Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen are all set for the final showdown of the 2021 Formula One season in Abu Dhabi which will determine who is crowned world champion.
The two drivers will go into the final Grand Prix level on 369.5 points after a gripping season in which the momentum has relentlessly swung between the pair.
Seven-time world champion Hamilton carries the momentum going into the race after securing a win at the event-filled Saudi Arabian Grand Prix last weekend.
And despite 24-year-old Verstappen winning in Abu Dhabi last year, changes to the track this year may play into his British rival’s hands come qualifying and race day.
The Yas Marina Circuit was opened in 2009 where it has hosted the final race of the season on the past seven occasions.
Hamilton has currently registered more wins at the track than any other driver (five) and could be helped further by adjustments to make it faster.
The three main areas which have been redesigned from previous years are the north hairpin (Turn-7), the south marina (beginning at Turn-11) and the hotel section (beginning at Turn-17).
Rather than the hard-braking corners it previously offered, the tweaks have resulted in the track offering huge sweeping turns.
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That will favour drivers when overtaking, something which has historically been a problem at the track.
Mercedes, which are understood to have the quicker car, are therefore expected to benefit while Verstappen has fewer corners to use his excellent race-craft on.
Qualifying is also expected to have a huge role in determining the winner of the race and therefore the championship due to only one past winner having not started on the front row.
Yet both drivers are expected to push to the very limit of their abilities as Hamilton pursues his record-extending eighth title and Verstappen eyes his very first championship.
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