The Key Strategic Moment of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was the decision by Scuderia Ferrari to keep Sebastian Vettel out for a long second stint in order to build a large tire offset to the Red Bull Racing cars. When he did pit late on for supersofts, Vettel caught and passed the Red Bulls quickly. With leader Lewis Hamilton backing his team mate Nico Rosberg up in the closing stages, Vettel also caught his fellow German, but couldn’t pass him.
James Allen on F1, UBS F1 Expert
Mercedes’ strategy options
Who will come out on top?
Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton are fighting for the World Championship, so MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS’ strategy decisions will be closely analyzed this weekend. Priority on pit-stops will be given to the lead car on track, but the tail car is often given an alternative strategy and a chance to win. For the race you can expect an ultrasoft-soft-soft tire strategy, however most teams will run the supersofts in practice to see how they perform. Last year they suffered from graining after 10 laps, but if they behave they could offer an alternative strategy.
Another 1-2 finish for Mercedes
Nico Rosberg crowned World Champion
We previewed MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS’ strategy ahead of the final Grand Prix of 2016 in Abu Dhabi. Both cars followed a similar two-stop strategy, but as Lewis Hamilton backed the field up in the closing stages, Nico Rosberg came under attack from Sebastian Vettel, who was on a set of supersoft tires for the final stint. Under the circumstances, Rosberg was fortunate that Vettel was not able to pass him and that Red Bull Racing had an off day on strategy.
Race Strategy Briefing
Abu Dhabi has one of the most stable conditions for racing on the F1 calendar. Temperatures drop gradually as night falls and rain is very rare.
Most will qualify on ultrasoft and last year the soft was the favoured race tire. Reverse strategies – starting on the harder tire - usually work well here.
Safety car surprisingly rare
Although there are corners lined with barriers, accidents requiring a Safety Car to clear the track are rare at just 35% probability.
DRS helps to overtake
Yas Marina used to be a very hard track for overtaking, but DRS on the straights helps and last year there were 26 successful overtakes.
Track improves over weekend
The track is dirty to start with but lap times drop by up to 2 seconds over the weekend as more rubber goes down and the grip levels come up.
Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina
November 27 | 17:00 local time, 14:00 CET
Not to be outdone by its neighboring nations, Abu Dhabi played host to a Grand Prix for the first time in 2009 and raised the bar in terms of track facilities. Uniquely starting at dusk and racing into darkness, the Hermann Tilke designed circuit wraps around the Yas Marina Bay with room for 150 yachts and features a hotel spanning across the track, which during the evening is aglow with LED lights that pass through the color spectrum. The track has a unique pit-exit that sees the cars pass under the ground at turn one and emerge back on circuit around turn three. The track offers a blend of straights and tight corners and provided the perfect backdrop for the nail biting 2010 title decider which saw Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel come out on top, the second of his three wins here. Lewis Hamilton has two wins at Yas Marina, while Kimi Räikkönen and Nico Rosberg and have also won in Abu Dhabi.
Circuit length 5.554 km
Race distance 305.355 km
2015 winner Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
Pirelli allocation UltraSoft/SuperSoft/Soft
The race begins at dusk and ends at night. The temperatures drop from around 30 to 19 degrees Celsius during the race and this has a significant bearing on tire performance and thus race strategy. There have often been alternative strategies tried at this circuit, such as starting on the soft tire rather than the supersoft. There have been three safety cars in seven years at Yas Marina; when they happen they turn the race on its head.
In collaboration with James Allen