How much do you know about the F1 season finale?

How much do you know about the F1 season finale?

GOT TO GET THROUGH THIS

For the 10th time since it made its debut on the calendar in 2009, the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi will provide the glitzy, modern venue for the final round of the Formula 1 season. This year, it’s set to be a final-round decider for the drivers’ championship, too. When Formula 1 first arrived in the United Arab Emirates in 2009, Jenson Button had already clinched that year’s title, but one year later in 2010 the race in Abu Dhabi did decide the championship. In fact, it was the only time in Formula 1 history that four drivers have gone into the final race with the chance to be crowned champion.

Ahead of the race, Fernando Alonso led the championship for Ferrari, with Red Bull’s Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel eight and 15 points behind respectively, while McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton was still in mathematical contention too. Vettel claimed pole position and led from the start over Hamilton and Button, putting the pressure on Alonso and Webber. Webber responded by pitting early, with Alonso then covering him off to ensure he stayed ahead. But both found themselves stuck behind the Renault of Vitaly Petrov, who had pitted even earlier under a safety car. Try as he might, Alonso couldn’t find a way past the Russian and finished the race in seventh place, as Vettel won to become the youngest ever world champion: a record he still holds today.

THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL

Over the next few seasons, Abu Dhabi preceded Brazil as well as the United States in the calendar. But it returned to host the finale in 2014, and has held that position every year since. The 2014 race was unique in that it offered double points – with 50 going to the winner. Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg went into it separated by the relatively small sum of 17 points, meaning Hamilton had to finish in the top two to guarantee the championship. As it was, he controlled the race from the front to win his second title.

Two years later, the pair returned to Abu Dhabi with another championship at stake. This time, Rosberg led coming in and knew a podium would be enough to clinch his first championship. Despite race leader Hamilton’s efforts to back him into the pack, Rosberg duly finished in second place. The true drama came a few days later when Rosberg announced his shock retirement from racing.

WHERE THE STARS SHINE

For the fourth time in just over a decade, Hamilton heads to Abu Dhabi for a final-race championship decider. This time against a new challenger – Max Verstappen – after a titanic battle between the Mercedes man and his rival from Red Bull all season long. The Yas Marina circuit will decide the outcome, but not quite as we know it.

The 2021 race will be the debut for a number of circuit modifications designed to improve overtaking opportunities. Most notable among these is the creation of one long banked bend in place of Turns 11 to 14. The chicane formerly known as Turns 5 and 6 has also been removed, while Turns 17 to 20 around the iconic hotel have been reprofiled to make them faster and more flowing.

On the old layout, Hamilton has more F1 wins than anybody else, with five. But Verstappen has triumphed in Abu Dhabi more recently, taking his first victory there one year ago. Since then the form guide has fluctuated frequently. Only one thing is certain: the championship will come to its breath-taking conclusion under the lights in Abu Dhabi.

Read more