The final round for the 2017 season of the Formula One World Championship was held at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Yas Island on November 26 and The Caravan was there to cover it. Reporter Mohamed Mekawy filed this report.
This was the 20th grand prix in a nine-month championship that started on March 26th in Australia and ended Sunday November 26 in Abu Dhabi.
Finnish racer Valtteri Bottas won the race for the Mercedes team and was followed by his teammate Lewis Hamilton and competitor Sebastian Vettel for Ferrari.
Guests of the event were ushered to stay at the Viceroy Hotel at the island on Friday November 24 with a view overlooking the track so they could clearly watch the proceedings from the comfort of their rooms.
The key here is not to win this particular grand prix but to gain enough points to win the whole nine-month season. British racer, Hamilton dominated the competition by winning
The World Driver’s Championship at a total of 363 points, followed by Vettel at 317 and Bottas at 305.
The final race took place on the Yas Marina circuit in Yas Island at sunset but this was the last step in a series of free practices and qualifiers.
The free practice and qualifying sessions are set to determine the grid order of the cars in the race and the driver with best qualifying time gains not only the best time but the best position for the start of the actual race.
This position, named the pole position allows drivers with the best time to get a lead on their competition.
The qualifier and practice sessions were held earlier on Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning but were very vital in deciding the position of the drivers on the grid.
On Friday, a dinner was held overlooking the practice sessions at the Viceroy Hotel where distinguished guests and sponsors could view the sessions while dining and mingling.
Louis Gachot son of Hype Energy mogul Bertrand Gachot was one of the sponsors that were present. Gachot is currently a rising star in the French F4 circuit and was glad to attend the proceedings stating that “it’s been a good season for Hamilton and I’m hoping to see an interesting race on Sunday”.
The event was not limited to drivers and sponsors as well but Extreme Sports Enthusiast Shady Beshr was also in attendance and his predictions for the race on Sunday were interesting.
“We’re not just talking about drivers here, we are talking about cars and Ferrari is clearly superior. Vettel is going to surprise us all in the race, I’m sure of it.”
On Sunday, guests were invited to view the race aboard a yacht and sponsor Etihad Airways performed an air show where the colors of the Emirati flag were air-streamed overhead.
The race commenced at sun down where the weather was suitable for the cars to speed round the track. With 55 laps on a 5 km track, Bottas having won the pole position in the qualifiers was able to keep his position throughout, with Hamilton following him and challenging him for first place a couple of times.
However, Bottas maintained his distance and pace and did not lose his position throughout his whole race time of 1hr 34 mins. Although the race was a finale to a fairly long season it failed to impress F1 enthusiasts who believed it to be lacking.
In a statement on twitter Martin Brundle an expert on Formula 1 likened the race to a “nil-nil football score” stating that “not a whole lot happened”.
Hamilton who was trying to overtake his teammate throughout the entirety of the race also expressed his frustration with the tracks as being “one of the harder tracks to overtake” in a statement to ESPN.
Other racers also shared the same opinion Max Verstappen of team Redbull who came in 5th stated “for me that was a pretty boring race, if I had a pillow in the car I could have fallen asleep. I tried to follow Kimi at the start but it’s so hard at this track and I couldn’t find an opportunity to pass. As soon as you get within 1.5 seconds it is really tough to get close and make a pass”.
Many of the racers shared dislike to this end of the season race but remained hopeful for the next season.
Formula 1 now takes a three-month break before pre-season testing for the upcoming season starting on February 26, 2018.