Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix in 2016
The driver and manufacturer titles awarded to Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes, the 20th and last Grand Prix of the Formula 1 season in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, will be the scene of the ultimate fights of 2017, which can be crucial to prepare for 2018.
As noted recently by Silver Arrows boss Toto Wolff, „the battle for next season has already begun“, as soon as the Championship was played.
The last Grand Prix of 2017 is indeed the opportunity to test new parts on single-seaters, new equipment in garages and to make the most of confidence to approach a studious winter at the factory until the resumption in March .
But Hamilton remains on two races in half-tone. In Mexico, he was crowned in ninth place. In Brazil, a rare outing in qualifying forced him to a crazy recovery from twentieth place on the grid to fourth on the line. His worst series in two consecutive GPs since the last two of 2013 …
Closing the year on a success would be good for the British, especially considering the end of the 2015 season.
Abu Dhabi F1 GP Circuit Sunday, November 26, Gearbox Speeds and Reports
– Hamilton and the specter of 2015 –
After being crowned, he had lifted his foot and left the last three races to his teammate and rival Nico Rosberg. The German had then surfed this wave to win the first four of 2016 and finally the title.
While Sebastian Vettel, a disappointed contender for the world crown, has recovered in Brazil with a first win since the Hungarian Grand Prix in July, Hamilton will certainly want to avoid trying the devil again.
Their duel is still going strong, with the two drivers each having three victories on the Yas Marina circuit, where the race is held at dusk.
The Ferrari German will also have an eye in his rearview mirror towards Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), who can still mathematically steal the second place in the drivers‘ standings. To keep it, he will have to make eighth or better, regardless of the position of the Finn.
Nor is it all played for fourth place, the other Finnish Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari) is seven points behind Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull), nor for the seventh, eleven points between France’s Esteban Ocon and Mexican Sergio Pérez, his teammate at Force India.
– Which sixth among the builders? –
If the first five places in the manufacturers‘ standings are awarded, the sixth is still within the reach of three teams: Toro Rosso has a four-point advantage over Renault and six over Haas.
But this is not just a question of better appearing on the roll of honor. The order in which the teams finishes partly determines the premiums received by each and it is rumored that the sixth touches 12 million dollars (10.2 million euros) more than the eighth.
„We have to keep our sixth place,“ urges Frenchman Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso), „It’s very important for the team and for us, the drivers, because we want to make sure we can develop the car as much as possible every year. next.“
The game looks uncertain to say the least, Renault and Haas marking the pace at the end of the season, while Toro Rosso expects his new recruits, Gasly and New Zealander Brendon Hartley, recently confirmed for 2018, mark their first points .
„This race is almost a championship in itself“, summarizes Cyril Abiteboul, director of Renault Sport Racing.
For the Brazilian Felipe Massa, who retired at the age of 36 after a year of „rab“ at Williams, it will also be the last in F1.