F1 Power Rankings: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

No matter how boring the race might be, all eyes will be on the two championship leaders. With a 12 point lead in the championship, all Nico Rosberg needs is a podium to win the championship. For Lewis, he needs more luck than skill to win the title. No one expects the Red Bulls to factor into the championship battle except Christian Horner but Lewis needs two Red Bulls between he and Nico to have a prayer.

So while the F1 Power Rankings take the grid for the final time this season, the Rankings won’t directly try to predict the outcome of the championship, just the race. But the Rankings’ favour the Championship leader.

#1 Lewis Hamilton
Lewis doesn’t acknowledge Nico in his pre-race quotage. Lovely team dynamic: “It’s not been a perfect season and I’m faced with pretty impossible odds no matter what I do this weekend. But I can’t and won’t give up. You never know what might happen – however unlikely it may seem. I’ll be proud of myself and what I’ve achieved as long as I feel I’ve given my all and performed at my best.”

#2 Nico Rosberg
For Nico, there’s less pressure on him but it’s not like he doesn’t know that a career defining moment is on the line: “I have to treat this like any other race. Doing a good job on a Grand Prix weekend is always a challenge. Nothing in this sport is easy, so this won’t be any different and I still have to go all out for a good result… The closer it gets, the more I’m feeling excited. It will be a big battle and hopefully the fans will get a great show to end the year.”

#3 Max Verstappen

#4 Daniel Ricciardo

#5 Kimi Raikkonen

#6 Sebastian Vettel

#7 Sergio Perez
Checo talks about the emotions of the final race of a particular season: “You always get a bit nostalgic at the end of the season. You know it’s the last time you’re going to drive your VJM09 and you don’t know what the next season will bring. I want to go into the winter with special memories from the final race.”

#8 Nico Hulkenberg
The Hulk is doing this team exit thing properly: “The final race of the season is always special, but this year even more so. It will be my final race with the team, so it will be emotional to work with the crew and the other team members for one last time. People move around teams a lot in Formula One, so I know it’s a goodbye and not a farewell. I want to enjoy this last race together and make sure it turns into a celebration.”

#9 Valtteri Bottas
#BO77AS doesn’t seem too arsed about this one: “Abu Dhabi is a nice place to finish the Formula One season. The facilities are great there and it seems like more and more people come to this race every year… Normally it’s a good track for our car because of the long straights and short corners and chicanes, so I look forward to it.”

#10 Fernando Alonso
Apparently the drivers like the spectacle of a twilight race: “I enjoy racing in Abu Dhabi every year. Not just because it’s become synonymous with the end of the season, but there’s a unique atmosphere… From the cockpit, it’s incredible to race at twilight and watch the light fade as you complete lap after lap. It brings a new dimension to the spectacle and makes the whole weekend really enjoyable.”

#11 Felipe Massa
The emotional conclusion to Phil’s career was in Brazil but the final race is this weekend: “It’s going to be another emotional one! You try not think about it too much when you’re in the car, you just try to do as good a job as you can… I really hope the final, and 250th race of my Formula One career, can be a fantastic one. We will of course have a big party! Hopefully we can celebrate with a great result.”

#12 Jenson Button
Jenson is also retiring without calling it retiring this weekend: “I’m really looking forward to this weekend, and have been for a few races now… It’s not the end of my career with McLaren-Honda, but it’s the start of a new phase that I’m incredibly positive about. This race marks the culmination of a huge amount of hard work, dedication and passion for the sport that I love and I’m immensely proud of everything I’ve achieved in the past 17 seasons, and the fantastic progress we’ve made over the past couple of years with McLaren-Honda.”

#13 Carlos Sainz

#14 Daniil Kvyat

#15 Romain Grosjean
Romain reflects on Haas’ debut season: “It’s been a great season. Joining the team for its first year was something special. I wanted to be the first person to score points for the team and a top-five… For a first year, it’s been a very exciting journey. There have been ups and downs for sure but, generally, I’m very proud of everything we’ve done.”

#16 Kevin Magnussen
I’m not suggesting that Renault management or PR aren’t happy with K-Mag for leaving the team for Haas but his pre-race PR quotage is one-word answers. It’s not his fault that Renault wanted to replace the entire driver lineup and he went for job security by jumping ship to Haas. At least he’s getting a longer run in F1 than one season.

#17 Jolyon Palmer
JoPal talks about his newly found job security: “I’m really very happy to be continuing with the team, especially as it will be for my third season working with Enstone. I’ve learnt a lot this year and I think the second half of this year has been pretty strong. I enjoying working with everyone in the team and I know we’re going places in the future.”

#18 Esteban Gutierrez
Steve may not be unemployed next season but he won’t be racing with Haas next year: “It’s been a very nice experience, but with a lot of challenges. There were some very difficult days for the mechanics, working day and night for quite a lot of time, the engineers as well. Being a new team, you don’t have a lot of people that you can really rotate, so it was quite a challenge for everybody, but also for myself.”

#19 Felipe Nasr
PHIL! You saved Sauber and now you’re likely to be unemployed! How do you feel? “After my great result at my home Grand Prix in Brazil, I am traveling to Abu Dhabi with a positive mindset… The season is not over yet, so our objective is clearly to keep our current position in the standings.”

#20 Marcus Ericsson
Pretty generic quotage from 2017 Sauber driver Marcus Erisson: “The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is always a nice race weekend. Besides enjoying driving on this circuit a lot, the fan atmosphere and the events around the track are great. It will be an exciting weekend, as not only will the world champion be crowned, but we will also fight again for our tenth position in the constructors’ championship.”

#21 Pascal Wehrlein
Pascal sounds like he’s trying to say the right things about the team. That’s important because of reports that Force India picked Ocon because of Pascal’s attitude issues: “Over the last couple of races we have seen what a difference three solid practice sessions makes to our qualifying and race preparation. We have to get everything right, and at the same time, identify every little advantage and opportunity. If that happens, we have shown four times this year that we can make it into Q2, and a better starting position can make a big difference in the race.”

#22 Esteban Ocon
Steve’s all smiles because he’s moving up in the world: “I will forever be grateful to Manor Racing for giving me the opportunity to begin my F1 career, so my objective is to help put a smile on everyone’s faces on Sunday afternoon… It maybe won’t change the situation in the Constructors’ standings, but it will be a measure of what the team has done well so many times this season.”


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