2021 Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Preview

This weekend will see Formula 1 conclude its 2021 season at a revamped Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. The series is also set to be joined by Formula 2, which is also due to wrap up its 2021 season this weekend.

In Formula 2 Oscar Piastri leads the driver standings, the Australian having finished eighth and then first in the two sprint races last weekend in Jeddah, before then going on to claim victory in a shortened feature race which handed out half points.

It therefore means that Piastri has a 51.5 point advantage over second placed, and teammate, Robert Shwartzman and also means the Australian is on the cusp of securing the Formula 2 title.

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Shwartzman had a solid race weekend in Saudi Arabia where the Russian claimed fifth and third across the two sprint races before going on to finish second in the feature race. He has a 13 point gap to third placed Guanyu Zhou who failed to score any points in the first sprint race before coming back to finish eighth in the second sprint race and fourth in the feature race.

A note on the winner of the first sprint race in Jeddah, Marcus Armstrong. It was the Kiwi’s first race victory in Formula 2 and means he enters the 2021 Formula 2 season finale thirteenth in the standings, 4.5 points behind twelfth placed Ralph Boschung and nine points ahead of fourteenth placed Bent Viscaal.

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In Formula 1 Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton will enter the season finale, and title decider, level on 369.5 points each. Verstappen currently holds the number one position in the drivers’ championship on countback, having won nine Grand Prix in 2021 compared to Hamilton’s eight.

Behind the two title contenders is Valtteri Bottas who has secured third in the driver standings for 2021, the Finn is 28 points ahead of fourth placed Sergio Perez. This is after Bottas claimed third place in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix from Alpine’s Esteban Ocon at the line.

Despite crashing out of last weekend’s Grand Prix, Perez has secured fourth in the drivers’ championship in his first season with Red Bull. The Mexican has a 32 point gap to fifth placed Charles Leclerc heading into the final Grand Prix of the season.

Ferrari SF21 – Charles Leclerc” by Jaimie Wilson is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

There is however only four points separating Leclerc and sixth placed Lando Norris. This is after both managed to finish inside the top ten in Saudi Arabia, with Leclerc being classified seventh while Norris finished tenth. Meanwhile 4.5 points behind Norris, and therefore 8.5 points behind Leclerc, is Carlos Sainz in seventh, the Spaniard having finished eighth in Jeddah.

A quick note on Ocon who for a time looked set to claim another podium finish for Alpine, following on from teammate Fernando Alonso’s podium finish in Qatar the round previously. Ocon did finish fourth in Saudi Arabia and is eleventh in the driver standings, five points behind Alonso who is tenth heading to Abu Dhabi.

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In the constructors’ championship, Mercedes will enter the final Grand Prix weekend of 2021 with a 28 point advantage over second placed Red Bull, as the two contest for the title alongside the drivers’ championship.

Behind the pair, and third in the championship, is Scuderia Ferrari who have a 38.5 point gap to fourth placed McLaren. The latter does still have a mathematical chance of overhauling Ferrari for third, there being 44 points available for the race weekend, but unless there is another 2021 Italian Grand Prix type race, it is unlikely the Woking based team will overhaul Ferrari.

McLaren are 120 points clear of fifth placed Alpine, the French team in turn have a 29 point advantage over sixth placed AlphaTauri. As mentioned earlier Alpine claimed a fourth place in Jeddah thanks to Ocon, while the Faenza based AlphaTauri team left Saudi Arabia with sixth, thanks to Pierre Gasly.

It means the gap between AlphaTauri and seventh placed Aston Martin is 43 points after neither of the latter’s cars managed to finish inside the top ten last weekend. Neither did eighth placed Williams who remain 54 points adrift of Aston Martin after what was an emotional Saudi Arabian Grand Prix for the Grove based team, the first race weekend since the passing of their founder, Sir Frank Williams.

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Williams have a 10 point advantage over ninth placed Alfa Romeo, the latter closing the gap after Antonio Giovinazzi managed to be classified ninth in Saudi Arabia.

Completing the constructors’ championship is Haas whose cars failed to finish in Saudi Arabia as both Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin suffered crashes during the early stages of last weekend’s Grand Prix.

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