-10 results at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
As he has done for much of the year, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen led the way in the Honda camp, starting and finishing second, securing the second spot with a strong pass of Charles Leclerc on Lap 32. Verstappen’s ninth podium finish of the year cemented a third-place finish in the 2019 Driver Standings, marking the highest finish for a Honda-powered driver since 2004 (Jenson Button, 3rd).
Alex Albon capped a strong rookie campaign in the other Red Bull machine, finishing sixth on the day after a lengthy duel with Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari. Albon parlayed his midseason move from Toro Rosso to the Red Bull seat into eight top-six finishes in his nine starts, propelling the Thai driver into eighth in the final standings
Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly, who are confirmed to return as teammates at Toro Rosso in 2020, had drastically different days in Abu Dhabi. Gasly started 11th but found himself on Pit Lane one lap later after getting squeezed into first-turn contact that damaged his front wing. The Frenchman soldiered on to finish 18th and ended up seventh in the driver standings.
His teammate picked up the mantle for Toro Rosso as Kvyat made his initial set of Pirellis last for 40 laps before he pitted for tires. The work done by the Russian in the first part of the race paid off handsomely in the waning laps as he used his new shoes to get around Nico Hulkenberg and into ninth place, earning his ninth points-paying finish of the year.
The 2019 Formula 1 season was statistically one of the best for Honda in the last two decades. Verstappen, Kvyat and Gasly combined to earn 11 podium finishes, which is the most for Honda-powered cars since 2004 (Button, Takuma Sato, 11).
Verstappen scored three victories, marking the most wins for Honda power since the 1992 season when Ayrton Senna and Gerhard Berger combined for five victories. Verstappen also earned a pair of poles on the year, scoring multiple poles for Honda for the first time since 1991.