2014: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Preview – the final showdown

After 19 races it has come down to Lewis Hamilton versus Nico Rosberg for the 2014 Formula One World Championship. Mercedes have been a dominant force all year winning all but three races and wrapping up the constructors championship in Russia. Hamilton has a 17 point lead but with double points in play, it’s not over yet. While Hamilton has won ten races in 2o14 to Rosberg’s five, Rosberg has been the superior of the two in qualifying.

This will be the sixth holding of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, having made its debut in 2009. It has been won three times by Sebastian Vettel, once by Hamilton and once by Kimi Raikkonen. The grid will be slightly bigger than it was last time out in Brazil with Caterham returning to the grid following a successful crowd-funding initiative. Marussia had hoped to be joining them but will miss the race. Kamui Kobayashi will be driving for Caterham but his team-mate is currently unknown, with reports it could be Roberto Mehri or Max Chilton. Andre Lotterer, who made a one race appearance for Caterham at the Belgium Grand Prix, reportedly turned down the opportunity to race at this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Abu Dhabi GP Stats

Circuit: Yas Marina Circuit
Number of Laps: 55
Circuit Length: 5.554km
Number of Corners: 21
Lap Record: 1:40.279 Sebastian Vettel 2009
Previous Abu Dhabi winners still on the grid: 3
Most Successful Team: Red Bull (3 wins)
DRS Zones: 2
Pirelli Tyres: Soft and Supersoft

The race in Abu Dhabi is unique as it is the only race to run from day to night. It also features a mix 0f fast corners and long straights, with a twisty technical section. It can be a hard circuit to overtake at, as Fernando Alonso discovered in 2010 when he failed to pass Vitaly Petrov and lost out on the championship to Vettel who won the race. The race has only been won from pole position once, however, with three being won from second and once from fourth. Raikkonen won the race from fourth in 2012 at the end of his return season with Lotus.

For some drivers, the race will be significant for more than just being the last race of the season. For Vettel it will be the last race with Red Bull – the team with whom he won his four world championships. It is almost certain that Alonso will make way for Vettel at Ferrari although this has not been confirmed yet. Alonso is in turn expected to be announced as a McLaren driver for 2015, but the team revealed yesterday that there would be no announcement before the first of December. As a consequence of this, this could be Button’s final race in Formula One, with seats at other teams being filled up. Esteban Gutierrez and Adrian Sutil both do not have a seat for next year while Jean-Eric Vergne is still waiting to hear whether or not he will be retained by Toro Rosso next year. Sergio Perez is also expected to be confirmed as a Force India driver for a second year in due course.

Hamilton is going for his second world championship while Rosberg is hoping to secure his first. If Rosberg wins the race then he needs Hamilton to finish no higher than third. If Rosberg finishes second then Hamilton must finish fifth to win the title. If Rosberg finishes anywhere outside the top six then the title belongs to Hamilton.

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