Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina
1-3 November, 1pm GMT
Live on Sky Sports F1, highlights on BBC
First Grand Prix: 2009
Track length: 5.554km
Number of laps: 55
Lap record: 1:40.279 – Sebastian Vettel (2009)
Set in the oil rich heart of the Middle East, Abu Dhabi and the unconstrained excesses of 21st century Formula 1 are tailor made for each other.
The circuit itself looks like it’s landed from another planet, and costing a cool £800 million it’s certainly out of this world for those sat watching at home in recession-bit Britain.
With its swooping architecture and surrounding harbour containing over 150 yachts, the circuit is as far removed from the patched up racing heartlands of Silverstone and Monza as it’s possible to be.
The track boasts the longest straight in the F1 calendar and a unique pit lane exit that takes the cars through a tunnel under the track to emerge at turn three. The track however has been criticised in previous years for its lack of overtaking opportunities in the tight turns in the second half of the lap.
The racing may have failed to live up to its surroundings in early years, but 2012’s fraught, collision-filled epic put pay to that, with Sebastian Vettel charging out of a pit lane start to finish on the podium. If 2013 comes anywhere close to last season’s highlight, we’re in for a rip roaring ride.
2012 memory: Kimi Raikkonen’s radio instruction to his race engineer: “Leave me alone, I know what I’m doing.” Topping the podium, it was hard to argue with him about that.
2012: Kimi Raikkonen
2011: Lewis Hamilton
2010: Sebastian Vettel
2009: Sebastian Vettel