Hamilton hoping for smooth race in Abu Dhabi to clinch Championship
The curtain on the Formula 1 season is set to come down in style, as Abu Dhabi opens up its futuristic course once more for a high-octane, tyre-shrieking, fast and furious climax.
Lewis Hamilton is the odds-on favourite at 5/6 with Coral for victory which would win him his first championship since 2008. He currently holds a 17-point lead over Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, though the German has said he will push as hard as he can.
“In terms of preparing for this deciding race, I have done all I possibly can,” said the 29-year-old, who is 5/4 to win the race.
“I went to the Mercedes factory last Friday and practised driving the Yas Marina Circuit on the simulator. I also debriefed with my engineers to learn as much as I could from the last race in Brazil.
“Qualifying has obviously been a strong suit for me this year but I have had to work on my racing, and I was delighted that in Interlagos I took a huge step forward,” continued Rosberg, who is 7/2 to win the Championship.
“I dominated the entire weekend. I was fastest in every practice session, secured pole and then won the race ahead of my team-mate Lewis Hamilton which leaves me 17 points behind him in the race for the championship. I know that I must carry that form through to this weekend’s race in Abu Dhabi.”
Hamilton, odds-on at 8/11 to be fastest qualifier, however, won this circuit in 2011, though was robbed of the chance to secure successive victories a year later, when his McLaren broke down, with the Brit leading.
“I’m hoping that bad luck won’t play a part this time around,” said Hamilton, who needs to finish in the top two on the last weekend, where points are worth double.
“I know that the team has been working flat out to make sure it doesn’t. I’m feeling relaxed, I’m feeling confident and I’m ready to win. I’ve got a good record at Abu Dhabi.
“Last year was actually the only time I’ve not started on the front row or finished on the podium. But I’ve also had some misfortune there over the years – particularly in 2012.”
Meanwhile, Red Bull debutant Daniel Ricciardo has had an encouraging season and is well priced at 2/1 for a podium finish, while Jenson Button, on his bow-out race is odds-on at 8/15 for a top six finish. It’s Hamilton’s to lose, though another Championship victory will increase his chances of winning the Sports Personality of the Year Award.