The F1 field will take to the track for the final time this year when they line up for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday the 26th of November.
The curtain will come down on the 2017 Formula 1 season this Sunday at the traditional closing venue, the Yas Marina Circuit. 2017 has proved to be one of the more exciting seasons in recent history despite the fact that Lewis Hamilton secured the Drivers’ Championship title with two races to spare.
Hopefully, there are a few more moments of excitement still to come over the final race weekend of the year.
Ferrari fired a warning shot out in Brazil by claiming a double podium finish with talisman Sebastian Vettel claiming the race honours and Prancing Stag number two, Kimi Raikkonen, managing a third-place finish. This double podium finish may have come way too late in the season to have any significant bearing on the Drivers’ or Constructors’ Championships but it did signal that Ferrari will be nipping at Mercedes’ heals come the start of the 2018 season.
Mercedes, while not enduring a nightmare weekend, did struggle to keep pace with the two Ferraris out in Sao Paulo with Valtteri Bottas unable to cause Sebastian Vettel too much strife during their battle for first place. Bottas ended up bringing his Silver Arrow across the line two-and-a-half seconds behind Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari. And while the battle for the final podium position between Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton was a lot tighter – the Finn crossed the line less than a second ahead of Hamilton – the Ferrari man looked to have the ‘Brit at arm’s length during the final salvos of the race.
The Top 6 actually comprised of all the usual suspects with Max Verstappen bringing his Red Bull home in fifth and his teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, claiming sixth.
There was an exceedingly Spanish feel to the remaining makeup of the Top Ten with local lad Felipe Massa claiming seventh, Spaniard Fernando Alonso taking eighth and Mexican driver Sergio Perez claiming ninth. The final spot in the Top Ten went to German, Nico Hulkenberg.
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix | Sunday 26 November | Yas Marina Circuit | 14:30
To Win Race
Lewis Hamilton 83/100 | Sebastian Vettel 9/4 | Valterri Bottas 6/1 | Max Verstappen 12/1 | Daniel Ricciardo 14/1 | Kimi Raikonnen 20/1
The final port of call for the field is the Yas Marina Circuit which is 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.
Italian tyre manufacturing giant, Pirelli, has seen it’s Ultra-Soft compounds become quite popular this week with a host of teams opting to carry ten sets into the race weekend.
As always, there’s no real need to look at a weather forecast for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as the conditions are always insanely hot and there’s never any chance of rain.
Last year’s race was won by Lewis Hamilton, with his former teammate Nico Rosberg taking second and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel claiming third.
Value Bet – Max Verstappen – Yes – 11/10
Max has been in great touch over the past two months winning both the Mexican and Malaysian Grand Prix as well as securing a podium finish out in Japan. And while he didn’t make the podium last week, he did manage to claim the Fastest Lap accolade.
The Red Bull youngster also has a healthy record at the Yas Marina Circuit, finishing last year’s race in fourth place. At 11/10 for a podium, the Dutchman offers magnificent value.
Fastest Qualifier & To Win Race – Lewis Hamilton 13/20 – & 83/100
I know it’s a mundane way to ‘cap a season but I can’t help but feel we are in for another Pole + Race Win double from the Drivers’ Championship title holder. The Yas Marina Circuit is one of Mercedes happiest hunting grounds with a Silver Arrows driver winning the last three races- the last driver to win a race not driving a Mercedes was Sebastian Vettel back in 2013.
While neither market will net you a fortune, a strike on a Hamilton Race Win or Pole is an absolute banker and should be gobbled up quicker than a Turkey at an American Thanks Giving party.