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Hamilton can sign off in style at Abu Dhabi GP

James Jose/Abu Dhabi
Filed on November 27, 2019
Lewis Hamilton competes during the qualifying session at the Yas Marina circuit on November 24, 2018. (AFP file)

The Yas Marina Circuit, in the UAE capital, has acted as the season finale for most of its existence and it is symbolic in many ways

Quite fittingly, the world of Formula One couldn't ask for a more fitting venue to end a season.

The Yas Marina Circuit, in the UAE capital, has acted as the season finale for most of its existence and it is symbolic in many ways.

The spectacular racetrack hosts the only twilight race of the calendar and as dusk turns into night, it not just makes for better optics, but signifies the end of the season.

The mood in the desert-themed paddock among the drivers, teams and team personnel is one of celebration after a long and winding season that has already seen 20 races criss-cross different continents.

But that is not to say that they will take it easy. As the latest iteration of the Formula One Etihad AIrways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix plays out this weekend, drivers and the teams will take one final crack at it and try to finish on a high before waving goodbye to the 70th running of the FIA Formula One World Championship.

Briton Lewis Hamilton may have already sewn up his sixth world title, with the Mercedes driver doing so with a second place at the United States Grand Prix earlier this month.

But there is still plenty to play for, especially down the pecking order.

But first things first. Hamilton, who is one title behind the legendary Michael Schumacher, will mark another milestone in his illustrious career.

When the 34-year-old lines up at the freshly-painted starting grid, he will be doing so for the 250th time.

And going by his success here - the Yas Marina Circuit is something of a backyard for the Briton with four wins - an 11th win of the season and the 84th of his career, is a possibility.

And there's another reason for Hamilton to sign off on a high. The Briton, who had sealed his second world title here in Abu Dhabi in 2014, had finished seventh in the penultimate race in Brazil.

He would love so much to wrap it up by making a trip to the top step of the podium.

His team, Mercedes, who too secured a sixth Constructors' crown at the Japanese Grand Prix, have some unfinished business as well.

The German marquee, apart from seeing Hamilton finish seventh, had to painfully witness their driver Valtteri Bottas retire in Brazil.

Meanwhile, Ferrari will look to break a duck. The Prancing Horses have a huge presence here, with the Yas Island housing the mammoth Ferrari World, home to the world's fastest roller coaster.

But their showing here has been a bit of a roller coaster, with the Italians not having managed a win yet.

Their driver Sebastian Vettel has race wins here, three to be precise, but those were in the blue overalls of Red Bull Racing.

Hamilton and his teammate Bottas are too far ahead in the distance in the drivers' standings and it is left to Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc to jostle for third. But Vettel, who has had a bit of friction with Leclerc after the pair collided in Brazil, lurks and could threaten his teammate for fourth.

Although, the team from Maranello have since said that both drivers have exchanged an olive branch, it will be interesting to see how it will play out, especially with a position on the line.

So, strap on and fasten your seat belts then, and brace for a heady ride as they burn some rubber.

james@khaleejtimes.com

 


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