The title will be decided between the Dutch Max Verstappen (Red Bull) and the English Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), who come tied on points (369.5).
Abu Dhabi will decide for the fourth time a Formula One World Cup, this time between the Dutch Max Verstappen (Red Bull) and the English Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), which arrive tied on points (369.5) at Yas Marina, the circuit that next Sunday will host the twenty-second and last race of the year.
Yas Marina, a circuit that initially exceeded five and a half kilometers and which will now be 5,281 meters (after adjustments such as the elimination of the chicane at the beginning and the widening of the hairpin of Turn 7), debuted in the World Championship in 2009. The winner that night was the German Sebastian Vettel (now at Aston Martin), who a year later would celebrate the first of his four world titles, all of them with Red Bull.
That 2010 title was the first to be decided in Abu Dhabi., the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). That year, the Spanish Fernando Alonso was leading (with 246 points) at the last round of the 2010 World Cup in his first season at Ferrari. Second was Sebastian Vettel (238) and third was the Australian Mark Webber (231). The Asturian double world champion (2005 and 2006, with his current team, then renamed Renault) did not pass the seventh place due to a strategy error by the Scuderia, Vettel being the pilot who would end up establishing himself as the youngest champion in history, 23 years old.
The second time the World Cup was decided in the UAE capital was in 2014, with the controversial scoring system that gave double value to that race and was never used again. There Hamilton won his second title -the first dates from 2008, with McLaren-, beating his German teammate Nico Rosberg. The Englishman was leading and would have taken the title anyway, because he won the race and the son of the legendary Keke Rosberg could only be fourteenth.
The German would take revenge two years later, in 2016; the third time a pilot was crowned at Yas Marina. Rosberg arrived with 12 points of advantage and it was enough to be second, behind his English colleague, to become world champion. Five days before announcing his withdrawal.
A season earlier, in 2015, Hamilton had already mathematically scored the championship in the United States, when there were still three other tests to go, on the track in the Emirates. Three runs scored by Rosberg.
Hamilton raised his record for victories at Yas Marina to five by winning in 2018 and 2019, when he entered Abu Dhabi with the World Cup resolved in his favor; as in 2017, when his Finnish partner Valtteri Bottas prevailed.
Last year, when the spectacular and eccentric Stevenage champion had already equaled German Michael Schumacher’s seven crowns, Verstappen, who aims to avoid an unprecedented eighth Hamilton title on Sunday, achieved his only triumph in Abu Dhabi.
It has been 47 years since two drivers have not reached the last race with the same points, in which an F1 World Cup will be decided for the twenty-ninth time. It was in 1974, when, in the United States, the Brazilian Emerson Fittipaldi captured his second title, after undoing in his favor the tie that linked him to another myth, the Swiss Clay Regazzoni.
This time the emotion is joined by the controversy; which follows from the possibility that, in the event that neither contender scores points, Verstappen will be champion. Therefore, in the event of a hypothetical accident that leaves both of them out of the race, the young Dutch star would benefit from Yas Marina. (D)
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