Raikkonen vs Perez for the final podium spot could be a titanic battle. With Bottas qualifying further down the grid than expected in sixth, Raikkonen has a perfect chance to secure fourth place in the championship and the title of “best of the Finns”. With just two podiums (Bahrain and Singapore) to his name in 2015, Raikkonen will be eager to end 2015 on a high by beating his teammate to the champagne, but there might just be an obstacle standing in his path. Perez has been in stunning form all weekend and lost out to Raikkonen by just over a tenth of second in Q3. Coming to end of what has been an incredible season for the young Mexican (still just 25 years old), a second podium would cap off an incredible year for both Perez and Force India. Perez admitted after FP3 that Force India’s race pace isn’t as good as their qualifying speed in Abu Dhabi, but on the pit wall, hopes will be high for a repeat of Russia.
Toro Rosso’s young pair Sainz and Verstappen have enjoyed an mesmerizing debut season, and they line up 10th and 11th on the grid for tomorrow’s race. Whilst Verstappen has shone at virtually every race this year, Sainz has been unfortunate with reliability problems in the sister Toro Rosso but has proved himself more than a match for young Max when both cars have made it to the finish. With Toro Rosso chasing sixth place in the constructors table, a straight fight to the finish between Sainz and Verstappen should be a real treat to watch. Throw in the McLaren of Button starting in 12th, whose car seems to be enjoying a stronger than usual weekend, the battle for 10th place could become very interesting indeed.
The Yas Marina Circuit is a fitting stage for a Formula One season finale. There can be no denying that Abu Dhabi is a spectacular setting for the final round of any F1 season. From the cars streaking into the Middle Eastern sunset, to the winning car taking the checkered flag under shining white floodlights the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is right up there with any sporting event in the calendar. Unlike many of Tilke’s modern circuits which have attracted criticism from drivers, pundits and fans alike, Yas Marina manages to escape such scrutiny because of it’s sheer magnificence and glamour. Although I’m sure the drivers and teams won’t completely feel it, the race has an end of season party feel to it and we can only hope for an action packed race tomorrow to ring in the end of 2015.