I think the big question on everyone’s mind going into the Abu Dhabi race this weekend is – can anyone stop Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull? They have won four races on the trot now and have huge momentum behind them, let alone the points lead.
Abu Dhabi is the only twilight race on the calendar, where they start in daylight before eventually finishing the race at night under the flood lights. This means it does get a bit tricky for the drivers where they will have tinted tear-offs on their visor to deal with the setting sun, and then pull those off to leave the clear ones underneath as it gets dark.
The circuit is pretty challenging and the drivers do enjoy the uniqueness of the place. Two very long straights make it possible to overtake but it’s the tight third sector the teams will be focussing on.
This is where the Red Bulls have been so quick over the last two years and it’s been enough of an advantage that has made beating them here very difficult.
The good thing for Ferrari fans is that Alonso was a lot closer to Vettel last weekend during the Indian GP then he was at Korea two weeks ago. This means that Ferrari probably have got on top of the wind tunnel correlation problems and if they can bring significant updates to the race this weekend, they should be able to compete with Red Bull.
It’s still a big “if” because one thing for sure is that Red Bull are pushing hard and will have their own updates to try and keep themselves in front of both Ferrari and McLaren.
Lewis Hamilton won here last year, so it’s fair to say that he will be strong again too. The McLarens had very good race pace in India, so the potential is there.
Like Ferrari, they just need to hook up qualifying a bit more to give them a chance in the race. With Pirelli bringing the medium and soft tyre, McLaren also needs to make sure they are consistent on the soft tyre because in India, they lost time when on them before coming good with the harder compound later in the race.
It’s really heating up in the championship and while there are other teams and drivers on the grid, everyone will be focussing on our two title rivals, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel.
Alex Yoong is an F1 expert with STAR Sports