The 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this Sunday will close the curtain on what has been another exciting Formula One season. Lewis Hamilton will get his hands on his sixth Drivers’ World Championship trophy at the Yas Marina Circuit. Meanwhile, will Max Verstappen hold off Charles Leclerc for the bronze medal?
Hamilton dominated this race from pole position last season, and the British driver will be gunning for a fifth Abu Dhabi Grand Prix victory on Sunday. Sebastian Vettel, who has three wins to his name at the Yas Marina Circuit, heads to the United Arab Emirates as the 11/2 fourth favourite. Meanwhile, Leclerc is priced at 11/4, Verstappen at 7/2 and Valtteri Bottas at 6/1. Who will finish on top of the pile in the final Grand Prix of 2019?
Nico Hulkenberg, who had a horror crash at the Yas Marina Circuit last year, will be making his final Grand Prix appearance this weekend. The German’s 10-year F1 career has come to a halt for now, as the 32-year-old is without a drive for 2020. Meanwhile, after their collision at the Brazilian Grand Prix in the last round, Ferrari duo Leclerc and Vettel have some making up to do in Abu Dhabi.
Since the first one in 2009, this Grand Prix attracts Formula One fanatics from all over the world. The facilities are fantastic, and the racing is thrilling. With two long straights, a minor elevation point and 21 turns, we should be in for another cracking race in the UAE capital on Sunday.
|21/21||United Arab Emirates||Yas Marina Circuit||305km / 55 Laps|
|Date||Start Time||Finish Time||Forecast Conditions||TV Coverage|
|Practice 1||Fri 29th Nov||08:55||10:35||Dry / 27°||–|
|Practice 2||Fri 29th Nov||12:55||14:35||Dry / 27°||–|
|Practice 3||Sat 30th Nov||09:55||11:05||Dry / 27°||–|
|Qualifying||Sat 30th Nov||12:55||14:05||Dry / 27°||Sky F1|
|Race||Sun 1st Dec||13:00||14:55||Dry / 27°||Sky F1|
Last Season’s Result (2018)
Hamilton, who already had his fifth title sewn up, stormed to Abu Dhabi Grand Prix glory a year ago. The Briton started on pole and was untroubled throughout to secure his fourth victory in the United Arab Emirates. Hamilton ended the season with 11 Grand Prix victories, a feat he can repeat at the Yas Marina Circuit this weekend.
Vettel is the second most successful driver of this Grand Prix, and the German picked up the silver medal a year ago, with Verstappen finishing in third. Hulkenberg emerged unhurt after a horror crash which left his car upside down. Hulkenberg, Kimi Raikkonen, Marcus Ericsson, Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly did not finish. Meanwhile, it was Fernando Alonso’s final Formula One race.
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||6||15|
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||5||12|
|6||Carlos Sainz Jr.||Renault||11||8|
|8||Sergio Perez||Force India||14||4|
Analysis: World Champion to Make it 11 Wins
As expected, six-time world champion Hamilton heads to Abu Dhabi as the favourite to secure the win. At the time of writing, Lewis is priced at 13/8 to finish on top of the podium for an 11th time this season. Hamilton won this Grand Prix this time last year to secure his 11th race victory of 2018 – will history repeat itself a year on?
The likes of Leclerc, Verstappen, Vettel and Bottas will want to end 2019 on a high. They have all had to sit back and watch Hamilton dominate this season, but can one of these drivers reign supreme in the United Arab Emirates? Leclerc has had an excellent first season with Ferrari, and he looks in the best shape to challenge Hamilton this weekend. However, our money is going on Hamilton to claim another race win on Sunday.
Verstappen to End on a High
Verstappen stamped his authority on third spot in the championship standings with a stunning win in Brazil two weeks ago. The Red Bull ace passed the world champion on two occasions in a gripping race at Interlagos. Verstappen has had another fine season, picking up three race wins along the way.
The Yas Marina Circuit in the UAE has certainly suited the Red Bull car over the years, with the team securing three victories on this track. However, the last of those came in 2013. Verstappen will be hoping to end the season in high spirits, and the Dutchman is available at 4/11 to finish on the podium this Sunday.
Can Gasly Build on Second Place in Brazil?
Gasly secured the best result of his Formula One career at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace in Sao Paulo a fortnight ago. The 23-year-old was dropped in favour of Alex Albon in the summer, but he has taken an impressive 95 points to sit sixth in the standings going into the final round. Toro Rosso’s Gasly is available at 100/1 to finish in the top three for a second Grand Prix running and that might just be worth a small wager.
About the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
As the final race of the year, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is easily one of the most anticipated and celebrated events on the F1 calendar. The race has been running in its current form since 2009 and with it thousands of people flock to the Yas Marina track from around the world.
The track broke ground in 2007 and took a little over 2 years to fully complete. As part of the design, it was decided that the it would around the Marina on Yas Island, which offers a stunning, yet unique backdrop. It’s essentially one of the richest races in the world and with it, the track has been formed to be able to show off the money that has been invested, which is thought to be around $1.32 billion.
The average lap speed is around 193kmph, just below the season average. There are 21 turns on the course, which sees very little in the terms of elevation changes, but several demanding braking areas and two possible overtaking zones into turn 8 and 11.
Cars cross the start finish line at around 265kmph, before hitting the first corner at speeds of around 290kmp. The first corner is a tight left-handed hairpin, which drivers need to navigate before coming ingot a sweeping left hander that is taken around 240kmph, one of the fastest on the circuit.
Turn three sees the drivers take a fast right hander before heading into a fast left hander, each at pretty much full tilt seeing cars reach around 270kmph before hitting the back straight and into the a tight ‘S’ Bend. The ‘S’ bend is one of the slowest sections on track and with it sees the cars go down to as little as 80kmph.
Next up the drivers have to slowly go through another of the hairpin turns on track, again very slowly at speeds of just 65kjmph before hitting a long straight that also works as the DRS zone and a popular passing zone. This is where cars generally max out with their speed, hitting up to 335kmph, before breaking hard from 8thgear into just 2ndgear and speeds of around 70kmph.
The chicanes are next to navigate and with it see high kerbs meaning that drivers can’t necessarily cut off as much as they normally would. The drivers then head back up towards one of the main grandstands again hitting high speeds, before breaking hard and then into a tight left hander and then tight right hander. This is another section that drivers are able to pass and often where you see cars getting the most out of shape as it’s a very technical section.
The chase towards the finish line is on and they take a sweeping right hander at almost full speed before then two more right handers, before heading past the back side of the main grandstand. The cars then are needed to go through two slow left-handed turns, before making their way down to the last corner, which is a right-handed chicane and back up towards the finish line.
As stated the circuit was broken ground in 2007 and it first opened in 2009. It was a highly anticipated opening, especially given the money involved. But, the work started and then completed just before the economic crash and it was unsure as to how the track would compete given that money would be tight.
The work was carried out by that of Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Coutoure, who work as part of a New York Architect. It was actually a much-criticised appointment, given that many tracks worked with the likes of Hermann Tilke, but the management committee decided that a fresh approach was needed in terms of the design of the track and thus they decided to go against the grain, an choice that in hindsight seems to have paid off them. Interestingly, in 2017, it was announced that Hermann Tilke would be leading some changes on track in order to increase the number of overtakes and in turn, excitement around the race.
The circuit was created with a full lighting system, which meant that night races were able to take place and whilst qualifying is held through the day, the track does run as a night-race for the race itself.
2010 – FIRST CHAMPIONSHIP DECIDER
Whilst the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix had already hosted its first race, the 2009 was a bit of a dead rubber. It was a year later when the last Grand Prix of the season was called into action in order to decide the championship, and it did so in dramatic fashion.
Fernando Alonso ultimately lost out to that of Sebastian Vettel, who won his first Drivers Championship in the process. It was Vettel’s second victory at the track after winning their 12 months earlier.
2014 – DOUBLE POINTS
In an attempt to reignite the excitement into F1 and to prevent drivers from running away with the Championship, it was decided that for the last race it will be run as a double points race. It was a process that many didn’t really like and it turned out to be the only year that it was used.
The race did mean that the Championship could still go either way through and with it both Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton went into the final race with just 17 points separating them. It was Rosberg who would struggle in the race though and with it see his chances of winning the title diminish, eventually finishing in 12thplace. Hamilton went on to win and in turn, lifted the Drivers’ World Championship for the second time.