As Lewis Hamilton cruised to victory in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, it would be fair to wonder why he would ever contemplate the prospect of racing for a new team.

The Mercedes driver led from start to finish, recorded the fastest lap and won by a gap of over 16 seconds to Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

It was his 11th victory of 2019, matching his personal best total in a season, and was a win that came with his sixth Formula One drivers' title long since secured.

The final gap in the title race was a massive 87 points over team-mate Valtteri Bottas, with Verstappen, the closest driver from an opposing team, ending up out of sight at 135 adrift.

Mercedes made an emphatic start with eight straight wins and while they were challenged by Ferrari and Red Bull in the middle of the campaign, they recovered to win five of the last six.

Hamilton was in a class of his own on race days, especially considering the pole he claimed at Yas Marina Circuit – a traditionally strong track for Mercedes – was his first in 10 races.

He goes into 2020, the final year of his current contract, as the clear favourite to triumph once more, with Michael Schumacher's record of seven titles now tantalisingly close.

Hamilton is loved by Mercedes, has the best car and a team-mate in Bottas who, unlike his spell alongside Nico Rosberg, has steered clear of controversy and would struggle to beat him over a 22-race slate.

Why then is the possibility of a move to Ferrari in 2021 even on the agenda? The next contract Hamilton signs could be his last and it is one that may prove legacy defining.

He is 34 but eager to continue for a few seasons yet, leading the sport into its new era of technical regulations, which come into play the year after next.

Hamilton's talent and achievements have not always been properly appreciated, nor his mental strength and competitiveness that often lifts him above rivals.

He has been booed by Ferrari supporters, while his personality has not always proved endearing to prospective admirers.

Earlier this year, Toto Wolff expressed his surprise that Hamilton is not more revered in his home country, the United Kingdom, in comparison to other sporting greats.

It is one of many factors that must make joining Ferrari, the sport's most popular team, tempting.

Ahead of the season-ending race in Abu Dhabi, Mattia Binotto openly discussed his happiness at the possible availability of Hamilton.

Hamilton has repeatedly said he wants to see what close confidant Wolff does before deciding on his own future and explained after Sunday's win he would think about his options.

Asked about rumours he met with Ferrari president John Elkann, Hamilton said: "Everything that happens behind closed doors is obviously always private.

"But I think for many, many years, I've never, ever sat down and considered other options, because we've been just driving straight ahead into the path and journey that we've been on.

"It's only smart and wise for me to sit and think of what I want if it is the last period in my career. I want to keep winning and being able to fight with these guys. I can't really tell you what else is going to happen moving forwards."

With Sebastian Vettel's performances showing signs of decline it is Charles Leclerc, Ferrari's rising star, who would likely be Hamilton's team-mate. 

Leclerc said after the race he would welcome the challenge of having Hamilton in the same team, a move which could mean Verstappen – the other man set to lead F1's next generation – could fulfil his mooted move to Mercedes as their new number one.

Verstappen could alternatively continue to lead Red Bull if they show sufficient progress next year, but either way the 2021 grid would be a fascinating picture, with Alex Albon, Lando Norris and George Russell the other young stars in the mix for top drives.

It remains the most likely scenario that Hamilton remains with Mercedes and helps them to extend their unprecedented run of six consecutive driver and constructor doubles. He added to his comments on Ferrari by saying he still loves life with the team.

It would undoubtedly be a risk to leave that comfort and winning culture to join Ferrari, who have not produced a drivers' title since 2007, while pitting himself directly against rising star Leclerc.

But Hamilton must ponder how complete his career would be if he joins and wins with Ferrari.

The Briton has openly wondered how it would feel to have the Ferrari faithful roaring him on at Monza and ending the Scuderia's title drought would see his popularity rocket.

He timed his difficult decision to leave McLaren well in 2013 and another opportunity now presents itself.

Hamilton could end his career having seen off a daunting team-mate in Leclerc, surpassed Schumacher's now attainable records of world titles and race wins while winning the championship with a third different team.

If he does that, he would have a compelling case to stand clear of Ayrton Senna and Schumacher to be considered as the greatest driver of all time.

Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel will start the 2020 Formula One season as equals, according to Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto.

Binotto accepted the picture has changed after a campaign that saw Leclerc finish ahead of the four-time world champion in the drivers' standings, claiming seven pole positions and two race victories.

Vettel, by contrast, had two poles and one race win, finishing 2019 in fifth place, 24 points adrift of his younger team-mate.

Tension between the two drivers over strategy simmered during the season and flared up as recently at the penultimate race of the year in Brazil, where a collision between them led to a double retirement.

But Binotto vowed they would be free to battle each other next year, praising Leclerc for his superb start to life with the Scuderia.

"Obviously now we just finished the season and there will be time from now to Australia, but when we started this season, the situation was quite different," Binotto told Sky Sports.

"We had a rookie and an experienced driver. If you look at the last races they were free to race and I think that is where we start from [in 2020].

"Charles surprised everybody, not only myself. He is very fast, he has proved to manage the pressure and proved to manage the entire season.

"He's good in battling, he's good in racing, so we are very happy with him. His season has been outstanding. 

"Starting seven times on pole, two victories, on his very first year and finishing ahead of Sebastian in the championship, it's still an achievement."

Ferrari ended second in the constructors' championships but only three race wins seemed like a low return for a car that was quickest on multiple circuits, as emphasised by their qualifying results.

"We did our best each time but obviously we are unhappy for the performance of the car and unhappy for some mistakes we did, for reliability problems we had, and maybe some decisions," said Binotto.

"We've now got some time ahead and we are trying at least to create some solid foundations with the team, with our organisation, and eventually try to challenge the others in a better way next year."

The first of 22 races on the 2020 schedule will be the the Australian Grand Prix on March 15.

Lewis Hamilton says he loves Mercedes and has not held talks with Ferrari but the Formula One champion is open to considering his future for 2021.

Murmurings of a blockbuster switch from Mercedes to rivals Ferrari emerged this year as Hamilton cruised to his sixth drivers' championship, a third in a row.

The Briton is set to line up with the Silver Arrows once again for the next campaign, yet the possibility of a move at the end of 2020 remains.

And the subject was brought up at a post-race news conference as Hamilton reflected on his season-ending victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday.

The 34-year-old suggested Mercedes chief Toto Wolff's future could impact his own, although he insisted any decision would be based on his continued desire for success on the track.

Asked if he had met with Ferrari president John Elkann, Hamilton replied: "Well, naturally, everything that happens behind closed doors is obviously always private with whoever it is you end up sitting with.

"But I think for many, many years, I've never, ever sat down and considered other options, because we've been just driving straight ahead into the path that we've been on and the journey that we've been on.

"And to be honest, I still think we're on that path and I think there's very little that's going to shift it from that.

"But I know Toto is also looking at his options in terms of his future, and only he will know what is the best thing for him and his family. So I'm waiting to see what he's doing with that.

"I love where I am, so it's definitely not a quick decision to do something else, but of course I think it's only smart and wise for me to sit and think of what I want if it is the last period or stage in my career.

"Actually, I want to keep winning, I want to keep being able to fight with these guys as well. I can't really tell you what else is going to happen moving forwards."

Scuderia star Charles Leclerc was asked if he would welcome Hamilton as a team-mate the season after next.

He replied: "Well, of course. At the end, we are in Formula One and we want to fight against the best.

"I've had a big opportunity this year to have Seb [Vettel] next to me, who is a four-time world champion, and I've learned a lot from him.

"You can always learn from this type of champion, so, yes, of course [I would welcome Hamilton]."

Charles Leclerc kept his third-placed finish at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix but Ferrari were fined €50,000 for "an inaccurate fuel declaration" for the 22-year-old's SF90.

Stewards highlighted a discrepancy in the car ahead of Sunday's race, although the investigation was delayed until after the event.

Leclerc subsequently finished third, behind Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

The FIA then discovered there had been a difference of 4.88 kilograms between what Ferrari declared and what it had measured for Leclerc's car.

It was deemed Ferrari had breached the rules but only the team were sanctioned, with Leclerc remaining in P3.

Sebastian Vettel does not believe Ferrari's 2019 season was as bad as their massive gap to Mercedes made it look.

The Scuderia were widely expected to mount a serious challenge to the continued dominance of the Silver Arrows this season.

However, Charles Leclerc and Vettel finished fourth and fifth in the drivers' championship, again won by Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton.

Mercedes won the constructors' championship by 235 points from Ferrari, who were victorious in only three races as Hamilton prevailed in 11 and Bottas took the chequered flag in four.

Four-time world champion Vettel crossed the line fifth in the season-ending race in Abu Dhabi, which was won comfortably by Hamilton from pole.

Vettel - whose sole triumph came in Singapore - told reporters: "We didn't have the year we were hoping for full stop. The reasons are clear, the lessons are clear and it's up to us to take them on board.

"As a team we must perform stronger, and as a individual I can do better it wasn't a great year from my side.

"I don't think it was as bad it looks as there were many small things...

"But I know that I can do better and that's for sure the target for next year and hopefully we get a stronger package to fight at the front with Mercedes and Red Bull."

Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton says he feels "privileged" to be the subject of a challenge from Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, yet the Red Bull and Ferrari men are aiming for better in 2020.

Hamilton won the final grand prix of the season in Abu Dhabi, finishing the campaign 87 points clear of Mercedes team-mate and nearest contender Valtteri Bottas in the drivers' championship standings.

Yet Verstappen and Leclerc, both 22, joined Hamilton on the podium on Sunday and look to represent the greatest threat to his crown heading into next year.

The Briton, now a 250-race veteran, is relishing the test as he enjoys taking on the sport's top prospects.

"These guys, there's a lot yof oungsters coming through," Hamilton said, referring to his two rivals.

"It's great to be in a period of time where there's lots of youngsters coming through, and I'm privileged to be here while they come through."

Verstappen finished the season third in the standings, 135 points back, with Leclerc fourth and a further 14 behind the Dutchman.

A true title challenge has not quite yet materialised for the more experienced Red Bull man, but he said: "To be P3 in the championship was a nice ending.

"We are all working hard, but it's good to take some time off and be with family and friends and come back stronger next year."

Leclerc pipped Ferrari colleague Sebastian Vettel in the table in his first year with the Scuderia.

He added: "I'm extremely happy about this year. I've learned a huge amount thanks to Seb.

"It's been a great year, a realisation of the dream since I was child to be with Ferrari and in Formula One, and it's up to me to get better and give them the success they deserve."

Lewis Hamilton ended another title-winning Formula One season by cruising to victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

In his 250th grand prix, Mercedes' six-time world champion qualified on pole for the first time since July's German Grand Prix and eased clear of the field to claim an easy victory at the Yas Marina Circuit.

It marked Hamilton's 11th triumph of the campaign in a race where there was little on the line for most on the grid.

Max Verstappen was second to ensure he finished third in the drivers' championship, with Charles Leclerc completing the podium, though Ferrari were due to meet with the stewards after the race over a fuel discrepancy in his car.

Even if his third-place finish does not stand, Leclerc will still end the season higher up the standings than Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who took sixth in the race.

Valtteri Bottas, who already had second in the championship secured, started from the back of the grid but worked his way up to fourth.

Due to a technical issue, DRS was not available until lap 18, though overtaking was not an issue for most, and Leclerc got past Verstappen soon after a start in which Hamilton never came under threat.

Verstappen was not satisfied with his engine power throughout the race, but it was he and Leclerc who produced the most entertaining battle of the race on lap 33.

It ended with the Red Bull driver getting his revenge on Leclerc, who was unable to provide a response.

Bottas ran out of laps to catch Leclerc and pip him to the third spot on the podium, with the Finn also denied the fastest-lap bonus point by Hamilton. Alex Albon was fifth, ahead of Vettel, with Sergio Perez seventh and Lando Norris eighth.

Nico Hulkenberg could not finish his final race for Renault in the points despite going into the last lap in 10th. Carlos Sainz took the last points place as Hulkenberg ended up 12th.

Lewis Hamilton is relishing another battle with Max Verstappen as he looks to claim an 11th Formula One victory of a 2019 campaign that concludes with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. 

Sunday's race will see Mercedes bid for a sixth consecutive race win at Yas Marina Circuit, Hamilton having come out on top in three of the last five editions.

The world champion earned the 88th pole position of his illustrious career in qualifying, the first time he has topped the grid in his last 10 attempts.

Hamilton was ecstatic to end that barren run in the 21st and final race of the year and has put himself in prime position to add a win which would equal the personal best season tally he previously recorded in 2014 and 2018.

Valtteri Bottas qualified second but will start at the back after taking a host of engine penalties, meaning Verstappen, who won in Brazil last time out, will renew his combat with Hamilton from Interlagos on the front row.

Asked about continuing their scrap, Hamilton said: "Absolutely, yeah. 

"I think we are in a slightly better position this weekend. Obviously, Max is continuing to drive well, but I'm looking forward to battling with him for sure.

"It's been such a long slog trying to get this pole position. I don't think my qualifying has been terrible but it's just not been at my usual standard perhaps, so of course it's incredibly satisfying. 

"Obviously that's not even half the job done. We've got to battle with the Ferraris and the Red Bulls but I think we put ourselves in the best position possible, so incredibly happy. 

"We just really tried to see what we could pull out of the car this weekend. It's well suited to the track and it's been feeling good."

Verstappen vowed to challenge Hamilton but is aware he faces a tough task due to Mercedes' strength at this track.

"I don't think it's going to be easy, but we are going to give it a good try as a team, try and put them under pressure and see what happens," said the Dutchman, who was 0.360s off Hamilton's track-record pole time.

"We always know that Mercedes are very quick on the long runs. You have to be realistic and I think Mercedes is very quick. But there's still a lot of chances for Sunday.

"Qualifying was pretty decent. We seem to lack a bit of grip compared to [Mercedes] and they are especially very quick in the last sector. They are always very dominant here on this track but we tried to be as close as we could."


LECLERC WILL TAKE RISKS

In the last 10 races in Abu Dhabi, where overtaking is difficult, only once has a driver starting behind the front row won, when Kimi Raikkonen triumphed from fourth in 2012.

The all-Ferrari second row of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel therefore have their work cut out after suffering more frustration following their crash in Brazil.

Leclerc, following Vettel, could not cross the line in time to set a final flying lap in Q3. He initially blamed his German team-mate for driving slowly, though the four-time world champion was also hindered by traffic.

The Monegasque, trailing Verstappen by 11 points in the fight to finish third in the drivers' championship, has vowed to take chances, though he also has fifth-placed Vettel just 19 behind him.

Asked if he could win, Leclerc said: "Yes, definitely, and I will take quite a bit of risk at the start. 

"I need to take some risk; I need to finish in front of Max for the championship and in the end I will give it all.

"We'll analyse it [qualifying] and try to understand for it to not happen again, because it's a big shame."

Three-time Abu Dhabi winner Vettel, who will start on soft tyres in contrast to mediums for the two Mercedes, Red Bulls and Leclerc, also had his say on the disappointing qualifying finish.

The German, who arrived to the circuit late this week after the birth of his third child, said: "Alex Albon was backing up because he had a McLaren in front of him. I don't know who was in front of the McLaren or whether the McLaren could be closer.

"It was just a pity because my tyres were very cold to start with and I lost it straight in the first corner and Charles didn't even start the lap."

Team boss Mattia Binotto conceded Ferrari had "screwed up" trying to take a risk by being the last cars out to take advantage of improving track conditions.
 

BOTTAS SETTING NO LIMITS

Bottas, meanwhile, insisted anything was possible after a retirement last time out ended a run of four straight podiums.

"Everything is always possible," said the Finn. "There's no point for me to set any limit really. Take every opportunity there will be and for sure there will be some. 

"We've seen crazy races this year – look back two weeks in Brazil. So anything is possible. Look forward to coming up and taking those opportunities and most importantly having fun in the car.

"We'll find the fighting spirit. I believe. Anything is possible. We do have a good car and normally Sunday is better than Saturday for us so we'll give it all I have for sure.

"We've had many ideas for the strategy and obviously it's going to be a challenge, coming up from there – but I do look forward to it. I'm sure it can be fun trying to come up."
 

LAST HURRAH FOR HULKENBERG?

The performance of Renault's Nico Hulkenberg will also be closely watched.

Replaced by Esteban Ocon for 2020 and with all other drives now taken, the German will start what may ultimately prove his last F1 race in ninth position as Renault look to hold off Toro Rosso for fifth in the constructors' championship.

"When I got in the car, it was business as usual," said the 32-year-old, who aims to return in the future. 

"We still have the job in the constructors, which is very important. I just want to live it, enjoy it, get it done."
 

THE GRID

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
3. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
4. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
5. Alex Albon (Red Bull)
6. Lando Norris (McLaren)
7. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault)
8. Carlos Sainz (McLaren)
9. Nico Hulkenberg (Renault)
10. Sergio Perez (Racing Point)

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2018: Lewis Hamilton
2017: Valtteri Bottas
2016: Lewis Hamilton
2015: Nico Rosberg

DRIVER STANDINGS

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 387
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 314 (-73)
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 260 (-127)
4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 249 (-138)
5. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 230 (-157)

CONSTRUCTOR STANDINGS

1. Mercedes 701
2. Ferrari 479 (-222)
3. Red Bull 391 (-310)
4. McLaren 140 (-561)
5. Renault 91 (-610)

WEATHER FORECAST 

Sunday's race is expected to be hot, with temperatures of up to 27 degrees Celcius, with no threat of rain or high winds.

Lewis Hamilton revelled in an "extra special" pole position in the final grand prix of the Formula One season in Abu Dhabi as he ended his qualifying drought.

The world champion had not claimed pole since the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim in July.

However, he ended his wait in some style at the Yas Marina circuit on Saturday, his time of one minute and 34.779 seconds setting a new track record.

His Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas was second, though he will start from the back due to a grid penalty.

Hamilton, who will instead have Max Verstappen for company on the front row, said afterwards: "It was such a long slog trying to get this pole position in and we just kept out heads down and the guys have done a great job.

"Yesterday was quite wobbly so I had to re-compose myself and had to come back today and re-focus. I managed to dial in the car with the hard work of the engineers.

"Valtteri 2.0 has been rapid, especially this weekend. To end the qualifying season with a pole and to say goodbye to this car with a pole, is extra special."

Bottas added: "As a team it has been a really strong day, we've had good pace, it didn't feel as good today as yesterday but I think Lewis made some good improvements.

"In any case I'm going to start last and we will find the fighting spirit tomorrow. I believe, anything is possible, we have a very good car. Sunday is normally stronger for us and we'll give it all we have."

 

Lewis Hamilton claimed his first pole position in 10 grands prix as he topped the timesheets with a scintillating effort ahead of the season finale in Abu Dhabi.

Hamilton had not secured pole since the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim but he set a new track record of one minute and 34.779 seconds at the Yas Marina Circuit.

His performance led a Mercedes one-two, though his team-mate Valtteri Bottas - who was 0.194s behind - will start from the back of the grid due to a penalty for going over the engine limit.

Max Verstappen will instead join Hamilton on the front row after he qualified in third for Red Bull, with his team-mate Alexander Albon classified in sixth. 

Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel were fourth and fifth in the classification and will share the second row, though their qualifying debrief will likely be dominated by discussion over the former not crossing the line in time for a final flying lap.

Vettel was ahead of Leclerc on the track but driving slowly, preventing the Monegasque a run at a potential spot on the front row.

"We are not going to make it - Seb is slowing down," Leclerc said over team radio.

Lando Norris was seventh for McLaren, producing a superior qualifying result to team-mate Carlos Sainz - who was ninth – to win their qualifying battle 11-10 for the season.

Renault's Daniel Ricciardo qualified eighth, with Nico Hulkenberg rounding off the provisional top 10 for the French team in his last race for the team.

Racing Point's Sergio Perez was 11th and will move into the top 10 as a result of Bottas' penalty.

 

Sebastian Vettel conceded he had a lucky escape after spinning out of control during Friday's first practice session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Vettel lost control on Turn 19 - a corner team-mate Charles Leclerc later had difficulty on - at the Yas Marina Circuit towards the end of FP1.

The rear of Vettel's car turned into the barrier, with the German subsequently losing some track time at the start of the second practice, for which his Ferrari was fitted with a new gearbox as a precautionary change.

"I knew that going in I would have to catch the rear, it didn’t quite work, so it was a bit unfortunate. But there was no damage other than the rim, so I got lucky," Vettel said.

"It was a bit of a surprise, I didn't expect to actually spin."

Leclerc also had trouble on Turn 19 in FP2, clipping the barrier while on a simulation lap on soft tyres and - like Vettel - the youngster was surprised at how quickly he lost control on the corner.

"The whole third sector is pretty difficult because it's overheating in the rear, but especially this corner," Leclerc said.

"As soon as you go a bit too wide, you lose a bit of grip, and I've been surprised by that."

The Ferrari duo finished in P3 and P4 behind Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, who was given a reprimand for his collision with Romain Grosjean during practice.

"The day started actually pretty badly for us. It was one of the hardest sessions of the year in terms of balance and overall quite a messy session," Leclerc said.

"But we worked very well between the sessions, and we gained quite a lot of performance for FP2. FP2 was pretty positive."

Valtteri Bottas will start the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the back of the grid as his Mercedes needs a new power unit. 

Bottas retired due to an engine problem at Interlagos last time out, the first occasion he has experienced a mechanical failure since the Austrian Grand Prix last year.

Mercedes on Thursday revealed that the internal combustion engine, turbocharger and MGU-H in the Finn's W10 would be replaced.

Bottas will have to work his way through the field at Yas Marina on Sunday after his record of being the only driver not to be given a grid penalty this season was ended.

The former Williams man claimed his fourth victory of the year in the United States before he was unable to finish the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Bottas is guaranteed to finish the season second in the driver standings behind team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

Meanwhile, Sebastian Vettel was excused from media duties on Thursday after being cleared to arrive in Abu Dhabi later in the day following the birth of his third child.

Vettel was still expected to have plenty of time to prepare for practice on Friday.

 

Max Verstappen has his sights set on the Formula One world title next season after learning valuable lessons in 2019.

The Red Bull star sits third in the standings heading into the season finale in Abu Dhabi, having won a third grand prix of the campaign in Brazil last time out.

That triumph at Interlagos represents part of a learning curve the team have been on which the Dutchman hopes will stand them in good stead going into next year.

"We learned a lot throughout the whole season – what went well and what we did wrong or didn't do so well," Verstappen told Sky Sports.

"We'll try to work over the winter of course to try and make everything better, the whole package.

"You can clearly see throughout the end of the year now [Red Bull have been strong], of course in general we have always been like that, but I really have a lot of confidence that it's not just now.

"I think we can really transform that into an early start next year. That's at least the target."

Asked if Red Bull can mount a title challenge and halt the dominance of Mercedes, the 22-year-old added: "That's what we are going for.

"You never know, so it's 50-50. It's yes or no.

"Already throughout the last few races we were really improving, so of course very pleased.

"Now one more race to go so we'll try to have a good weekend and try to finish it off with good feelings going into the winter break."

The 2019 Formula One season comes to a close this weekend with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

World champion Lewis Hamilton has had a year to remember and could still equal a personal best in terms of race victories if he takes the chequered flag at a venue where he has enjoyed success before.

Constructors champions Mercedes have the chance to match their own record, too, should Hamilton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas manage to claim a podium finish.

While the big prizes have already been won this year, Red Bull's Max Verstappen will be chasing a career high, while Ferrari will hope to avoid matching an unwanted feat last set in 1996.

Using Opta data, we look through the key stats ahead of the final race of the 2019 season in the United Arab Emirates.

 

4 - The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix takes place on December 1, the fourth-latest race in a Formula One year after the United States Grand Prix in 1959 (December 12), the South Africa Grand Prix in 1963 (December 28) and the 1962 in the same country (December 29).

3 - Lewis Hamilton has won three of the past five Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (2014, 2016 and 2018) although he has not managed to win back-to-back editions of the race. The only driver to have won in consecutive races at Yas Marina was Sebastian Vettel, for Red Bull, in the first two races in Abu Dhabi (2009 and 2010).

7 - Hamilton (four) and Vettel (three) have won seven out of 10 races in Abu Dhabi, also finishing top in qualifying six times overall.

1996 - Vettel and Charles Leclerc failed to finish the Brazilian Grand Pix after a collision. The last time two Ferrari drivers failed to finish back-to-back Grands Prix was in 1996 (three in a row).

5 - Mercedes have won the five Abu Dhabi races in the Hybrid Era (Hamilton has won three, Nico Rosberg and Valtteri Bottas once each).

33 - If Hamilton and Bottas finish on the podium, it would take Mercedes to 33 top-three finishes in 209, equalling the record for a single season they set back in 2016.

2 - After winning in Brazil, Red Bull could claim back-to-back grand prix victories for the first time since Daniel Ricciardo's wins in 2014 (Hungary and Belgium). McLaren, meanwhile, could secure consecutive podium finishes for the first time in the Hybrid Era.

11 - If Hamilton wins in Abu Dhabi, it will equal his best year for total wins in a Formula One season (his personal best is 11, set in 2014 and 2018).

7 - Of drivers to not win a world championship, only Ronnie Peterson (nine in 1973) has taken more pole positions in a year than Leclerc this season (seven, level with Juan Pablo Montoya in 2002).

9 - Only Niki Lauda in 1974 (nine) has taken more pole positions than Leclerc in a maiden season for Ferrari (seven).

3 - Red Bull's Max Verstappen has never won back-to-back races and also has the chance to record three podiums in a row for the first time this season. A top-three finish will secure third place in the drivers' standings for the 22-year-old, the best finish in his Formula One career.

Ferrari stars Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel have cleared the air after their crash in Brazil and know a repeat will not be tolerated, according to team principal Mattia Binotto.

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