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Formula 1: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Betting Preview

Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen goes in search of his 19th victory of the season at this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Abu Dhabi GP

Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen goes in search of his 19th victory of the season at this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Yas Marina was etched into the sport’s folklore in 2021 when ex-F1 race director Michael Masi made a crucial error when arranging a last-lap restart. Verstappen ultimately overtook Lewis Hamilton who was on older tyres and won his first world title.

The season finale takes place around the 5.2km track with the drivers’ and constructors’ titles wrapped up months ago by Verstappen and Red Bull respectively.

The fight is on to see whether Mercedes can hold onto second place in the constructors’ championship. The Brackley-based team has Ferrari breathing down their necks just four points adrift.

Four drivers, namely Carlos Sainz, Fernando Alonso, Lando Norris, and Charles Leclerc are separated by a dozen points in the drivers’ standings. The latter two drivers will be keen to score as many points as they can to leapfrog the two Spaniards.

The Track

Like many traditional circuits on the calendar, Yas Marina was designed by Hermann Tilke. The layout features nine right turns, and 12 left turns and is one of the few venues on the calendar to run in an anti-clockwise direction according to Mercedes F1.

Abu Dhabi is one of several night races and has been on the calendar since 2009. Interestingly, close to 4700 light fixtures are used to illuminate the track. They certainly help to show off the cars’ liveries.

The longest flatout section of the track is 1233m with around 56 gear changes required. 63% of the track is driven at full throttle and it has a high downforce level.

Who Are The Favourites?

Verstappen is the overwhelming favourite to win the race at 1.25. He has been in stupendous form and is currently on a six-race winning streak. Leclerc and Norris at 15.00 are decent odds if something interferes with Verstappen’s race. Both those drivers are in good form with Leclerc particularly strong in Las Vegas last weekend.

Norris has spearheaded McLaren’s revival in the second half of the season, and he’ll be hoping to end off 2023 with more points in the bag. The Briton said: “It’s been a rollercoaster of a season. From where we started to where we are is all the result of a lot of people’s hard work. It’s only right for us to go and do our best to finish the season with more points for the team. Let’s go.”

Norris’ teammate Oscar Piastri has easily been the best-performing rookie this year and arguably one of the grid’s top-performing drivers. He has scored 89 points this season so far and featured on the podium twice. He too is looking forward to racing under the Arabian stars: “2023 has been fast paced in so many ways and it’s been a great year of steep learning for me. Some of the results I’ve had will remain with me forever, and the team and I are looking forward to finishing off the season with the best result possible. It’s the final push and the sensational spirit within the racing team and back at the factory will get us over the line.”

Look out for strong performances from Alonso, Perez and Hamilton. The trio has lots of experience at this track and that will come to the fore as tyre graining affects performance.


Winner – Verstappen
Podium – Verstappen, Leclerc, Norris
Fastest lap: Hamilton
Pole position: Leclerc
First to retire: Sargeant
Most Team Points: Ferrari
Both Cars Qualify for Q3 Shootout: McLaren
Practice 1/2/3 Winning Car: Verstappen/ Red Bull
Safety Car: Yes
Top 6: Russell, Ocon, Gasly
Top 10: Albon, Hulkenberg, Tsunoda, Ricciardo
Winning margin: Between 5 and 10 seconds

Sean Parker is a motorsport journalist and sports content creator at The South African. He has worked for the country's premier motoring publications, and is a Formula 1 contributor to, the Bet Central podcast, and Vision View Sports radio.

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