Prixview – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Features Prixview

Round twenty-one and final race of the season sees the sunset on 2019 at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The race celebrates its tenth anniversary around Yas Island, which was winds its way around the marina, built as part of a billion-pound development to create an multi-purpose leisure, shopping and entertainment centre.

The circuit is one which has a mixture of flowing corners and straights, however, the circuit isn’t one where overtaking is easy. Also, some of the corners are not easy to attempt overtakes, mainly ninety-degree corners and chicanes. Yas Marina requires high downforce as well as straight-line speed.

Yas Marina’s first sector is one which fast flowing corners after the first corner, flowed by a huge breaking point for the five-six chicane. Following the hairpin, drivers head onto the long 1.2km back straight which can create drag before the chicane at the end of the straight.

After a short straight the circuit enters a street style section as it rounds the harbour and goes under the iconic Yas Hotel. The hotel provides one of the iconic images of the circuit especially the LED lighting system that illuminates all 5,389 glass elements individually, with a system that changes the colour and brightness of each glass pane 20 times per second.

The circuit made its debut in 2009, where Sebastian Vettel took the victory. But the most memorable race in Abu Dhabi was the following year, Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton all headed to the race to decide the championship. Back to back wins in the desert saw Vettel become the sports youngest champion.

Vettel had already wrapped up the title the following season, however, it was a disaster for the world champion. He was forced to retire from the race with a puncher on the opening lap which stopped him equalling Michael Schumacher’s record of thirteen wins in one season, but Vettel did beat Nigel Mansell’s 1992 then record of fourteen pole positions in one season.

But Vettel’s third place in 2012 to beat Alonso was remarkable, the Red Bull driver had been excluded from qualifying and worked his way up to third to secure his third world title. That race saw Kimi Raikkonen’s first win for Lotus and his first since returning to F1.

Vettel had already wrapped up his title in 2013, and on the opening lap, he overtook teammate Mark Webber before holding him up to take the victory.

The following season saw a title decider between Mercedes Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Over the course of the first half of the race, the Englishman built a 7.1-second lead, and went on to seal his second world title as Rosberg dropped out the points. The following season, Hamilton had already wrapped up his third title, but Rosberg took a victory, arguably the start of his 2016 challenge.

The following year, Hamilton went into a title decider for the first time since 2012 on the backfoot. Rosberg went into the race with a twelve-point lead, he finished second despite the Englishman’s attempts to push his teammate into Vettel’s grips he failed to allow Rosberg to seal his title.

The following year Rosberg had retired, but victory went to Hamilton’s new teammate Valtteri Bottas who won from the four-time champion. While Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo retired due to mechanical failure, which was significant in facilitating fourth place for Kimi Räikkönen in the Driver’s Championship.

Hamilton took victory last year, ahead of  Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen. The opening featured a dramatic collision between Romain Grosjean and Nico Hulkenberg, the German barrel rolling into the barriers.

Facts and figures

Round 21 of 21
Race Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2019
Venue Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi
Circuit Length 5.554 km (3.451 mi)
Laps 55
Race Distance 305.470 km (189.810 mi)
Lap Record 1:40.279 (Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing, 2009)
Most wins drivers Sebastian Vettel

Lewis Hamilton (3)

Most wins manufacture Mercedes (4)

Fast facts

  • Ferrari World Abu Dhabi has the fastest roller coaster in the world. It is situated at the hairpin. Ferrari World is also the largest indoor theme park in the world.
  • Including built-up urban areas surrounding the city core, Abu Dhabi has a land area of 310 square miles (803 square kilometres) which served as home to an estimated 1.7 million inhabitants in 2015.
  • The drivers are on full power for 69% of a lap at Yas Marina, including over 14 seconds on the back straight (the longest straight inF1). Drivers make an average of 68 gear changes per lap or 3740 gear changes over the full 55-lap race distance.
  • Red Bull have never failed to get both of their cars through to the final part of qualifying on all of their appearances at the Yas Marina Circuit
  • Yas Marina Circuit is the largest permanent sports venue lighting project in the world; previously that title was held by Losail in Qatar.

Event timetable

Session

Local

GMT

Friday

P1 13:00-14:30 09:00-10:30
P2 17:00-18:30 13:00-14:30

Saturday

P3 14:00-15:00 10:00-11:00
Qualifying 17:00-18:00 13:00-14:00

Sunday

Race 17:10 13:10

What happened in 2018?

Lewis Hamilton again took pole in Abu Dhabi beating Bottas by a tenth. Mercedes like at Interlagos were very strong in the middle sector, Ferrari, however, remained close, Sebastian Vettel went third fastest. However, the German admitted that an error may have cost him second.

Kimi Raikkonen retained fourth in his final outing for Ferrari, the Finn came under pressure from the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo. The Australian was three-hundredths off the Finn, as they enter their final races for Red Bull and Ferrari, respectively.

Hamilton repeated what he managed to do at Monza, he pulled away at the front of the field followed by Valtteri Bottas. The Finn was unable to challenge his teammate from the midway point in the race as he began to struggle with tyre life.

The race started dramatically, as Nico Hulkenberg flipped his Renault over after contact with Romain Grosjean. The Renault went side by side with the Haas, the two banged wheels causing him to flip over.

Ricciardo went long into the race, while others stopped he stayed out inheriting the lead of the race until lap thirty-four. He rejoined fourth behind his teammate, he was unable to pass Max Verstappen. The Dutchman went chasing after Vettel, however, an engine failure for Pierre Gasly prevented him from getting past the Ferrari, as he opened up the gap.

Raikkonen’s final race for Ferrari saw the Finn retire from the race with a failure. The Finn retired early on with a mechanical shutdown pulling off to the side of the start-finish straight. While Fernando Alonso’s final race saw him battle with Kevin Magnussen, he ran wide a turn six / seven chicane, and gained an advantage, and was awarded a five-second penalty.

Alonso finished the race eleventh fastest ahead of the Toro Rosso of Brendon Hartley.

Charles Leclerc finished his final race for Sauber seventh, the best result of his first season. The Monacan held off the pressure placed on him from the Force India of Sergio Perez.

Hamilton took the win from Vettel, but the moment of celebration was yet to come, as they were joined by Alonso after the race for doughnuts.

Race Result – 1) L. Hamilton, Mercedes, 01:39:40.382, 2) S. Vettel, Ferrari, +2.581, 3) M. Verstappen, Red Bull – Tag Heuer, +12.706

What to watch for?

Abu Dhabi is the final race of the season; this normally gives the teams more freedom when it comes to settings on the cars. However, they will need to be cautious as the mileage is high on all the engines, gearboxes etc, this could become a factor during the race.

Mercedes has dominated this race since 2014, the team I believe faces a bigger challenge because Ferrari appear stronger in the straights. The team needs to be strong in the third sector, I think lends itself towards Red Bull. This could be all in all a close fight, but its too early to say for certain who will be ahead.

The championship is unlikely to change the battle for fifth looks to be the only one, Renault lead Toro Rosso by eight points this is important for the teams in terms of money for 2020-21. So that’s going to be the thing to watch. Drivers will want to be racing hard, this could be an exciting race as they will look to go into the winter on a high.

2017 vs 2018 Race Data

P1 Fastest

P2 Fastest

P3 Fastest

Q1 Fastest

Q2 Fastest

Q3 Fastest

Race Time

Fastest Lap

2018

01:38.491 01:37.236 01:37.176 01:36.775 01:35.693 01:34.794 01:39:40.382 01:40.867

Diff

-0.515 +0.359 -0.451 +0.581 -1.049 -1.437 -04:26.320 -0.217

2017

01:39.006 01:36.877 01:37.627 01:37.356 01:36.742 01:36.231 01:34:14.062 01:40.650

A lap of Yas Marina

Valtteri Bottas come out of the final corner goes to the outside as the crosses the start line, gets up to eighth gear before breaking about 100m before Turn One. Crosses the track gets close to the apex of the corner, runs to the outside. He builds speed as he enters Two stays around the 274kph through Three and four.

Big stop as he enters the chicane at five and six. Good entry and exit runs close to the inside before crossing the track to the outside on the way into the hairpin. Runs around the apex, and straight across the track to the outside. Builds speed in eighth gear opening the DRS on this long run to eight. He breaks about 125m before eight hits the apex as he does at nine. Goes to the inside opening up the car through the kink at ten, breaks into eleven.

Takes the corner at 98kph in third gear, then through twelve and thirteen. Through the ninety degree fourteen runs to the outside then build the speed as he goes through fifteen and sixteen before a huge breaking point for seventeen. Good through the ninety-degree corner, as he does the same for eighteen and nineteen then to the outside before back to the inside for twenty. Good through twenty-one going to the outside and across the line with a 01:36.231

Tyres

Driver

Team

White Hard (C3)

Yellow Medium (C4)

Red Soft (C5)

L. Hamilton

Mercedes 2 3 8
V. Bottas 1 4

8

S. Vettel

Ferrari 1 4 8
C. Leclerc 2 3

8

M. Verstappen

Red Bull – Honda 1 3 9
A. Albon 1 3

9

D. Riccardo

Renault 1 4 8
N. Hulkenberg 2 3

8

K. Magnussen

Haas – Ferrari 1 4 8
R. Grosjean 2 3

8

C. Sainz Jr

McLaren – Renault 1 4 8
L. Norris 2 3

8

S. Perez

Racing Point – Mercedes 2 3 8
L. Stroll 2 3

8

K. Raikkonen

Alfa Romeo – Ferrari 1 4 8
A. Giovinazzi 2 3

8

D. Kvyat

Toro Rosso –Honda 1 3 9
P. Gasly 2 2

9

G. Russell

Williams –Mercedes 2 2

9

R. Kubica 1 3

9

Jack

Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.