Grand Prix 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

So 2016 all comes down to this. Two teammates in one of the best cars ever produced in F1 go head to head for the title in the last race of the series. The showdown will happen at sundown in a beautiful city, on a beautiful street circuit, in a country with no F1 heritage and no F1 fans (you can’t have everything).

Lets give credit where credit is due for Nico Rosberg, no one expected him to ever get on top of Lewis Hamilton like this. True he comes across very plastic soul and PR schooled to within an inch of his life but you can’t deny he has shown true grit. He knows he is not as quick as Hamilton but that doesn’t mean he can’t keep chipping away at him. Rosberg has made sure consistency is the key, he has picked up those results when Lewis has had off days and mechanical issues, he continually frustrated Hamilton into uncharacteristic errors and dips in mood that lead to dips in form. Yes there have been days when he has not been able to live with him and yes there have been days when Rosberg has resorted to a little bit of gamesmanship, but he is still here and he is still within a whisker of beating him. All Nico needs is a podium to guarantee the championship, and given the dominance and consistence he has had all year that seems like an easy prospect. It must make him break into a grin every time he thinks about it. He doesn’t need to beat Lewis and even if he has Max Verstappen up his chuff he can just wave him on by. Dream positions. However before he takes to the grid maybe Rosberg should do a little F1 history lesson and watch the 2010 F1 review DVD.

Back in 2010 here at Abu Dhabi there were 4 different drivers who had a chance at the title. The one who was favorite that day was Fernando Alonso (you may know him as a radio personality and deckchair salesman) but this Mr Alonso fell into the trap of playing safe. Rather than driving his own race he played ‘sensible’ tactics and ended up covering off all sorts of people and getting stuck further down the field. The driver that won the title that day was Sebastian Vettel (You may know him from his hit songs “Blue Flag” and “I’ve got a message for Charlie”) who was the complete outsider. The only thing that Vettel could do that day was win and hope the others tripped over themselves and thats exactly what happened. Lewis Hamilton’s weekend is easy and he needs to tell himself that. He needs to go out there and take the thing by the scruff of the neck and win it. He can’t influence anything else but by him being strong he might cast doubt in Rosbergs mind, doubt may lead to errors. I really don’t know who will win the title but I wish them both the best of luck. I can’t really say that either of them don’t deserve the title after this year so may the best man win.

Elsewhere Max Verstappen will be continuing to build up his profile after another fabulous display in Brazil. Despite what you think of the boys personality he is an amazing racing driver and a joy to watch. My joy is somewhat tampered by the media flagellating themselves over his every move and exaggerated everything as greatness. I get the feeling Max could fart in a bucket and David Croft would describe it as an awesome move by a massive talent who knows no boundaries in F1 and is showing the exact sort of thinking that the sport needs to see. Calm down media boys, he’s good, we can all see that, don’t over egg the pudding. To be honest if I hadn’t lost all my money in Greenlantern101's betting game then I’d put some coin on him to win here at Abu Dhabi. The Red Bull is certainly looking a better car and I think the track will suit. That could bring Danny Ric into play as well if the boy gets a bit of luck. I kind of feel like he needs to put the stoppers on the Max train before the end of the year.

Further down the grid we’ll see Jenson Button’s last race and he can’t wait to be out of that car. We might see Esteban Gutteriez last race too.....although we might have already seen that after his scuffle in the pitlane in Brazil. Ferrari will be glad to get the season to an end and Force India have now firmly sown up that 4th spot in the championship. The only other battle to really watch out for is Sauber and Manor. Manor must be absolutely gutted with how it went in Brazil, whilst Sauber must be jumping over the moon. Nasr, who is being dumped by Sauber, may very well have secured himself a spot on the grid next year with that 9th place mainly because of losing Manor 30m quid. If they lose that I’ll doubt they’ll be able to afford not to take two drivers with lots of sponsorship and Nasr’s Banco Brazil ties make him a shoe in (bye bye Wherlain). Can Manor make it back though? In a normal race I doubt it but Ocon really showed his class in Brazil so who knows.

Whatever happens in Abu Dhabi it will be the end of an era (a very short one) for the current F1 cars and we can say bye bye to normal size tyres and hello to aerodynamics dream. Lets hope its a good send off.

Discuss, Javalin, Pole Vault etc etc.........(Bringing back bad memories for older posters)
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I'd love to see Roschops nick pole here on Saturday..


Paradoxically it would present Rosberg with a number of complications though. Does he fight Hamilton at the first corner? Does he try and take the lead, thus sujecting himself to the unrelenting pressure a forceful Hamilton will need to inflict on him? Or does he just let him go knowing he will be criticised for taking the "easy" route to the title?

I don't think anybody else will challenge Mercedes either way.
Unconfirmed reports state that Bernie has sole control of the sprinklers in Abu Dhabi.

But seriously, would anybody take issue with an artificially wet race race in the desert?
I think the real question will centre around Hamilton's tactics. If he gets pole or take the lead at the start he may choose to keep the pace "reasonable". No point in him romping away with it. Back the pack up in the hope someone behind can have a go at Rosberg. Not sure his team would take too kindly to that but he might think about it. Have to say I don't recall seeing this tactic being used in F1 among team-mates, although we've seen quite a few times against rival teams in the past.
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I am fairly sure that Lewis would want to win the race, and leave all the other stuff to Nico. he has been in this position before, and both won and lost the WDC as a result, so he knows the score, and I would expect the same Lewis that we have seen over the last couple of races.

I am not sure how Nico would react in the face of adversity, as he has not been this close before. in 2015 I recall he seemed to unravel a little when things didn't go his way in the final race, but 2 years is a long time, and he has come a long way.

The upshot being, that I expect a Mercedes 1-2, with Lewis ahead, he is usually imperious at these types of circuits, assuming he gets away.

I cannot help but think neither driver would like to see the WDC resolved as a result of an incident, wither mechanical or otherwise.
Don't think there'll be any team restrictions so.I agree with the earlier post in that the only hope Hamilton has is to first get pole and then back Rosberg into the pack - or more precisely into the clutches of mad Max and hope for a crunching sound. Streaking off into the distance on this occasion simply hands Rosberg a comfortable podium.
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