The 2021 Formula 1 World Championship season will end on Sunday with the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which is the 22nd race of the campaign, which has had some historic moments of racing, and ugly situations as well.

Ferrari clear of McLaren?
2021 Abu Dhabi GP Facts & Figures
Yas Marina Track info
2021 Abu Dhabi F1 GP - Tyres
2021 Abu Dhabi F1 GP - Weather Forecast
2021 Abu Dhabi F1 GP podium

It has been controversial overall, and Max Verstappen (Red Bull) and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) will decide the winner of the 2021 World Drivers’ Championship in the final event.

Verstappen leads the World Championship with his nine wins and has 369.5 points over Hamilton’s eight wins, and exactly the same tally of points. In the WCC, Mercedes now has 587.5 points, while Red Bull Racing suffered due to Sergio Pérez unfortunate retirement and now has 559.5 points.

The World Drivers’ Championship heads to the final race of a F1 season tied for only the second time in the sport’s history, after Emerson Fittipaldi (McLaren) and Clay Regazzoni (Ferrari) did the same in 1974, before the US Grand Prix settled the Brazilian as the champion, his second title and McLaren’s first WDC.

The final race will, of course, be intriguing in terms of the pecking order, as the track layout at the Yas Marina Circuit has been altered with key changes in two sections, and the circuit is now faster. Mercedes dominated at Abu Dhabi from 2014 to 2019, while Red Bull won last year with Verstappen. Of course, it all was in the old layout and there could be an engine change for the Dutchman’s car before the race, as Helmut Marko suggested before the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Definitely, it could be one for the ages if the racing is clean, and will be thrilling if it’s decided on track. Whoever finishes ahead of the other championship contender will take the title, unless it is Hamilton who finishes ninth and Verstappen finishes 10th with Fastest Lap. Such a crazy result would mean they’ll remain tied on points, but the Dutchman would win the title due to his advantage in race wins.

Ferrari clear of McLaren?

In other areas of the standings, there are some fights to be solved between constructors and drivers. The Scuderia Ferrari (Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz) remains comfortably in third place in the 2021 World Constructors’ Championship after yet another race with both cars on the points (for the sixth consecutive time).

Ferrari now leads McLaren (Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo) by 38.5 points in the WCC. The Woking-based team scored more points than Ferrari at Saudi Arabia, but the score was only 11-10, as Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth with good pace and Lando Norris was 10th.

Alpine (with Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon) remains strong in P5 in the WCC, despite losing a podium position right at the finish line, as Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) passed Ocon at the line.

AlphaTauri (Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda) is now 29 points behind Alpine. While Gasly finished sixth and reached 100 points in the year, Tsunoda had a rocky race and finished out of the points.

Aston Martin (Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll) scored points with its two drivers in Qatar but could not repeat the same feat at the last race. AM has 77 points and is still comfortably ahead of the three teams at the bottom.

Williams (George Russell and Nicholas Latifi) now has six consecutive races without points. The team sits eighth in the WCC with 23 points. The upcoming event will be the last for Williams with the current driver lineup, as George Russell is ready to join Mercedes for next season.

Alfa Romeo (Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi) is ninth with 13 points after Giovinazzi scored a couple of points in the last race, while Haas (Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin) close out the Constructors’ standings without points and could not finish the last race with any of their cars.

2021 Abu Dhabi GP Facts & Figures

The 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be the 13th race at the place since 2009.

Mercedes has won six of the last seven editions of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, while Red Bull won in 2020 and had won in 2009, 2010 and 2013 before that.

2021 Abu Dhabi GP Facts & Figures

Sebastian Vettel won the first two Abu Dhabi Grands Prix back in 2009 for Red Bull. In the following season, Vettel and Red Bull won again at Abu Dhabi, which sealed Vettel’s first World Drivers’ Championship.

Hamilton won in 2011 for McLaren-Mercedes, while Kimi Raikkonen took a famous victory in the 2012 edition (his first in three years). Vettel and Red Bull dominated in 2013 before Hamilton sealed his second championship with a dominant win in 2014.

Nico Rosberg won in 2015 for Mercedes, and then he sealed his only championship with second place in 2016 (behind Hamilton). Bottas took the 2017 edition for Mercedes, while Hamilton controlled the 2018 and 2019 events from Pole Position.

Hamilton is the most successful driver at Abu Dhabi, with five wins. On the other hand, Mercedes’ six victories are the most for any team at Abu Dhabi. Vettel follows Hamilton with three victories at the venue, while Red Bull is second among teams with four triumphs.

The 'New' Yas Marina Track info

The original layout of the Yas Marina Circuit at Abu Dhabi was designed by Hermann Tilke. Now, the track has seen changes to its layout, including changing the Turn 5, 6, and 7 section and turning into just one corner. Also, the old section between turns 11 and 14 was also converted into a faster corner.

Yas Marina Circuit info

The track was previously a 5.554-km circuit with 21 corners, but is now 5.281-km long and has 16 corners. The track will definitely be faster and could be more exciting in terms of racing and overtake opportunities.

The track has one of the most spectacular pit exits in Formula 1, as the pit exit street cross under the track through a tunnel.

The lap records at the old layout of the Yas Marina Circuit are held by Lewis Hamilton. He recorded a 1:39.283 min lap in last year’s race and a 1:34.779 during qualifying, which will logically be beaten in the upcoming weekend.

Some have suggested that the track will be over 10 seconds faster in the new layout, and it could be a big difference from previous years.

2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Tyres

The dry tyres for the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be the C3 as P Zero White hard, C4 as P Zero Yellow Medium, and C5 as P Zero Red soft.

2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Tyres

Pirelli tyres in the paddock (Photo by Zak Mauger / LAT Images)

Pirelli explained their choice to go with the softest option (a step softer than last week) with a statement in a press release: “The changes to the track, which have been designed to provide more overtaking opportunities, will increase speeds and loads through some corners. However, as the circuit will still be smooth, with average stress on the tyres in terms of wear and degradation, the three softest compounds in the P Zero range remain a suitable choice.

Several changes have been introduced to the circuit layout, which was previously unaltered since its debut in 2009. Early in the lap, the chicane that formed Turns 5 and 6 will be bypassed with a straight.

The following hairpin has been brought forward and widened, increasing the speed carried onto the subsequent straight. A long and slightly banked turn has been created to replace the technical complex of corners (Turns 11-14) that existed previously. Near the end of the lap, the four tight corners that route the track around the Yas Marina hotel (Turns 17-20) have all been opened up and made faster.

These changes have shortened the circuit by 273 metres, which means the race distance has been increased from 55 to 58 laps and lap times will fall by an estimated 14 seconds.

As usual, the race will begin just before sunset and run into darkness, with track temperatures falling quite quickly: in turn affecting tyre behaviour. FP2 and qualifying are the only two relevant sessions, with the other two free practices run in the heat of the day.

Last year’s winning strategy, with the same tyre nomination, was a medium to hard one-stopper: the same tactic used by all the top three. Only three drivers stopped more than once, and it was the sixth consecutive time that the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix had been won from pole.”

The minimum starting pressures for the tyres will be 21.5 PSI (front) and 20.0 PSI (rear).

All info you want to see before the 2021 Abu Dhabi F1 GP starts

2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Weather Forecast

Friday, Dec 10th - FP1 & FP2
Conditions: Partly cloudy
Max. temperature: 28°C
Chance of rain: 0%

2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Weather ForecastSaturday, Dec 11th - FP3 & Qualifying
Conditions: Patchy clouds
Max. temperature: 27°C
Chance of rain: 1%

Sunday, Dec 12th - Race
Conditions: Patchy clouds
Max. temperature: 27°C
Chance of rain: 0%

Who will be on the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix podium?

Lewis Hamilton has taken three wins in a row for the first time since 2020 and now the seven-time champion and Max Verstappen are tied on points going to the finale at Abu Dhabi. Verstappen leads due to his nine wins against Hamilton’s eight.

All info you want to see before the 2021 Abu Dhabi F1 GP starts

Race winner Max Verstappen and third placed Lewis Hamilton celebrate on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit in 2020 (Photo by Kamran Jebreili - Pool/Getty Images)

Who will have the upper hand at Abu Dhabi in terms of performance? Of course, both teams will work effortlessly to try and have an advantage at the new Yas Marina Circuit layout. It seems to be a power-hungry track now, but the third sector remains a bit twisty and 16 corners still demand lots of downforce.

If something seems a bit certain, is that no other team has challenged Red Bull and Mercedes at the top in the last few races, and if that happens again at Abu Dhabi, four cars (two Red Bulls and two Mercs) will be the Top 4 and will settle a year-long championship battle.

Nothing is completely certain heading into the final race of the year. But what such a tight fight needs to be completed is a clean end.

Once again, here we go with my favourite note of the race preview for the third straight time, as the title battle is getting to an incredibly tense finale.

The prediction for the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is, once again, reserved and could be an answer to give after Friday’s Free Practice sessions or even right after the start of the event (even then, it might be too soon to tell).

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One F1 fan comment on “All info you want to see before the 2021 Abu Dhabi F1 GP starts

  1. Jere Jyrälä

    Lap flow has definitely improved, but racing quality/overtaking is another matter, which we'll find out later.
    BTW, the outright & official records are from 2019, not last season.


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