FORMULA ONE: Look ahead to this Sunday’s Abu Dhabi GP which brings the curtain down on the Formula One Season and will see one of two drivers crowned the 2021 World Champion

This weekend sees the highly anticipated conclusion of the 2021 F1 Season, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton heading into the decider level on points after one of the most remarkable seasons in recent memory.

As it stands, Verstappen comes into the year’s final GP in Abu Dhabi in first position in the Drivers’ Championship due to his nine race wins this season outscoring that of Hamilton’s eight. That said, Hamilton has won the last three; Brazil, Qatar and most recently Saudi Arabia, so he is without doubt the form driver. Max has been forced to play second fiddle throughout that hat-trick of victories for his British rival, but the Dutchman will be buoyed by the fact that neither title protagonist has won four races in a row this season.

Abu Dhabi GP Through The Years

Red Bull and Verstappen will take confidence from last year’s win at the Yas Marina Circuit, and what’s more, will be mindful of the importance of qualifying. In 2020, Max and Lewis were separated at the top of qualifying by Lewis’ teammate Valtteri Bottas, and that is how the 1-2-3 in the race itself finished. Verstappen led his challengers for every single lap of the 55-lap contest.

Historically, this has been a very happy stomping ground for Hamilton. He has enjoyed podium finishes in each of his last seven appearances at Abu Dhabi, winning four, including the two preceding Max’s 2020 win.

However, due to criticisms from several quarters, track alterations have been made for the 2021 renewal to allow for more overtaking, so previous notes and results may need to be cast aside.

Who Will Start On Pole?

Despite sitting at the summit of the Driver’s Championship standings since the Russian GP back in September, Max Verstappen has only began once of the last seven races in pole position. In comparison, Hamilton has been front of the grid on two occasions during that same time, with back-to-back starts on pole coming in the most recent pair of races. Interestingly, it’s Bottas who has the best record of the trio over the last seven races, starting on pole in three.

More importantly however, the Fin has out-qualified Verstappen in five of those seven races. He will no doubt play a major part throughout this final weekend.

Final Verdict

Considering his car has looked very impressive with the new engine which was first installed in Brazil and then re-integrated for Saudi Arabia, an engine that has now delivered two wins from two, it’s hard to look past Lewis Hamilton securing a record-breaking eighth World Championship on Sunday afternoon. Hamilton can also turn to Bottas to back up Verstappen if needs be, and so barring a revival of fortunes for Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez, Max will be alone in this fight.

Every winner of the previous six Abu Dhabi GPs has qualified in pole position, so we’re expecting another flawless weekend from Mercedes, who in doing so will also collect the lucrative Constructors’ Championship title.

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