That Alonso livery is awesome. I really hope he finishes his “final” race.
My gut tells me 10 laps for Alonso
I know we all expecting it, but has Stroll been officially appointed?
That just leaves STR to announce their driver line up
مرحبًا بكم ، عشاق سباق F1 ، للمرة الأخيرة في 2018! نتوجه في نهاية هذا الأسبوع إلى إمارة أبو ظبي وحلبة مرسى ياس الرائعة لما أصبح في نهاية موسم الفورمولا 1.
Welcome, F1 race fans, for one last time in 2018! This weekend we head to the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the magnificent Yas Marina Circuit for what has become the Formula 1 season finale.
And so, the time has come, the end is near, the final curtain. At least for Formula 1 in 2018 that is. And for a few drivers too. This weekend sees the 21st and final round of the 2018 Formula 1 World Championship season taking place at the Monaco of the Middle East – the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.
The Emirate of Abu Dhabi is one of seven emirates that constitute the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It is the largest emirate by area accounting for approximately 87 percent of the total land area of the federation. Abu Dhabi also has the largest population of the seven emirates. (Although only around 25% of them are true Emirati citizens.)
In recent times, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi has continuously contributed around 60% of the GDP of the United Arab Emirates, while its population constitutes only around 35% of the total UAE population. Crude oil and natural gas account for some 60% of the GDP.
The city of Abu Dhabi is the capital city of the emirate, after which it is named, as well as the capital of the federation. And it’s the city of Abu Dhabi and its Yas Marina Circuit that play host to the F1 season finale for the fifth consecutive year.
Despite the race being a dead rubber with both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ championships already decided, the uniqueness of a race that starts in bright sunshine and ends in darkness is always interesting. And if the racing isn’t particularly spectacular, at least the sunset shots and fireworks at the finish will be.
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the Yas Marina Circuit have become a happy hunting ground for both of this years’ top challengers. Of the nine previous races Vettel and Hamilton have won six (three each), taken five of the nine poles, and led two-thirds of the race laps. That said, Vettels’ successes all came when he was with Red Bull Racing, and the past five years in Abu Dhabi have been dominated by Lewis and Mercedes.
Having locked out the front row for the past four years, if the Merc drivers manage to claim another 1-2 front row start on Sunday, it will be the first time in F1 history that any constructor has achieved 5 consecutive front row starts at any race track. And if they finish the race in P1 and P2 for a fourth consecutive time, that would also be a similar first time ever in F1 history situation.
Mercedes’ recent Yas Marina history, and their end-of-season form, are a stark contrast to that of the Scuderia. Ferrari have never won at Yas Marina, have never finished in P1 or P2 in the turbo-hybrid era, nor have they qualified on the front row of the grid. Despite the looming prescence of the massive Ferrari World dome alongside the circuit and the large number of Ferrari road cars on the Abu Dhabi streets, it’s safe to say that Yas Marina and the Ferrari F1 Team don’t really get on that well.
The day-into-night race runs at reasonable times for Saffers on Sunday. Here’s the full schedule for the weekend:
The Yas Marina Circuit has been a permanent fixture on the F1 calendar since making it’s a debut in 2009 – the first of Vettels’ three wins. Located on Yas Island, with the aid of two fairly lengthy DRS zones the track boasts top speeds of 325km/h and average race speeds of 190km/h. The Tilke designed circuit has 9 right turns and 12 left turns, and is one of the few venues on the calendar to run in a counter-clockwise direction. At a little over 5.5kms, it is also one of the seasons longer circuits.
In addition to winning the inaugural race here, Sebastian Vettel also set the standing race lap record in 2009. Expect that record to fall this weekend, like so many others this season.
And, in what will mostly be his last ever starring role in a Formula 1 video, here’s the soon-to-be-non-resident Toro Rosso Kiwi, Brendon Hartley, to show us around the circuit:
Despite the top spots in this years’ Championships already having been claimed by Lewis and Merc, there are still a number of lower positions on both tables that need to be finalised. It’s these drivers and teams that will perhaps be the most interesting to keep an eye on come Sunday.
There’s a three-way tussle for P3-P4-P5 in the drivers’ standings to look forward to. Kimi Raikkonen is undoubtedly in the driving seat, the veteran leading fellow Finn and Mercedes rival Valtteri Bottas by 14 points. Raikkonen has 12 podiums to his name already this season and will be looking to go out with a bang before he parts ways with the Scuderia and begins a new era with Sauber in 2019.
But it isn’t just Bottas who is fighting with Raikkonen for that P3. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who was unfortunate not to win in Brazil last time out, will certainly have something to say this weekend, the Dutchman sitting 17 points behind Raikkonen and only three behind Bottas.
It will take some performance from Verstappen in Abu Dhabi to clinch that spot, while his two rivals will both need to have poor races – but stranger things have happened.
In the constructors’ standings (with Merc, Ferrari and Red Bull cemented on the Constructor’s podium) it’s P4 and down that need some finalisation. And with many millions of dollars in prize money at stake, a high team finish is crucial for most of the B-Field teams.
For most people, Renault have won the race to finish “best of the rest”, with the fourth-placed Anglo-French squad leading their American rivals at Haas by 24 points. It would take some serious Renault misfortune and some excellent points scoring from Haas to upset that status, but mathematically it is possible.
Should Haas miss out on P4, they’ll still finish in a respectable fifth place – not a bad achievement in only their third season in F1 – and McLaren look set to come home behind them in sixth, the Woking team 14 points ahead of nearest rivals Force India with just one race remaining.
In the non-existent F1 tyre wars, the Milanese rubber merchants of Pirelli give the smooth asphalt of Yas Marina a low of just 2 for tyre stress, and abrasion. Grip is also notoriously on the low end of the scale. As a result, the three softest P Zero compounds are again available to the teams. And it’s no surprise that the pink-walled Hypersoft is the most prominent in number amongst the tyre sets selected by the teams.
Onto the weather forecast for the weekend. Not too sure what y’all are expecting here though – Abu Dhabi is a literal desert nation in the Middle East. Despite being a coastal city, it’s going to be hot and it’s going to be dry. Big surprise.
To round things off for this report, as is traditional, a handful of stats and info nuggets to make yourself sound super woke in the F1 world:
- Lewis Hamilton is aiming for his 11th win of the season, to match his best-ever total from 2014 (a season with two fewer races). He also seeks a 17th podium of 2018, matching his career-bests from 2015 and 2016.
- Valtteri Bottas has not won since claiming victory here last year, which was his only career hat-trick to date. Should he fail to triumph, he will be the first winless Mercedes driver in a turbo-hybrid season (the last was Michael Schumacher in 2012).
- Kimi Raikkonen is seeking a 13th podium of the year this weekend, which would exceed his previous career-best totals from 2005 (when he was championship runner-up for McLaren) and 2007 (when he was champion for Ferrari).
- Ferrari, meanwhile, have never raced at any Formula 1 venue as many times as Yas Marina (nine) without taking either a win or a pole, and they’ve only ever led 11 laps in Abu Dhabi.
- Daniel Ricciardo is simultaneously making his 150th Grand Prix start and his 100th (and final) start for Red Bull, whom he joined for the first turbo-hybrid race in 2014 (he is the third longest-serving Red Bull driver ever, behind Mark Webber’s 129 outings and Vettel’s 113).
- His team mate Max Verstappen has one last chance to break the record for youngest polesitter in history, as the Dutchman is only 17 days younger than Sebastian Vettel was at the 2008 Italian GP – but he’s never even out-qualified a team mate on this track.
- Kevin Magnussen has never scored a point in Abu Dhabi, and had a high-speed spin going through Turn 3 on the first lap of last year’s race. Furthermore, the Dane comes into the weekend with only one Q3 appearance in the last seven races (Russia), while Haas have never reached Q3 at Yas Marina.
- Force India’s Sergio Perez has scored points in the last five consecutive Abu Dhabi Grands Prix, and has also started in the top eight for the last three years in a row.
- Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg has finished seventh or better in Abu Dhabi for the last four years – and started seventh in each of the last three years.
- Fernando Alonso is starting what is likely to be his 311th and final Grand Prix, second on the all-time list behind Rubens Barrichello (322). He comes into this weekend with an 84-race streak without a podium (Hungary 2014) and a 109-race streak without a win (Spain 2013).
And that’s it folks. It’s been a lot of fun doing these race preview reports - thanks for all the supportive comments. I’ll definitely do a season review post in a couple of weeks time. Tthen we can start looking forward to 2019 and to the next opportunity for Ferrari to spend half the year building my hopes up, only to have them smashed back into oblivion by the end of the year
Forza Formula 1!!
It’s been equally fun reading them. Hats off to you, Sah!
kubica’s partner is scary looking
So you weren’t slightly awkward looking at 20?
Ironically that was when I looked my best Now the awkward has started
Yeah, they definitely could have made a better choice of image and expression on his face - especially for their first official PR outing as the new team drivers. The photographer must have pressed the button more than once, surely?
That one there was the “My faceisstuckinthispositionaarghrigorissettingincanwepleasegetthisoverwith” shot.
Thank you for sharing this, this cements why I am such a Honey Badger fan!
It’s going to be difficult, but I am going to have to support Renault next year.
For the first time since 2014 - #1 for 1 show only
On Friday in Abu Dhabi Mercedes revealed that Lewis Hamilton had requested and been given permission to run the number 1 on the nose of his Silver Arrow at the season finale. His car is still officially entered under the number 44 and that figure still appears on the engine cover.
It the first time the number 1 has appeared on a car in Formula 1 since the 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, when Sebastian Vettel ran it on his Red Bull in his final Grand Prix as reigning world champion.
Sheesh that roll.
Also that swipe of Verstappen at Ocon XD.
Here’s hoping we’ll have better races next year. Looks like it’s been getting better each year.
Gotta love Will Smith - hats off to Lewis for having fun
Best part of the race -
When the three champs drove in formation and that stunning syncronised spin from Vettel and Alonso and Hamilton. Today is the first day where I dont want to slap him.
He deserved the Championship this year, no arguing that.
Redbull will be empty without Dan, at least he is still on the grid - it feels like some people are forgetting that he isnt retiring.
What a season end. Was actually a really enjoyable race start to end. The racing was good, drivers were animated and relaxed, and the spirit of the race was all very nice. I loved that last Champions Honour Vettel and Hamilton gave Fernando Alonso. Was such a touching and perfect sign-off.
The accident Hulkenberg had, I wasnt worried about him until the car caught flame. As much as I hated the halo, I got used to it and I don’t mind it, but the concern raised about how to extract a person when the car is upside down and on fire is something they need to look at.
But holy crap the build quality on the cars are impressive. That Hulk got out and was fine is just going to show how far the engineering has come.
And poor Kimi - that dead car was just sad
Motorsport.com - Global Edition: Sensor trick could give Mercedes edge in F1 tyre test.