Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Preview

track

Yas Marina is a relatively new Grand Prix, with it’s first race being held just four years ago in 2009. It’s the only day/night race on the calendar, with the race starting at 17:00pm local time – it starts in the dusk and ends under the floodlights. Abu Dhabi has been one of my favourite Grands Prix for several years, due to its track layout and setting, plus I have it mastered on F12012 ;).

The circuit has multiple long straights, as well as 21 high and low speed corners. Drivers will circulate the track 55 times which equates to just over 189 miles. A single lap’s length is 3.45 miles, with the lap record being a 1:40:279, which was set by none other than Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel in fact is the only multiple winner here, and his recent form suggests he may be the one to beat going into the weekend. Lewis Hamilton also runs well here, the Briton won the race in 2011, and attained pole position in 2012 but reliability let him down in the race, as well as in 2009 where he possibly would have won. Kimi Raikkonen however, capitalised on Hamilton’s problems and went on to win the 2012 race despite threat from Fernando Alonso. Let’s not forget his comical radio messages either, like “Leave me alone I know what I’m doing”.

Last year’s race was quite dramatic, with two safety cars featuring after one spectacular crash between Narain Kathikeyan and Nico Rosberg, and another incident between Sergio Perez, Romain Grosjean and Mark Webber. Strategy wise, the one stop was the quicker choice, but with this year’s highly degradable tyres, two stops is much more likely. Pirelli have brought the soft and the medium compound tyres, much like what was seen in India, so the race might pan out in a similar way to last weekend.

GP2 and GP3 return for their final rounds this weekend, with both championships up for grabs. Fabio Leimer and Sam Bird are the duo in contention for the GP2 title, whilst Facu Regalia and next year’s Toro Rosso driver, Daniil Kvyat are the ones fighting it out for the GP3 crown. The whole weekend is live on the Sky F1 channel, whilst it’s only the highlights on BBC.

Friday:
GP2 Practice – 06:15am
GP3 Practice – 07:15am
F1 Practice 1 – 08:45am
F1 Practice 2 – 12:45am
GP2 Qualifying – 2:50pm

Saturday:
GP3 Qualifying – 06:00am
GP2 Feature Race – 08:05am
F1 Practice 3 – 09:45am
F1 Qualifying – 12:00pm
GP3 Race 1 – 2:30pm

Sunday :
GP3 Race 2 -07:55am
GP2 Sprint Race – 09:10am
F1 Race – 12:00pm

Do you have any pre-race predictions?

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