Image Courtesy: Yas Marina Circuit
With just three races to go, the drivers championship has turned into a two way fight between Vettel and Alonso. Vettel has been on fire in last few rounds and extended his championship lead to 13 points in India after scoring his 5th victory of the season. We preview the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The Yas Marina Circuit made into Formula 1 in 2009 and likes most of the new circuits, it is designed by Herman Tilke. Sebastian Vettel won the 2009 and 2010 edition of the race and could have won last year's event as well had he not had a puncture.
Red Bull made major changes to its car in 2nd half of the season and that has payed off as they've won each of the last four races. They carefully blow the exhaust gases between the rear wheels and the diffusers resulting in extra downforce. This system works on the same principal as blown diffusers which are now banned from use in Formula 1.
Image Courtesy: Motorsport.com
The circuit has been well received by the drivers.
"Abu Dhabi's a track that I think everyone looks forward to getting back to. It's just about the best overall venue for F1, with some of the best facilities for the teams that we see all year, a track that has some good technical challenges and pretty much perfect weather." - Heikki Kovalainen
“In just three years, the race has grown to be one of the highlights of the season. Starting at dusk and finishing in the dark makes it something unique and impressive. The circuit itself is impressive: 5.5km long, with large run-off areas and a pit lane exit that goes through a tunnel to the other side of the track.” - Sebastian Vettel
"It’s a track where you can really push the car, which is what I most enjoy. There are a wide variety of corners - I love the fast sweeps in the first sector - and it’s incredibly satisfying to hook together a good sector through the tricky marina section of the lap. Good mechanical balance makes all the difference here because you’re always changing direction." - Lewis Hamilton
“The facilities are second to none at Abu Dhabi. The track layout makes it really challenging for overtaking, while there are not too many places to pass. You really have to qualify well to be on the top, and to get a strong result from there. There are many corners and you need good overall downforce and grip. The car has to ride the kerbs very well, too. Having an evening race with a mixture of day and night makes a different challenge from circuits that we see anywhere else. We start with the sun and finish with the lights." - Kimi Raikkonen
Fernando Alonso is aware of the fact that Ferrari is nowhere close to Red Bull in terms of pace. He'll need starts like India where he moved from 5th to 3rd in first few laps of the race.
“Obviously three races remaining; championship is the main target so we need to recover some points and it would be nice to finish in front of Sebastian in Abu Dhabi, whatever the position it is. And if we can win the race it will be even better - but for that we need to make a step forward. At the moment we are not able to win.” said Alonso
In the constructors, Red Bull might just win the title this race. With 407 points, they are 91 points ahead of Ferrari. It will be interesting to see the fight between the traditional rivals, Ferrari and McLaren for 2nd place in the constructors championship.
Pirelli will bring soft and medium tyres for the race, so the Italian tyre manufacturer ain't as conservative as it was at India last weekend. Also, DRS zone on the long back straight has been extended by 80m to improve overtaking. However, no changes were made to the second DRS zone between turn 10 and 11.
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