Ten races. Four drivers’ titles decided. Here’s our best moments from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The final race of the 2019 Formula 1 season takes place from 29 November to 1 December at Yas Marina Circuit.
2009: The new home of Middle East racing makes its Formula 1 debut
The centrepiece of the $40bn Yas Island development project, the 21-turn Yas Marina Circuit was designed by Hermann Tilke and made its debut as the final race on the 2009 Formula 1 calendar. The hugely impressive facility, featuring the iconic Yas Hotel in the centre, would become the first ever day-night Grand Prix. Jenson Button may have already wrapped up the drivers’ title, but Sebastian Vettel gave everyone a taste of things to come with a dominant win for Red Bull ahead of teammate Mark Webber.
2010: Vettel comes out on top in 4-way title fight
A record four drivers were still in contention for the drivers’ title as Formula 1 arrived in Abu Dhabi for the final race of the 2010 season. Fernando Alonso (246 points) held a healthy advantage over his Red Bull Rivals (Mark Webber on 238 points and Sebastian Vettel on 231 points), while Lewis Hamilton was the rank outsider on 222 points. Sebastian Vettel hadn’t led the Championship all season, but took pole position and drove a flawless race as the title challenges of Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber faded into the midfield. Vettel won the race and became the youngest ever winner of the driver’s title at the age of 23 years, 134 days. Click here to watch the highlights.
2012: Kimi Räikkönen wins for Lotus
“Just leave me alone, I know what to do.” This was the famous line uttered on team radio by Kimi Räikkönen en route to a popular victory for Lotus at the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Finn capped off a successful comeback season after two years out of Formula 1 with victory at Yas Marina in a chaotic race that saw the Safety Car deployed twice. The first deployment came after Nico Rosberg and Narain Karthikeyan collided in spectacular fashion, launching the German through the air into the barriers. Watch the highlights here.
2014: Double points, Double World Champion
Double points were awarded for the first and only time at the 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The first year of the modern turbo-hybrid era had been dominated by Mercedes, with Lewis Hamilton and teammate Nico Rosberg the only drivers still in contention for the title going into the final race of the season at Yas Marina Circuit. Rosberg took pole position, but was beaten off the line by Hamilton. Rosberg’s challenge ended soon after with engine issues as Hamilton cruised to victory, claiming his second World Championship. On a side note, the press conference at Abu Dhabi in 2014 featured one of the longest questions ever asked in Formula 1, together with the perfect response from Sebastian Vettel.
2016: Rosberg beats Hamilton to the title
Two years later, Yas Marina hosted it’s fourth title decider. Once again, the main protagonists were the Mercedes pair of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. This time, however, it was the German driver who came out on top. Rosberg had a 12-point lead over Hamilton and only needed to finish on the podium to claim his maiden World Championship. After taking pole position, Hamilton controlled the race from the front and cruised to victory. Hamilton’s attempts to bunch up the field and get his teammate overtaken were ultimately futile as Rosberg finished second and claimed his maiden World Championship by 5 points. A week later, the German announced his retirement from Formula 1. Watch the highlights here.
2018: Farewell Fernando
The curtain fell on a great career last year as Fernando Alonso competed in his 312th and final Formula 1 race at Yas Marina Circuit. After a send-off from the F1 fraternity in the Paddock on Saturday night, the two-time World Champion was flanked by rivals Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel on the cool down lap after the race. The trio then performed some epic donuts on the Main Straight before the podium celebrations, sending the Spaniard off in some style. Watch the video as Alonso looks back on his F1 career.
Make your own history at the 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Get a select grandstand seat or access to the best trackside hospitality with an Official Ticket Package from F1 Experiences. Additional benefits include an Exclusive Pit Lane Walk, Guided Track Tour and special guest appearances by Alain Prost, Mark Webber and Kevin Magnussen.