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PREVIEW: Abu Dhabi showdown will decide F1 Drivers’ Championship

After a dramatic Saudi Grand Prix, we head to Abu Dhabi for the final race of the season and the Drivers’ Championship title is well and truly on the line with Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton level on points headed F1’s season finale.

F1 Field
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

After a dramatic Saudi Grand Prix, we head to Abu Dhabi for the final race of the season and the Drivers' Championship title is well and truly on the line with Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton level on points headed F1's season finale.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Sunday 12 December
Yas Marina Circuit

To Win Race Outright

Lewis Hamilton 5/10
Max Verstappen 19/10
Valterri Bottas 18/1
Sergio Perez 30/1
Charles LeClerc 80/1
Lando Norris 80/1
Pierre Gasly 100/1

Previous Race

Well, did we get drama out at Losili as Max Verstappen was hammered with penalties which ensured Lewis Hamilton would take first place and level things up on the Drivers’ standings. Verstappen, who lost 10 seconds due to racing penalties would manage to salvage second as his Red Bull limped home on shot tyres. Valterri Bottas snatched third away from Estaban Ocon on the final lap and extending Mercedes’ lead at the summit of the Constructors’ Championship to 28 points.

Further down the field, we had some familiar names with Ocon taking fourth, Daniel Ricciardo claiming fifth and Pierre Gasly rounding out the top 6. The twin Ferraris were next to come in with Charles LeClerc claiming seventh and Carlos Sainz taking ninth. The top ten was rounded out by Antoni Giovannazzi and Lado Norris.

The Track - Yas Marina Circuit

Yas Marina Circuit

Track

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 Circuit which has had a recent tweak sees the track distance measures 5.281 kilometres and contains 16 turns. Drivers will battle over 58 of these laps and will cover a total race distance of 306.183 kilometres.

There is a 1.2 kilometre straight between turns 5 and 6 – both of which are slower corners – making this the ideal place for overtaking. The more technical section of the track comes through turns 10, 11 and 12 which makes drivers go hard on the brakes with “bags of lateral load still on the car” according to the F1 website. 

The weather forecast looks solid for this weekend with dry conditions and temperatures ranging from the high teens to high 20’s being forecast throughout.

Last season’s edition was won by Max Verstappen while Valterri Bottass took second and Lewis Hamilton rounded out the podium.

Value Bet

To Win Race Outright – Sergio Perez @ 30/1

Okay, so we’re still looking at a small risk for a big return with the value bets this week but we’re going to go a bit left field and back Sergio Perez for a race win. I will also be having a strike on his teammate Max Verstappen to claim race honours as well.

This one would likely require Hamilton and Verstappen to crash out but that’s a distinct possibility considering what transpired last weekend.

To Win Race Outright

Max Verstappen @ 19/10

Things certainly didn’t go his way last weekend but you can expect Verstappen to take a siege mentality coming into this one.

He has enjoyed a decent time of it in Abu Dhabi over the past couple of years winning last year’s Grand Prix while coming second in 2019 and third in 2018. I reckon he’ll go hell-for-leather this weekend which could see the young Dutchman claim race honours or crash trying. This promises to be an absolute thriller. 

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