Clip The Apex
So the F1 roadshow rolls into Abu Dhabi for its end of year party at the Yas Marina circuit. Unlike last year this Grand Prix will not be worth double points and unlike last year this race will not decide the championship. In fact with the top 3 places decided in the Drivers Championship and the top 5 places concluded in the Constructors Championship we are pretty much deciding nothing. It's like that last day at Primary school before the summer holidays where you’re allowed to bring games in, you've got to turn up but you don’t really have to do much. Having said that some of those school days were mighty fun and Yas Marina is not that bad a circuit which might lead to a bit of end of year fun.
No doubt the most talked about thing all weekend will be Nico Rosberg's sudden sell of form right when it doesn't matter. Lewis looked none too chuffed on the podium in Brazil and I think will be keen to put a stop to that before the year ends. He is in luck as Yas Marina has always been a place he’s excelled at pace wise so I would expect him to have the upper hand. Sebastian Vettel has always been great round here too and, in his current form and the track suiting Ferrari more, I would expect him to very much keep the Mercs honest.
The nature of the track will also lend itself well to the ever re-emerging Red Bull car, which is great news for Danny Ricciardo who trails his team-mate by 10 points in the championship. Ricciardo is famed for his smile but, after losing his title of ‘everyone's second favourite driver’ to Max Verstappen, his smile must surely be drooping slightly at the prospect of being beaten to being the top driver in his own team. Kvyat has to be praised for surviving, he started the season with critics suggesting that he’d lose his seat to Verstappen next year and some people (many on this site) saying he wasn’t really good enough for the Red Bull seat anyway. If he completes his end of season form by making sure he beats his highly rated team mate in the championship then he really couldn't have done much more to prove them wrong.
Speaking of battles, the only close race in the championship worth talking about is between the two Finns of Kimi and Valteri. Lets face it Kimi should be well clear but his awful form this year has left him trailing the Williams driver by one point. He won’t want it to finish like that so I expect a bit fo fireworks in that department with them both fighting over the same piece of track at some point. I predict at least one of them in the wall.
It has by no means been a classic season this year (although at least one classic race) so I doubt there’ll be too many sad hearts at it ending. Most of us will already be thinking to next year and trying to read in to the Abu Dhabi proceedings what we can. Lets hope Ferrari give the Mercs a race so we can all have a winter of optimism eh?