Yas Marina Circuit, home of the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand PrixEnlarge Photo
The final round of the 2016 Formula One World Championship is on this weekend in Abu Dhabi and the title is still up for grabs for two drivers: Mercedes AMG duo Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.
As has been the case for the past several weeks, the championship is very much Rosberg’s to lose. The German has a 12-point lead over his British teammate, which means even if Hamilton wins on Sunday Rosberg can still take home the title if finishes at least third.
This will be Rosberg’s first championship, while for Hamilton it will be his fourth. The pressure will certainly be on the German come the weekend, as well as on his engineering team to ensure the car is running smoothly.
Fortunately for Rosberg, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix isn’t a particularly difficult race. It’s held at Yas Marina Circuit, which has the honor of being the most expensive race track ever constructed, having cost approximately $1.3 billion.
Nico Rosberg and Lewis HamiltonEnlarge Photo
The track stretches 3.4 miles and includes 21 turns. There are three distinct sectors, each putting different demands on the car. You get a flowing sequence of bends at the start, long straights in the middle, and tight and twisty stretches at the end.
Some unusual features for a race track found here include garages that are air-conditioned and the world’s largest permanent lighting system. The race is considered a twilight event, starting in daylight and finishing at night. The temperature on Sunday is expected to hit a peak of 88 degrees F (31 degrees C) and wind speed should be low.
The track surface is quite smooth although grippy at the same time. A predominance of slow-speed corners means mechanical grip is at a premium, but to help this tire supplier Pirelli is bringing its three softest compounds.
Going into the weekend, Rosberg leads the 2016 Drivers’ Championship with 367 points. Hamilton is second with 355 points and Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo is third with 246 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, the 2016 winner Mercedes has 722 points versus the 446 of Red Bull and 375 of Ferrari [NYSE:RACE].