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Champion Hamilton can finish the season in style

Mercedes ace can master Yas Marina

Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton's rivalry has defined the season
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Abu Dhabi Grand Prix practice one
Channel 4 & Sky Sports F1, 9am Friday

In just a couple of days the 2017 F1 field will become museum pieces but the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend should provide a few more thrills and spills before the season ends.

Lewis Hamilton sealed the title in Mexico two races ago and after a weak finish to his last title-winning season in 2015 the Mercedes driver was determined to keep the pedal down in the run to the line this year.

It hasn't really worked out, as he limped home ninth in Mexico after a first-lap clash and could do no better than fourth in Brazil last time after a qualifying crash left him starting from the pitlane.

Hamilton won in Abu Dhabi last season despite driving as slowly as he could during the race in an attempt to back his teammate and championship rival Nico Rosberg into the pack.

The Stevenage ace has a superb record at Yas Marina and is odds-on for qualifying and the race. However, the 11-8 that he goes fastest in opening practice looks worth taking.

The drivers have been sharing the honours around in first practice this season, but Hamilton has headed the times at two of the last three races.

He has also been quickest out of the box in Abu Dhabi for the last three years and was second in P1 in 2013 back in the long-ago days when Mercedes didn't rule the roost.

Red Bull were a bit disappointing in Brazil, where Max Verstappen didn't come close to following up his Mexican victory.

They could easily be contenders again this weekend though, while Sao Paulo winner Sebastian Vettel will be keen to show what might have been if Ferrari's late-season wobble had not derailed his title challenge.

Recommendation
L Hamilton fastest in Practice one
2pts 11-8 Hills


Venue Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi
Number of laps 55
Lap length 5.554km
Lap record 1.40.279 S Vettel (Red Bull) 2009
Schedule – practice one 9am Friday; ­practice two 1pm Friday; practice three 10am Saturday; qualifying 1pm Saturday; race 1pm Sunday.
TV All live on Channel 4 & Sky Sports F1
Circuit characteristics The track is largely made up of long straights and tight corners, but overtaking has only been made possible by the advent of DRS. The race begins in daylight before the floodlights kick in midway through
DRS zones The two long back straights
Tyre allocation Soft (yellow), ­supersoft (red) & ultrasoft (purple)
Last five years winners (grid): L Hamilton (1), N Rosberg (1), ­Hamilton (2), S Vettel (2), K Raikkonen (4)
Last year Championship ­challenger Lewis Hamilton tried to back his ­teammate Nico Rosberg into the pack but the German held on to the second place he needed to take the title.
2016 pole L Hamilton, 1.38.755
2016 fastest lap L Hamilton, 1.43.729 on lap 43
2016 classified finishers 17/22
Reason for retirements Collision (1), mechanical (4)
Weather Sunny all weekend, 27C


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The Stevenage ace has a superb record at Yas Marina and is odds-on for qualifying and the race
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