We preview the 2016 F1 season finale taking place at the Yas Marina Circuit on Sunday.
So the tables have been turned and Lewis Hamilton will be the one who has to overcome adversity in order to claim his third consecutive Drivers’ Championship title. A very similar scenario to this one played out in 2014 with Nico Rosberg needing to overcome a seemingly insurmountable points deficit in order to take the title off his teammate.
That particular late title assault ended in tears for Rosberg as the Mercedes man experienced a technical issue with his car and finished the race near the tail end of the field. So will history repeat itself this Sunday or does Hamilton have a surprise up his sleeve?
We are going to do away with the previous race segment this week as it doesn’t hold as much bearing as the actual title permutations. All you need to know about the previous race dear readers is that Hamilton claimed his third consecutive victory in some atrocious weather conditions. That win has seen Hamilton close the gap on Rosberg to just 17 points.
Here is where things start to get extremely interesting. There is a whole host of permutations – some more likely to occur than others – surrounding the fate of the 2016 Drivers’ Championship title. Let’s take a look at some of them below.
In order for Lewis Hamilton to win:
– The Brit will need to win the race with Rosberg finishing outside the podium positions.
– If Hamilton finishes second he will need Rosberg to finish outside the top six in order to claim the title.
– If Hamilton finishes third he will need Rosberg to finish outside the top eight in order to claim the title.
Rosberg will secure the title if:
-He wins the race
-Finishes higher than seventh place and Hamilton doesn’t win
-He finishes higher than ninth and Hamilton finishes outside the podium places
-Hamilton finishes fourth or lower
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix | Sunday 27 November | Yas Marina Circuit | 14:30
To Win Race
Lewis Hamilton 61/100 | Nico Rosberg 9/4 | Daniel Ricciardo 11/1 | Max Verstappen 12/1 | Sebastian Vettel 16/1 | Kimi Raikkonen 33/1 | Nico Hulkenberg 250/1 | Sergio Perez 250/1
The final port of call for the field this year is the Yas Marina Circuit situated in the desert Metropolis that is Abu Dhabi. Like most things in the UAE, no expense was spared when it came to designing this circuit. Designed as a permanent racing facility, the Yas Marina complex can hold a 41,093 strong crowd.
The actual track distance measures 5.554 kilometres and contains 21 turns. Drivers will do battle over 55 of these laps and will cover a total race distance of 305.355 kilometres. The most challenging aspects of this track are the tight chicane through turns five and six- which offers next to no traction – and the sequence between turns 11, 12, and 13 which are exceedingly slow.
With the staggering heat found in Abu Dhabi, the race has to be held under lights. While it is a lot cooler during the evening sessions, the actual track temperature still reaches some absurd levels.
Because track temperatures will be so high, a lot hinges of Pirelli’s tyre choice for this race. the Italian tyre manufacturing giant has opted to the three softest compound tyres for the race, in a bid to counteract the tyre wear caused by the track conditions. While the soft and supersoft compounds held up well at the track in the past, there is no real data available on the ultrasoft as this is their debut season. The manner in which these tyres respond to the track could have a huge bearing on the race result.
A bonus of having a race in a state as arid as Abu Dhabi is that you will almost always see a dry Grand Prix. This year is no different with temperatures in excess of 30 degrees celsius and clear skies being predicted for the race weekend.
The last three races held at the circuit have seen three different winners with Sebastian Vettel claiming victory in 2013, Hamilton taking the honours in 2014 and Nico Rosberg winning last year’s race.
Sebastian Vettel (Yes) 16/10
Seb has a fantastic record at the track winning the 2009, 2010, and 2013 editions. The German may be struggling to get the best out of his underpowered Ferrari at the minute but his race craft and ability on this track make him a decent shout for a podium finish.
Fastest Qualifier & To Win Main Race
Lewis Hamilton 57/100 & 61/100
Is there any man in the sporting world who functions as well under pressure as Lewis Hamilton? The Brit looked set to end the season as the Drivers’ Championship runner-up, but three consecutive race victories have given him a sniff at claiming his third consecutive Drivers’ title. He may have a slightly worse record out in Abu Dhabi than the one his teammate possess, but my money is firmly on the Brit this weekend.
Max Verstappen 16/1
Call it a ‘Hail Mary’ play or a ‘shot in the dark’ but I’m certainly not passing up on a 16/1 shot! Max is the type of bloke that would drive his car through a brick wall if someone told him it would make him go faster. You can bet your bottom dollar that the Red Bull youngster will be going all out to mark his debut season in the senior team car with an impressive performance. And while I think he may struggle to get on the podium, he has every chance of claiming the fastest lap accolade this weekend, especially with the two Mercedes men involved in their own private duel of wits.