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The 2019 F1 season draws to a close in Abu Dhabi but the action is not over just yet
The last race of the 2019 F1 season will be held at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi this weekend, while the drivers and constructors titles have been won by Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes-AMG respectively, the midfield battle is as close as ever and will see a dramatic outcome in the last race. Here are five things you can expect at the glamorous Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this year.
The first and second places have already been laid claim to by Hamilton and teammate Valtteri Bottas but, Charles Leclerc (249 pts) can possibly clinch the third place spot from Max Verstappen (260pts) if Max finishes in 10th place and Leclerc finishes fourth or better. It is unlikely, if you look at Verstappen's recent performances but an unlucky DNF could cost him the position. If Leclerc does finish third, it will be an amazing feat for the young racer and a testament to his performance this year. Alternatively, Vettel could pip Leclerc from fourth place if Leclerc finishes 10th or below, and Vettel finishes first. Again, the possibilities of this happening are slim but there's no way of saying for sure.
The midfield battle is bringing the heat to this year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Gasly and Sainz are tied with 95 points, fighting for P6. This one is simple, the one who finishes ahead, wins. Only one point stands between Sergio Perez (46 pts, currently 10th in the championship) and Lando Norris (45 pts, currently 11th in the championship), the milkman will try to get the best of Checo at the finale to take 10th place in the driver’s championship. Kimi Raikkonen (43 pts) is just 3 points behind Checo and he can join in the mix as well. Nico Hulkenberg (37 pts) aims to hold on to his 13th place spot from Daniil Kvyat (35 pts) just 2 points behind.
Torro Rosso currently sits in sixth place with 83 points behind Renault at 91 points, thanks to Gasly’s remarkable performance in Brazil at the last race. This means a solid double points finish for the Torro Rosso drivers could mean that they finish the season ahead of Renault, a big feat for the Red Bull support team. Renault, meanwhile, wouldn't be too happy with that considering they are a full blown factory outfit and have already lost ground to the McLaren team this season.
We will see two drivers leaving the sport at the end of the race, the first being Robert Kubica who had made an incredible come back into the sport after an astonishing injury, sadly as inspiring as his comeback was, he wasn't able to match the pace of the rest of the guys on the grid. His seat is being taken by Formula 2 prodigy Nicholas Latifi. The second driver leaving will be Nico Hulkenberg, he said in a statement that he is looking forward to a new chapter in his life and may return to racing in some form or the other. He is being replaced by Esteban Ocon.
With Bottas starting at the back of the grid due to engine troubles that led the team to replace the power unit, causing a penalty. This will be the first time since the turbo-era that Mercedes will not block out the front row at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. It will be interesting to see Bottas fight his way up the grid, and also give the guys ahead of him a better chance of finishing in the points.