The 2022 F1 season will come to a close at the Yas Marina circuit this Sunday and we could well be in for fireworks with Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton’s rivalry well and truly renewed after events in Brazil.
There is also a massive battle for the runners-up spot on the Drivers’ Championship with Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez level on 290 points apiece.
To Win Race Outright
Max Verstappen 5/4
Lewis Hamilton 5/2
George Russell 7/2
Charles Leclerc 10/1
Sergio Perez 12/1
Carlos Sainz 16/1
It may be the last throes of the season, but we had some real drama out in Brazil with Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen having some choice words for each other after the duo collided on lap 7. That crash was preceded by a lap 1 collision between Daniel Ricciardo and Kevin Magnussen.
There was a further crash on lap 7 with Lando Norris and Charles LeClerc colliding. All four drivers were able to resume racing, but the damage was done for Verstappen and Norris who were handed five-second time penalties as they were deemed to have been the causes of both crashes.
George Russel was the man to benefit from the incident-filled start with the Brit fending off Lewis Hamilton to claim first place. Hamilton ensured a Mercedes one-two as he crossed the line in second, while Carlos Sainz claimed third.
Charles Leclerc ensured Ferrari would claim a decent points haul as he brought his car home in fourth place ahead of former Ferrari ace Fernando Alonso. The final spot in the top 6 went to reigning World Champions Max Verstappen.
Sergio Perez would follow his teammate across the line in seventh, while Esteban Ocon (eighth), Valtteri Bottas (ninth) and Lance Stroll (tenth) rounded out the points-scoring positions.
Track - Yas Island Marina
The final port of call for the field is the Yas Marina Circuit, situated in the desert Metropolis of 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 holdover 40 000 spectators. The actual 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.
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.
No prizes for guessing the weather conditions this weekend, as is always the case in Abu Dhabi; we’ll have hot and dry conditions for the entirety of the race weekend.
Last season’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was won by Max Verstappen in controversial circumstances, with Lewis Hamilton claiming second and Carlos Sainz taking third.
Verdict: Lewis Hamilton to win race outright @ 5/2
Hamilton is enjoying a stellar end to the season, with the Brit claiming podiums for fun. He gave a solid account of himself in Brazil last weekend, and he’s heading to a track where he has won five of the last ten races. While Verstappen has claimed the last two wins in Abu Dhabi, reckon Hamilton will break his stranglehold this weekend.