The final round of the 2022 Formula One World Championship takes place this weekend in Abu Dhabi, and even though Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen was named champion at the previous Japanese round, the battle for second place is still very much alive.
Fellow Red Bull driver Sergio Perez and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc both sit on 290 points going into this final round. And either Ferrari or Mercedes-Benz AMG could end up in second place in the Constructors' Championship, depending on the outcome of the race.
Abu Dhabi is where Verstappen took his controversial first title a year ago. The race takes place annually at the Yas Marina Circuit, a Hermann Tilke-designed circuit that is one of the newer locations on the calendar, having been opened in 2009.
The track layout stretches 3.23 miles and consists of 16 corners as well as some fast sections. The first corner is the start of a flowing sequence of bends, where cars and drivers are subjected to lateral acceleration of up to 4 g and speeds in excess of 155 mph. There are then two very long straights in the middle section and the last sector is tight and twisty and really works the tires.
Yas Marina Circuit, home of the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Pirelli has nominated its C3 as the White hard, C4 as the Yellow medium, and C5 as the Red soft for the weekend.
The weather forecast calls for dry, warm conditions throughout the weekend. However, like other races in the Middle East, the Abu Dhabi race starts at twilight and runs into the night to avoid the heat of the day.
Going into tomorrow's qualifying session and Sunday's race, Verstappen sits on 429 points in the Drivers' Championship. While Leclerc and Perez both have 290 points, Leclerc is currently ranked second because he has more wins this season. In the Constructors' Championship, Red Bull sits on 719 points, versus the 524 of Ferrari and 505 of Mercedes.
This year, F1 also bid farewells to Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel. The four-time world champion in July announced plans to retire from F1 after the current season, ending a career that dates back to 2007.