While Mercedes are still searching for the correct set of tyres for their drivers as the mixed emotions and memories of the Sakhir GP are still fresh, the unprecedented and shortened 2020 season reaches its climax in the Abu Dhabi. Yas Marina Circuit will be hosting their 12th Formula 1 championship race.
The race promises to be a spectacular grand finale as the outcome of 2nd and 4th place in the drivers’ championship and the 3rd place in the constructor’s championship will be decided.
Yas Marina has been permanently hosting Abu Dhabi GP since its inaugural race in 2009. It has been named after the Yas Island. The circuit built by Hermann Tilke is unique as the race starts in the evening and ends at night. It is the second circuit to host a race at night after Singapore GP and second middle east country to host an Formula 1 race after Bahrain.
Here are the numbers from the previous Abu Dhabi GP
Advantage starting on the front row:
- The last time a non-pole sitter won the Abu Dhabi GP was in 2014 when Lewis Hamilton won from second on the grid
- Pole sitters have won 6 out of 11 races in Abu Dhabi
- Astonishingly, the front row starters have won 10 out of 11 races in Abu Dhabi
- Second place is the furthest grid position to win a race in the hybrid era, which was achieved by Lewis Hamilton in 2014
- Fourth place is the furthest grid position to win a race in the Abu Dhabi when Kimi Raikkonen won 2012 Abu Dhabi GP
- Mercedes have won all 6-races in the hybrid era
- Mercedes have 3-grand slam in Abu Dhabi, which is more than any other circuits they have achieved this feat
- Mercedes have also taken all 6-pole positions in the hybrid era
- Mercedes have qualified on the front row on all 6-races in the hybrid era, but Valtteri Bottas started on 20th last year after a penalty
- Mercedes have led 88% of the laps in the hybrid era
Struggle for Red Bull Racing in the hybrid era:
- Despite winning 3 out of the first 5-races, Red Bull Racing failed to win any races in the hybrid era
- Red Bull Racing have only 2-podiums in the hybrid era, which was achieved by Max Verstappen in 2018 and 2019
Ferrari are yet to off the mark:
- UAE (Abu Dhabi) is one of the six countries where Scuderia Ferrari failed to win a race in their 70 years rich history
- Abu Dhabi has hosted all season-ending races in the hybrid era
- Double podiums were achieved in 9 races. Drivers from 3 different teams have appeared together only twice on the rostrum in 2012 and 2019
- In the last two years, drivers qualified second have never finished the race on the podium
Most Race Wins (5): Lewis Hamilton
Most Pole Position (5): Lewis Hamilton
Most Podiums (8): Lewis Hamilton
Most Points (211): Lewis Hamilton
Most Race Wins (6): Mercedes
Most Pole Position (6): Mercedes
Most Podiums (10): Mercedes
Most Points (299): Mercedes
Yas Marina is one of the circuits designed by the famous engineer Hermann Tilke. The circuit of length 5.55km has 21 turns. Also, it has a variety of a couple of straights and slow corners where the slow corners are a bottleneck for overtaking. On top of it, the straight with a length of 1.14km between turn-7 and turn-8 is the second-longest in Formula 1 and is second only to the straight which Shanghai International Circuit boasts. However, Baku has the longest straight with a kink added to it.
There are 2-DRS zones in the Yas Marina circuit. First DRS detection zone is at the exit of turn-6 and can be enabled in the straights between the exit of turn-7 and the entry of turn-8. Meanwhile, the second DRS comes right after the first DRS zone where it starts from the exit of turn-10 to the entry of turn-11.
Pirelli have brought softest tyre compounds to the medium downforce and low abrasive Yas Marina circuit. Since the race starts at 5 PM, the temperature rapidly becomes cooler in the second half of the race. Last year’s race had 14-drivers pitting only once and the remaining 6-opted for two pit stops. However, lack of support races means the amount of rubber laid down for weekend gets affected, and the track evolution plays a pivotal role.
Mercedes would be disappointed after an unconventional pit stop error stopped them from finishing 1-2 in the Sakhir GP comfortably. The Sakhir GP result was also their worst points scoring race since Brazil 2019. They would be hoping to prevail over their Sakhir GP disappointment and maintain their impeccable dominance at Abu Dhabi.
Mercedes have confirmed Lewis Hamilton will race for them in the Abu Dhabi GP. Meanwhile, Valtteri Bottas heads to the Abu Dhabi GP hoping he could wrap up second place in the driver’s championship.
Red Bull Racing:
Red Bull Racing must be lamenting their luck, in a weekend where Formula 1 had an unpredictable race with the unconventional podium, in the Sakhir GP. Abu Dhabi GP in the hybrid era is not kind enough for Red Bull Racing either as they finished on the podium only twice. However, Max Verstappen’s podium in the last two years in the Abu Dhabi would give them a boost for a solid result in the season-ender.
Max Verstappen’s bid to finish on the second place in the driver’s championship has taken a tumble after his first lap DNF, no fault of his own, in the Sakhir GP. He comes to the Abu Dhabi GP with an outside chance of turning around the 16-point deficit to Valtteri Bottas. Meanwhile, his teammate Alex Albon is running out of a time for an inspired performance as it’s now or never for him at Red Bull Racing in the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi GP.
Mid Field Battle:
Racing Point’s first win with the podium combined has put them as front runners to finish the constructors’ championship on 3rd position. They currently have 10-points lead over their nearest rival McLaren and 22-points lead over Renault. McLaren need a strong result from both their drivers to turn around the 10-points deficit while Renault need a miraculous result to finish on 3rd in the constructors’ championship.
Sergio Perez has increased the lead for the 4th place in the drivers’ championship by 13 points. This season will become his best in terms of points and the championship standings. However, he has finished on the top-7 in Abu Dhabi only once in 9 attempts. A strong performance from Sergio Perez in the Abu Dhabi GP will make him the favourite to land the Red Bull Racing as it’s either a Red Bull Racing seat or sabbatical in the next season for him.
Daniel Ricciardo needs to outscore Sergio Perez by 13 points to have any chance of finishing the drivers’ championship on 4th place. He has raced for Renault only once in the Abu Dhabi GP with the 11th place finish. Another tattoo for Cyril Abiteboul as the farewell gift would be the vintage Ricciardo. However, Renault have only one top-5 finish and scored only 34 points in 7-races in the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi GP.
As the curtains for this season comes to a closure, the paddock in the Abu Dhabi GP is set to be emotional and memorable with farewell for Sebastian Vettel, Sergio Perez, Daniel Ricciardo and Carlos Sainz from their current teams. Also, Formula 1 bids potential goodbye to the Dane Kevin Magnussen. An enthralling race would add a perfect sweetener to end the unforgettable season.