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Old 29 Nov 2019, 05:45 (Ref:3943565)   #1
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Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2019: Grand Prix Weekend Thread - Round 21 of 21

As the sun goes down at the Yas Marina Circuit, so it will set on the 2019 Formula 1 season, when the five red lights go out shortly before dusk. More or less the second half of the race is played out in darkness, with the floodlights illuminating the stage, as we see the cars and drivers do battle for the final time this year. This will be the eighth occasion in F1's eleven visits to Abu Dhabi that it hosts the final Grand Prix.

A purpose-built race circuit designed in conjunction with the surrounding buildings, including the symbolic Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi Hotel, whose diamond-shaped colour-changing LED panes show off the opulence of the emirates and which is built over the track, the Yas Marina circuit is characterised by its billiard table-like smooth surface and contemporary corner design with a few curious and tricky curves.

Drivers can carry quite a lot of speed into the wide Turn 1, but it has to be tempered because it is also quite an angle on the exit. They then vault up towards the apex of the left-hand Turn 2 on the brow of a slight hill before holding on flat through the long right-hand Turn 3. Turn 4 is really just a bit of a curve on the downhill straight. They can brake very late and carry a lot of speed into the left of the chicane at Turn 5 before being more circumspect on the exit at 6. The entry to Turn 7 is long and then comes the apex, so it’s easy to miss it, but whatever they do, drivers need to be carrying plenty of speed onto this straight, as it is by far the longest one on the track; it also has DRS.

After braking shortly after the 100-metre board, a quicker chicane follows before they enter the next straight and another DRS zone. They are now into Sector 2. There is another chicane, but this time it’s left, a tiny bit right and then immediately left again. The 90 left of Turn 14 follows, which takes the drivers into Sector 3. Turn 15 and Turn 16 are both right-handers and the braking for Turn 17 is tricky, as drivers are turning slightly and Turn 17 soon follows. It's quite a tight right and then the drivers go left under the hotel, before going left again as the track begins to open up. The final two corners are in a similar vein to Turns 15 and 16, but with the final corner being much more angled. Drivers carry a lot of speed through the penultimate turn but have to be careful to slow down enough for the final corner, which is a tricky angle to aim at following that braking zone.

In the first year, Brawn driver Jenson Button arrived in Abu Dhabi for the seventeenth and final race fresh off the back of his world championship, having sealed it last time out in Brazil. This was the final race for refuelling. After leading the early laps, Lewis Hamilton was jumped at the stops by Sebastian Vettel, in his first year with Red Bull. Hamilton went out with brake trouble, while the only other retirement was Jaime Alguersuari who retired after stopping in the Red Bull pit by mistake, instead of that of the junior team, Toro Rosso. Red Bull sent him out (it was the lap when Vettel was due in) and he went out of the race with a gearbox problem. Kamui Kobayashi finished sixth for Toyota, impressing the team and scoring points in only his second race; he looked set to stay at the team, but they were to withdraw at the end of the year (it was also BMW’s final race). He went to Sauber, which had got back their old team. Vettel held on for his fifth Grand Prix win and his fourth of the season. Team-mate Mark Webber fought off a hard challenge by the new World Champion on the final lap to hang on to the runner-up spot.

2010 was a championship decider with something few people apparently saw coming, this lack of foresight contributing to the result itself. Four drivers went into the race with a chance of winning the title, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso leading the championship battle on 246 points, with Mark Webber giving chase on 238, and more remote chances for Sebastian Vettel on 231 points and Lewis Hamilton on 222. It was the first year in which 25 points was awarded for a victory and the first time four drivers had entered the final Grand Prix with a chance of the world title.

On the opening lap, Michael Schumacher tried to pass Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg and spun, leading to a scary moment when Vitantonio Liuzzi put his car atop the Mercedes. Vettel led away from pole and ended up leading most of the race, apart from a period during the pit stops. Mark Webber struggled for grip on the super-soft tyres and pitted early. Ferrari followed suit for Alonso to cover the Red Bull driver, a catastrophic strategic decision as it turned out, which ultimately may have partly led to Aldo Costa’s demotion and perhaps even to his eventual departure from the team. Both drivers struggled to overtake and were well down the order, with Alonso’s race-long frustration behind Renault’s Vitaly Petrov a particularly obvious moment to pick as defining the outcome of the season.

Meanwhile, Vettel, blissfully unaware of being in the pound seats for the championship, romped home to victory. With some slight shades of James Hunt in 1976, he had no idea he was world champion on crossing the line and only learned of his success when told by his engineer. His high-pitched crying and subsequent euphoric scream over the radio remains a major memory of the 2010 Grand Prix season. It was also the first time since James Hunt in 1976 that a world champion’s first race as points leader was the one in which he took the title. Anyone who doubted it could have been Vettel should have looked no further back than 2007 when Raikkonen snuck up from behind to take away the championship that McLaren drivers Alonso and Hamilton were seen to have a hand on each. Nevertheless, it is unlikely that many people foresaw that being the first of four world championships on the trot for Vettel. ‘Trot’ doesn’t seem to cover it actually, as Sebastian ended up giving the impression that most of those hard-fought titles were won at a canter.

At the Yas Marina circuit the following year, Vettel again got into the first corner first, but a puncture led to his retirement and in a reversal of their 2009 fortunes, it was Lewis Hamilton who took the spoils. Alonso in the Ferrari and Button in the McLaren completed the podium.

2012 saw that season’s returnee Kimi Raikkonen return to the top step of the podium for the first time since 2009 in his new Lotus team. He controlled the race well since taking over the lead following Lewis Hamilton’s retirement and told the team and the world just how in control he was with his infamous words “Just leave me alone – I know what I’m doing” and when asked by the team to keep the heat in all four tyres under the safety car, replying “Yes, yes, yes, yes – I’m doing it all the time. You don’t have to remind me every ten seconds”. Kimi was quite big on words that day as both he and Vettel were warned by the stewards about swear words on the podium that day in the new-style more media-friendly podium ceremony. Kimi still had a more typical moment of nonchalance and understatement that day, though, with his placid response to being asked about his emotions regarding how it felt to be a winner again of "not much really".

In 2013, there was a partial solar eclipse that could be seen during the race, but Sebastian Vettel totally eclipsed the opposition, as he overtook Mark Webber into Turn 1 and led every lap of the race, winning by 30.8 seconds from his Red Bull team-mate.

2014 saw the first and probably last time that we will see double championship points offered in the last race. We also saw the super-soft and soft tyres being introduced, instead of the soft and the medium of the previous three seasons. Lewis Hamilton ended up taking his second world title and the win, with Felipe Massa just 2.5 seconds behind at the chequered flag. Valtteri Bottas’s third meant that Williams got their first double podium since Nick Heidfeld and Mark Webber finished 2nd and 3rd at Monaco in 2005.

The next year, Nico Rosberg completed an end-of-season hat-trick to win ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton, while Kimi Raikkonen completed the podium. This run of three wins for Nico extended into a run of seven, as he also took the first four victories of 2016, setting himself up for his world championship.

In the end, Nico took his only F1 world title, finishing second after what he described as a race which was "so intense, so, so, so horribly intense" and a "horrible feeling" defending. Lewis Hamilton won the race and tried to back Rosberg up into the pack, but Rosberg stayed resolute and held second over Daniel Ricciardo.

In 2017, Valtteri Bottas won from world champ team-mate Hamilton. This year, the Finn hasn't taken a single victory, denied on a few unfortunate occasions.

Last year, Lewis Hamilton won from Vettel and Max Verstappen. Nico Hülkenberg, entering possibly his final Grand Prix this weekend, was tipped into a roll on the opening lap. Fernando Alonso also made his last Grand Prix start.

The change of ambient temperature here as the race goes on can have its effect on performance. It can also be a little difficult to to avoid wheelspin out of some of the slow corners. The tyres heat up quite a lot in the first sector before then cooling down a bit on the long straight. It is expected to be a two-stop race for most drivers.

Circuit length: 5.554km
Number of laps: 55
Race distance: 305.355km
Dry weather tyre compounds: C3, C4 & C5
Race Lap Record: 1:40.279 – Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull-Renault (2009)
First Grand Prix: 2009



To join in our predictions contest and Fantasy F1 contest, go here: https://tentenths.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=70

Constructors’ championship standings: https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2019/team.html

Drivers' championship standings: https://www.formula1.com/en/results....9/drivers.html

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix tyre choices:
https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/a...PMgtXkVrx.html
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Old 29 Nov 2019, 09:37 (Ref:3943590)   #2
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Mike Harte has a real shot at the podium!Mike Harte has a real shot at the podium!Mike Harte has a real shot at the podium!Mike Harte has a real shot at the podium!
BR, as the sun sets on your 2019 GP intros, may I take this opportunity to thank you for all the time and effort that you put in virtually every other week to provide these works of art.

Have a good rest over the festive season;the Melborne GP is only just around the corner!
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Old 29 Nov 2019, 09:49 (Ref:3943594)   #3
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wolfhound should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridwolfhound should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridwolfhound should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
Tyhanks for the great intro as you have done many times before.


I see where Bottas is to get a new motor and will be starting from the back. I wonder how much progress he can make with an engine that only has to last one race so how much will he be able to turn up the wick. If it was Hamilton I would not have ruled him out of a podium.


https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/14...new-power-unit
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Old 29 Nov 2019, 10:29 (Ref:3943612)   #4
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S griffin is going for a new lap record!S griffin is going for a new lap record!S griffin is going for a new lap record!S griffin is going for a new lap record!S griffin is going for a new lap record!S griffin is going for a new lap record!
Listening to FP1 on the radio and just heard Vettel's in the wall
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Old 29 Nov 2019, 12:40 (Ref:3943638)   #5
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I’d like to echo above comments, BR. Your intros are much appreciated, and often more interesting than the forthcoming race.....
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Old 29 Nov 2019, 15:06 (Ref:3943684)   #6
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E.B should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridE.B should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridE.B should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridE.B should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
Indeed BR many thanks for the season's previews and it is much appreciated, and clearly by not only me.
As Mike said often the best part of the race weekend can be read here.
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Old 29 Nov 2019, 16:05 (Ref:3943701)   #7
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Great intro as ever.

Not my favourite race of the season and personally, I wouldn't mind if the season were over. I think 19 races would be just about right.
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Old 29 Nov 2019, 18:09 (Ref:3943722)   #8
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Lancsbreaker should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridLancsbreaker should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridLancsbreaker should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
As others, thanks BR - huge amount of effort must go into these previews.


A mate of mine goes out for the GP every year (his daughter works out there so he has an excuse) and I'm not remotely jealous

After FP1 and 2 Merc are in the top places, followed by Leclerc and Vettal then the Red Bulls.......but Bottas will be starting at the rear of the grid following a power unit swap. Roll on FP3 and Qualy

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Old 29 Nov 2019, 19:21 (Ref:3943730)   #9
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excellent intro!

partial eclipse in 2013! did not know that.

great memories of LH trying to force his team mate into a mistake in 2016 but Nico was able to maintain...that was a great closer!
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Old 29 Nov 2019, 22:09 (Ref:3943768)   #10
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Born Racer (or should that be Born Writer) you have excelled yet again - as others have said, the dedication you put into the intros is greatly appreciated by all of us. I'm actually amazed that you were able to write so much about Abu Dhabi, given that it hasn't been there all that long.
Great work!
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Old 29 Nov 2019, 22:39 (Ref:3943773)   #11
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So Grosjean/Bottas collision, what happened there?
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Old 29 Nov 2019, 23:31 (Ref:3943776)   #12
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So Grosjean/Bottas collision, what happened there?
Looked like Bottas was beyond even race optimistic. That was a crazy move at the best of times and the race coverage guys said why didn't Grosjean leave space, you always leave space. WTF is that, always miss the apex because you're slow? Your bias for all things Mercedes is showing guys. Bottas should have to foot the bill for all the Haas repairs making as move like that in practice
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Old 30 Nov 2019, 12:52 (Ref:3943839)   #13
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Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2019: Grand Prix Weekend Thread - Round 21 of 21

Bottas got a reprimand for that, so it seems the stewards agree with you
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Old 30 Nov 2019, 16:29 (Ref:3943858)   #14
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Hamilton takes Pole, followed by Verstappen, Leclerc, Vettel and Albon. Norris is 6th, Ricciardo 7th, Sainz 8th, with Hulkenberg and Perez making up the top 10 places.
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Old 30 Nov 2019, 19:05 (Ref:3943878)   #15
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And the red cars still seem to be having a few problems
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