Formula 1

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Preview

In Abu Dhabi this weekend the Formula One season reaches round 17 and it’s conclusion of this season like none that have come before..  The Yas Marina Circuit is glitz and glamour on a manmade island. The track itself features three distinct sectors.  

Approximately 55% of the track is spent at full throttle, with average speeds of 190 kph, similar to the demands of Montreal circuit.  Sector one consists of the front straight giving way to an almost 90 degree left hander and then fast sweeping curves.  Basically two fast sections sandwiched around the corner.  Sector two begins with the Turn 7 hairpin, the slowest portion of the track, similar to the hairpin in Monaco.  The hairpin gives way to the meat of the sector two and the two long high speed straights. The 1.2km/0.75mile straight between turn 7 & 8 is about 14-15 seconds of full throttle reaching speeds of 310 km/193 mph. Sector three consists of low speed corners with a premium on aerodynamic grip and balance. 

The twilight race makes the competition a visual treat for viewers seeing the cars glisten under the lights after starting in the shining sun.  The track surface temperature however can drop after dark by nearly 15C/59F which will obviously change the grip of the tires and the balance of the car.  After the sun sets the speeds rise as with the cooler track and lighter fuel loads.  Needless to say getting the setup correct is imperative.

Of the previous releven races held here, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton have won eight of them (Vettel three & Hamilston five), taken seven pole positions and led 406 of the 605 laps (67.1%) between then. These numbers were even more emphatic until the last three years, when Valtteri Bottas won from pole position and led all but three laps in 2017 and Daniel Ricciardo held the lead for 25 laps in 2018.  Mercedes has won every race here since 2014

At one point last week it appeared as if Racing Point may lose control of the third spot in the Constructos Championship, then Mercedes had their mess ups and Perez climbed back from 18th for the win and now The Pink Mercedes hold a ten point edge on McLaren entering the final weekend. Renaul is in 5th 12 points off of McLaren. Ferrari will finish sixth followed by Alpha Tauri. 

Speed Points:

  • Mercedes has won every race here since 2014
  • Last week Racing Point became the 36th team to win a Grand Prix
  • Sergio Perez last week became the 110th man to win an F1 race
  • Only six times has the pole sitter won at Yas Marina, 2010 by Sebastian Vettel, 2015 by Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton in 2016,  Valtteri Bottas in 2017 and Hamilton the last two  years
  • Six of 11 races here have been won from the Pole, but each of the last five winners have started P1
  • The winner has come from the front row every year except for 2012 when Kimi Räikkönen was victorious from the fourth on the grid.
  • In 2015 Daniel Ricciardo climbed from 20th on the grid to finish in 4th.  The 16 spot gain was not the most in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as Sebastian Vettel made up 21 spots from 24th on the grid to third and a podium finish in 2012
  • Lewis Hamilton has scored the most points at Abu Dhabi with 212 points amassed
  • Ferrari has never raced at any Formula 1 venue as many times as Yas Marina (11) without taking either a win or a pole, and they’ve only ever led 11 laps in Abu Dhabi
  • Sergio Perez has scored points in seven consecutive Abu Dhabi Grands Prix
  • Mercedes has won each of the last six races in Abu Dhabi
  • Every driver to finish on the podium at Yas Marina has started from the front three rows except for one. That exception is Sebastian Vettel, who finished third in 2012, having started from the pitlane. He qualified in P3 but ran out of fuel on his in-lap. Unable to provide a fuel sample he was disqualified. Vettel’s 21-place gain is a record for the 21st Century and the most sizeable net gain since Christian Danner rose from 26th to fourth at the 1989 US Grand Prix.
  • Daniel Ricciardo has finished in the top-6 in 7 of the last 10 races.  
  • Daniel Ricciard has scored in 10 straight races
  • This is the second time since 1963 that the F1 season has run into December. In 1963, the 10-race season began at Monaco at the end of May and ended in South Africa at East London’s Prince George circuit on December 28th. The other instance was last season
  • Last week with Valtteri Bottas 8th and George Russell 9th, there was no Mercedes in the top 7 for the first time since Germany 2019.
  • Last week Max Verstappen went out on Lap 1 for the 5th time in his career and the 2nd time in 2020

Tires:

Pirelli is bringing the C3 will be the compound for the P Zero White hard, C4 will be the P Zero Yellow medium, and C5 will be the P Zero Red soft. This is the same nomination as last year for the evening race, which takes place a couple of weeks later than it did in 2019. The track surface is very smooth and about average in terms of severity. This makes the three softest tyres in the P Zero range suitable for the state-of-the-art Yas Marina circuit

Starting Tire Pressures: 23.0 psi (front) – 20.0 psi (rear)

EOS Camber Limit: -3.75° (front) | -2.00° (rear)

Abu Dhabi GP Quick Facts: 

Tire Allocations: C3 (White)  C4 (Yellow) and C5 (Red).

Location: Yas Marina Circuit, Permanent Circuit. 21 turns. (Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, UAE)

Lap Length:  5.554 km/3.451 mi

Race Length: 55 laps

Fastest Lap: 2019 Lewis Hamilton – 1:39.283 in a Mercedes

Qualifying Record: 2019 Lewis Hamilton – 1:34.779 in a Mercedes 

Most wins by Constructor:  Mercedes has won the last four and Mercedes has won six times. 

Most wins by a Driver: Lewis Hamilton has five wins and Sebatian Vettel has taken three wins on the circuit.

Winners of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

2019Lewis HamiltonMercedesYas Marina
2018Lewis HamiltonMercedesYas Marina
2017Valtteri BottasMercedesYas Marina
2016Lewis HamiltonMercedesYas Marina
2015Nico RosbergMercedesYas Marina
2014Lewis HamiltonMercedesYas Marina
2013Sebastian VettelRed Bull-RenaultYas Marina
2012Kimi RäikkönenLotus-RenaultYas Marina
2011Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-MercedesYas Marina
2010Sebastian VettelRed Bull-RenaultYas Marina
2009Sebastian VettelRed Bull-RenaultYas Marina