Formula 1: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Venue: Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Race Date: 13th December 2020
The final race of what has been a tumultuous year on the F1 calendar is upon us with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit. Lewis Hamilton has rightfully been given all the plaudits for his 7th World Championship title win but his participation in the final race of the season is in jeopardy as he awaits a negative COVID 19 test. George Russell performed well as his understudy last weekend and he and Valtteri Bottas will be looking to make a statement for Mercedes here. Sergio Perez will be looking to back up his impressive win at Bahrain last week whilst for the likes of Esteban Ocon and Lance Stroll, this presents yet another opportunity to pick up precious end of season points.
As the final race of a truncated Formula One season, it is very much now or never for some drivers and teams in Abu Dhabi here: –
Second place in the Driver’s Championship will be firmly on the mind of Valtteri Bottas too, who has once again performed well in Hamilton’s shadow this season. A combination of lack of form and continual car failures have seen him lose ground somewhat in the race for second this term, but he too knows that a win here would secure a second place berth for the Finn.
Red Bull have not kicked on as many would have expected this season, but Max Verstappen continues look the most likely driver to put pressure on the Mercedes pair. He will have been disappointed to crash out so tamely last time out in Bahrain and he will be all too aware that a win here would see him clinch second in the Drivers’ Championship.
With Lewis Hamilton out of action seemingly, George Russell has been fast tracked by Mercedes as the driver elect. The young Brit went through the mill in Bahrain last weekend but still managed to secure his first ever points in Formula 1 and he will be hoping to build on that here. He has the pace and the driving ability to get over the line, it will be whether he can avoid trouble that defines his race.
Mexican Sergio Perez has enjoyed a stellar campaign for Racing Point and his win at the Sakhir Grand Prix last weekend at the 190th time of asking in F1 was testament to the success he has had this term. He sits 4th in the drivers’ championship and looks to be one of the in-form men on the grid currently and back to back wins would certainly make other teams stand up and take note – with Perez yet to secure a drive for any team next season.
First Driver to Retire
With plenty at stake at the Yas Marina Circuit, it could be a tough weekend for many drivers this weekend:-
Williams have endured an underwhelming season and with the future of the company in serious doubt, Nicholas Latifi looks to have a tough afternoon ahead of him in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
The end of the season cannot come quick enough for Charles Leclerc and with Ferrari already planning for next year, he could have mentally checked out a little here in Abu Dhabi.
Top Six Finish
2020 has thrown up its fair share of thrills and spills already this season and there will be plenty of racers fancying their chances of cracking the top 6 in Abu Dhabi this weekend:-
Australian Daniel Riccardo has been in fine form since the season began for Renault and on his last race for the team he will be hoping to go out on a high.
McLaren look to have found a gem of a driver in Carlos Sainz and in his last drive before he joins Ferrari next year, he will want to finish the campaign strongly.
With a win at Monza already under his belt this season, Pierre Gasly is continually coming of age in F1 and plenty of teams appear to be tracking his progress.
F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Best Bets:
Race Winner: George Russell – 2.00