2016 Formula 1 Driver Battles: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

It all comes down to this. After twenty Grand Prix the title will be claimed after 55 laps around the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. But that is just one of several battles that will be resolved this weekend.

 

Title Fight

The two protagonists are the Mercedes drivers of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton who are separated by 12 points heading into the season finale in the favour of Nico Rosberg.

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Nico Rosberg & Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W07 at Stowe during Q3 for the 2016 British Grand Prix” by Martin Lee is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.90

Lewis Hamilton is the more in form having claimed victory at the previous two rounds in Mexico and Brazil. However Rosberg only needs to finish on the podium in order to claim the title.

But as was once famously said, anything can happen in Formula 1 and it usually does.

 

Battle for Fourth

red-bull-and-ferrari
Max Verstappen at 2016 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix in Austin, TX” by Mike Boudreaux is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel currently occupies fourth place with 197 points, but is only 5 points ahead of the Red Bull of Max Verstappen. Kimi Raikkonen in the other Ferrari is also in with a mathematical chance of claiming fourth although he is 19 points behind his Ferrari teammate.

 

Seventh

Currently occupied by the Force India of Sergio Perez, he is currently 12 points ahead of the Williams of Valtteri Bottas. It would be incredible if Bottas were able to overturn the deficit, but you never know in this sport.

sergio-perez
#11 Sergio Perez” by Takayuki Suzuki is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

 

Tenth

Nico Hulkenberg in the other Force India currently occupies ninth and is 13 points ahead of the McLaren of Fernando Alonso and 15 points ahead of the Williams of Felipe Massa.

The battle over tenth however is a lot closer with only 2 points separating Alonso and Massa. It would be incredible if Alonso were able to secure tenth for himself and McLaren, showing how much they have improved compared to 2015 and giving hope for another leap in performance for 2017. However Massa will undoubtedly want to end his Formula 1 career on a high and especially after the heartbreak of retiring at his home Grand Prix of Brazil in the last round.

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#19 Felipe Massa” by Takayuki Suzuki is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

They can’t get too comfortable as after his solid performance in Brazil, the Scuderia Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz is now 5 points behind Massa and therefore 7 points behind Alonso. Could Sainz make it a Spanish tenth and eleventh in the Driver Standings by the end of the season?

 

Fourteenth

The other Scuderia Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat currently occupies fourteenth with 25 points, but his is only 4 points ahead of the McLaren of Jenson Button who like Massa will no doubt want to finish in the points in his final race for McLaren.

 

New Point Scorer

In Brazil Felipe Nasr scored his first points of 2016 in front of his home crowd after claiming ninth. He becomes the twentieth point scorer of the season and it means that all teams have scored points in the season, the first time since the 2009 season.

felipe-nasr
Sauber panning” by Kim Benson is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Will either Esteban Gutierrez, Marcus Ericsson or Esteban Ocon claim a points finish to end their season on a high.

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