Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, Suzuka, 2002

2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix stats preview

2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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There’s not a lot left to play for in the championships at the final race of 2018 this weekend.

The drivers’ title is already settled. So are the top four places in the constructors’ championship.

That means this one is mostly going to be about bragging rights. Lewis Hamilton will undoubtedly want to sign off his fourth title-winning year with another success.

But a second straight victory for Sebastian Vettel would see Ferrari end a promising but ultimately disappointing campaign on a high. What’s more, it would be their first ever triumph at this track.

Race history

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Yas Marina, 2015
Ferrari has never won at Yas Marina
The Yas Marina circuit sits next to the Ferrari World theme park. Yet it’s been a frustrating venue for the team: They’ve never won here, and Fernando Alonso’s championship defeat at the track seven years ago is a bitter memory for them.

Could Vettel be the driver to end Ferrari’s Yas Marina drought? He’s won three times before at this venue. But so has rival Hamilton, who can also point to 2012 as a win that should have been.

Mercedes have been the form team in recent years, taking pole position and victory in all of the last three events. Last year they scored their second consecutive one-two at the track in unusual circumstances, as winner Hamilton was slowing team mate Nico Rosberg in the vain hope two of their rivals would overtake Rosberg and thereby allow Hamilton to take the title.

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The form book

Ferrari’s other contender, Kimi Raikkonen, is the only driver from the ‘big three’ teams not to have won a race so far this year. If he fails to win on Sunday his win-less streak will have reached four years by the start of next season.

Vettel’s 22-point lead over Valtteri Bottas means he is unlikely to be beaten to second place in the drivers’ standings. If he takes it, it will be the first time under the V6 hybrid turbo regulations that a Mercedes driver has finished behind a rival from another team in the standings.

Felipe Massa, Williams, Interlagos, 2017
Will Massa end his final season ahead of his team mate?
How much does that matter to Mercedes? We may find out if Vettel drops out and Bottas is running second to Hamilton. Would Hamilton get the call to let his team mate win and cement a fourth consecutive championship-one-two for his team?

If Hamilton finishes in the top ten he will become only the second driver in the history of the championship to score points in every race of a season. Michael Schumacher did it in 2002 when he finished every race on the podium. (Juan Manuel Fangio scored points in every F1 race in 1954 and 1955 but not in the Indianapolis 500, which also counted towards the championship.)

Note this isn’t an entirely fair comparison because points systems have changed. Schumacher achieved his streak when only the top six drivers scored points whereas now the top ten do. Hamilton has had two points-scoring finished outside the top six this year in Monaco (seventh) and Mexico (ninth). However he is only the fifth driver in F1 history to finish in the top ten in every race of a season.

There are closer championship fights going on between team mates at this final race of the year. Felipe Massa, heading into retirement again, has a two-point lead over Lance Stroll.

Sergio Perez looks set to clinch the best-of-the-rest spot in the championship. “Finishing just behind the top six drivers makes me feel proud,” he said ahead of this weekend’s race.

But he still needs to be wary of team mate Esteban Ocon who, if things fall his way, could still overturn the 11-point gap between them. However Ocon would need to repeat Force India’s best result of the year so far – Perez’s fourth place in Spain – with his team mate no higher than tenth.

Lap times

Overtaking

Source: Mercedes

Race ratings

How F1 Fanatic readers have rated the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in recent years.

Join in Rate the Race when the chequered flag falls at the end of this year’s race. You will need a (free) F1 Fanatic account to participate:

2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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32 comments on “2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix stats preview”

  1. 121 passes in last year’s race?! Crazy stat…!

    1. @tonyyeb That’s a crazy stat indeed. It felt more like 20.

      1. @jerejj Indeed, wonder if Keith has had finger trouble and added a 1 at the start by accident, ha!

        1. Verstappen spinning in corner 1, then getting back to 4th. That alone was good for 25+ passes.

    2. I wonder how many were without DRS….

    3. @tonyyeb Apologies that number is slightly out so I’ve fixed it, but it is still high: 93.

      @swh1386 65 without, 28 with. As noted above the source for that is Mercedes.

      1. It is wrong ! That stat count also positions change during the first lap, pit stops and so forth! You should find a more reliable source!
        Bye :)

  2. Why didn’t you say Mercedes has taken the last 4 poles and wins instead of the last 3?

    1. Because Red Bull won in 2013.

      1. Apologies, got my math wrong.

  3. The rarity of having an “every race in the points” season really highlights just how special and dominant Michael Schumacher’s 2002 season was. Not just points, but a podium in every race, is an incredible statistic; even more so when you consider that only one of these finishes was in third!

    To finish every single race competitively while winning a championship really is something to be applauded. A car, team and driver all at the top of their game, with no reliability issues on the car, no bad calls by the team and no brain fades from the driver.

    A very belated well done to Schumacher and another to Lewis Hamilton if he can round it off in Abu Dhabi.

    1. @ben-n Silly stat: Dorino Serafini finished on the podium in every race of his entire career. Every single one of them. With the emphasis on ‘one’.

      1. Even more interesting that he scored a podium in “all” of his races despite never crossing the finish line (as he handed over to Ascari!). Jacques Villeneuve and Kevin Magnussen would have equalled the record briefly in 1996 and 2014, while Lewis Hamilton went well beyond it in 2007 before finishing off the podium at the Nurburgring. Any other examples?

        I do enjoy a good useless stats session!

        1. Jonathan Parkin
          22nd November 2017, 8:11

          Another part of that Schumacher stat from 2002. He also completed every racing lap that year. Lewis was lapped a couple of times this year I believe

    2. It also gives a good perspective of the infamous “Let Michael pass for the championship” team order and how unnecesary it was.

    3. @ben-n A well done to MSC and Ferrari yes, but it was one of the worst F1 seasons in history. On track action was very poor, competition non-existent. This and 2004 tested my allegiance as an F1 fan more than any other since 1994. Quite a few stopped being F1 fans in that period. The only saving grace was qualifying where JPM was sticking it to the Ferraris with 7 consecutive mid season poles. Then it’s watching the start, up to the first pitstop, watch MSC emerge in front and drive into the distance, then turn off the TV knowing nothing more will happen. Unless you were a diehard tifosi there was not much to be happy about

      1. @montreal95 – 1994 was the first season I remember watching as well. To be honest I don’t remember being as bored during the Ferrari-Schumacher domination years as many others were, though that’s probably my poor memory! I was a Barrichello fan in general and loved whenever Rubens managed to get a rare one over Michael. I also enjoyed Montoya’s feisty fights with Schumacher and the emergence of Alonso and Raikkonen. A strange one, but I also used to like the novelty of the Schumacher brothers duking it out near the front.

        I’m sure these were actually rare highlights among some terribly boring races, but I do generally look back on the period with fond memories.

        1. @ben-n Well some highlights from the era are pretty nice but in general it was really bad. And Rubens? That was one of the most frustrating things. A driver perfectly capable of winning on his own was just a MSC lapdog. I was baffled when he didn’t leave at the end of 2002 with how they were treating him. And even more baffled and disappointed when he didn’t leave at the end of 2003 when the harsh treatment repeated itself

      2. You do know there are 20-odd other positions to be fought for besides 1st, right?

        1. I suppose you’re replying to me Roy? Well that was the problem. It was worse than the current Merc domination era because nothing happened in the middle of the field either!

      3. @ben-n too true, I always refer to 2002 and 2004 as ‘The Dark Days’ when my faith in F1 was truly put to the test. For F1 fans that bemoan the lack of competition and passing, you haven’t seen nothing if you haven’t endured the 2002 and 2004 seasons! Unless you were a fan of Ferrari and Schumacher.

        Conversely, 2003 in the middle of all that was actually one of my favourite seasons ever.

      4. Oh, thank god I was a Michael fan back then!

    4. There were 9 Ferrari 1 – 2 finishes in the 2002 season. Of these, 5 of them were Michael Schumacher first and Rubens Barrichello second, and 4 of them were Rubens Barrichello first and Michael Schumacher second.

      1. Ah yes…2002…the season that had the debacle that was Austria and RB handing MS the ‘win’ with metres to go, and then admitting in the post-race interview that he thought he better obey his contract.

        For me there is nothing inspiring about watching a driver given more advantages hand over fist than any driver ever, including having a contracted subservient in the other seat, in a dominant car, robbing us of real racing.

        Of the 4 wins RB had, 3 of them came after MS won the WDC with 6 races to go in the season.

  4. Following the last race in Brazil, Hamilton is now the only driver who still has a chance to finish this season with a 100% finishing-record, which would mean that for the first time in his F1 career he’s managed to reach the chequered flag in every race of any given season.

  5. @keithcollantine Hamilton could also win in 2009 cause he was leading before a gearbox failure.

  6. The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix of 2013 remains the last one where a Solar eclipse was visible during the GP weekend (and the only one in history where the eclipse was visible during the actual race).

    Here are all the occurrences of solar eclipses during GP weekends:

    20 May 1966 – Monaco GP – Partial eclipse – Friday between 09:05 and 11:35
    30 June 1973 – French GP – Partial eclipse – Saturday between 11:35 and 13:13
    11 May 1975 – Monaco GP – Partial eclipse – Sunday between 06:15 and 07:58
    31 May 2003 – Monaco GP – Partial eclipse – Saturday between 05:52 and 06:15
    01 August 2008 – Hungarian GP – Partial eclipse – Friday between 11:02 and 12:39
    03 November 2013 – Abu Dhabi GP – Partial eclipse – Sunday between 17:20 and 17:40

    1. @miguelbento Good stat. I had only been aware of the most recent one until I saw your comment. Until today I thought that the 2013 edition of the Abu Dhabi GP was the only race that had featured a solar eclipse in F1 history.

  7. Wow that F2002 was a beautiful car, with a screaming V10 in the back, amazing.

  8. In fairness to Raikkonen he had opportunities to win this year, but was made to play #2 to Vettel. Now that the title is decided maybe he’ll get a fair shot.

  9. “However he is only the fifth driver in F1 history to finish in the top ten in every race of a season.”

    that’s interesting! other than schumacher who were the others? was heidfeld one of them?

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