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After a long 21-race season, Formula One in 2019 finally reaches it’s conclusion and will be farewelled in the twilight of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Join The Roar for a live blog from 12:10am AEDT.
With the top positions in the championship all sewn up, it will be the minor placings that take centre stage at the 5.5km technical Yas Marina Circuit – with Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc battling for third in the standings.
The pair will start second and third for the 55-lap grand prix, behind the six-time world champion in Lewis Hamilton, who claimed his first pole position since Germany.
His Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas originally qualified second – though has been relegated to the rear of the grid with an engine penalty.
Mercedes have been unbeaten in Abu Dhabi during the hybrid era, with Hamilton winning three of the past races. Red Bull have tasted success here with Sebastian Vettel in the past, though Ferrari are yet to win at this venue.
Again, Mercedes and Red Bull had the superior race pace during practice which may leave Ferrari squabbling between themselves for the final place on the podium.
With peace talks having taken place after Vettel and Leclerc’s coming together in Brazil – there will still be eyes on the Ferrari duo in this race.
Hamilton, Verstappen and Leclerc will start the race as well on the medium tyre thus can fight with each other on the same strategy, in which they’re expected to one-stop for a set of hard tyres.
Vettel will have the benefit of the soft tyre at the start from fourth.
Lando Norris was best of the rest in sixth, but it is his McLaren teammate Carlos Sainz that has sixth in the driver’s standings on the line – given that he is tied on 95-points with Pierre Gasly and 11 ahead of Alexander Albon, who starts ahead in fifth.
They’re expected to contend with the Renaults in the top ten, as Nico Hulkenberg prepares for what may be his final Formula One race from ninth.
The French manufacturer is currently eight points clear of Toro Rosso in the constructor’s championship – though with Gasly and teammate Daniil Kvyat just outside the top ten, they could still be a threat.
Will we get another Brazil-like battle between Hamilton and Verstappen in the tenth edition of this race?
Join me the on The Roar from 12:10am AEDT for live blog coverage for Formula One’s last race of the year at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.