Venue: Yas Marina Circuit
Mercedes have dominated the closing race of the Formula 1 calendar in recent years and Valtteri Bottas is backed to continue that trend in our Abu Dhabi Grand Prix predictions.
The Brackley-based team are seeking a fifth straight victory at Yas Marina and have enjoyed three successive one-two placings at this venue.
Bottas passed the chequered flag first here 12 months ago and gets the nod to oblige again at 9/2 in our Abu Dhabi Grand Prix betting tips.
Teammate Lewis Hamilton secured his 10th win of the season in Brazil earlier this month, but Bottas is still looking to break his duck for 2018.
However, the flying Finn deserves a change of fortune after being second on seven occasions, including when making way for the Briton in Russia.
Mercedes chief Toto Wolff has been celebrating a fifth consecutive drivers’ title and constructors’ championship double, but is eyeing one last hurrah.
He said: “We have one race to go in 2018 and we want to put on a great show for the fans who supported us through the season.
“The championship pressure is off, so we can look at this as one race where we can really go for broke.
“Our Silver Arrow has won 10 races so far this season and we all want to add one more to that score – especially Valtteri, who has lost out on wins through bad luck and team orders.”
How the Brazilian Grand Prix finished:
1 Hamilton (Mercedes), 2 Verstappen (Red Bull), 3 Raikkonen (Ferrari), 4 Ricciardo (Red Bull), 5 Bottas (Mercedes), 6 Vettel (Ferrari), 7 Leclerc (Sauber), 8 Grosjean (Haas), 9 Magnussen (Haas), 10 Perez (Force India), 11 Hartley (Toro Rosso), 12 Sainz (Renault), 13 Gasly (Toro Rosso), 14 Ocon (Force India), 15 Vandoorne (McLaren), 16 Sirotkin (Williams), 17 Alonso (McLaren), 18 Stroll (Williams), DNF Hulkenberg (Renault), Ericsson (Sauber)
Hamilton’s record in Abu Dhabi is predictably impressive, posting three wins and the same number of seconds from his last eight visits.
We’re hoping he repays Bottas for the favour in Sochi by settling for minor honours here but still think 3/2 for Mercedes to have both drivers on the podium is worth adding to our Abu Dhabi Grand Prix predictions.
Wolff added: “We have taken four wins in a row at Yas Marina, although it’s a track with a lot of slow and medium speed corners.
“We’ve made some good steps forward when it comes to our car’s performance on similar tracks.
“So we’re confident that we can perform strongly in Abu Dhabi as well, and end this incredible 2018 season on a high.”
Max Verstappen was robbed of victory in Brazil by a collision with Esteban Ocon and we fear there will be no quick compensation this week.
The 21-year-old Red Bull ace had been in complete control of the Interlagos race, following a fantastic performance in which he passed all four Mercedes and Ferrari cars.
However, Yas Marina does not play to Red Bull’s strengths and they have not had a driver on the podium here since 2013.
Verstappen admitted: “There are some long straights that do not really play to our strong points but we will try to make up for this in the twisty sectors.”
Past Abu Dhabi Grand Prix results:
2017 Bottas (Mercedes), Hamilton (Mercedes), Vettel (Ferrari)
2016 Hamilton (Mercedes), Rosberg (Mercedes), Vettel (Ferrari)
2015 Rosberg (Mercedes), Hamilton (Mercedes), Raikkonen (Ferrari)
2014 Hamilton (Mercedes), Massa (Williams), Bottas (Williams)
2013 Vettel (Red Bull), Webber (Red Bull), Rosberg (Mercedes)
2012 Raikkonen (Lotus), Alonso (Ferrari), Vettel (Red Bull)
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