Abu Dhabi Bottas’ Last Shot at Vettel
Although Lewis Hamilton is enjoying the early start to his reign as 2017 Formula 1 world drivers’ champion by slacking off to finish fourth in Brazil and then chat to reporters about his argy-bargy with Sebastian Vettel earlier in the season, there are still plenty of what-ifs to settle in the final F1 race of the season.
For a start, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on 26 November will be the last chance the British ace’s teammate, Valtteri Bottas, gets to leapfrog Vettel to put Mercedes 1 and 2 on the drivers’ ladder.
Vettel took another win for Ferrari at Interlagos, with Bottas second, but the German is still 22 points ahead of his Finnish rival. Unless he doesn’t finish, Vettel will be confident that he can hold off the Mercedes challenger for second place. If he does, Bottas is secure in third.
Ricciardo vs Raikkonen a Much Closer Battle
Daniel Ricciardo, after bombing out in two successive races and then finishing sixth in Brazil, is in a more precarious position, lying fourth on the ladder. The Aussie Red Bull driver is just seven points ahead of Vettel’s teammate Kimi Raikkonen.
The veteran Finn will be driving all-out at the emirate’s Yas Marina Circuit on Sunday, and after three consecutive thirds in the last three races, he could be a serious threat to Ricciardo’s fourth place.
More Top 10 Positions Up for Grabs
No one can challenge Raikkonen for fifth, and the other Red Bull driver, the Netherlands’ Max Verstappen, is safe in sixth. But Mexico’s Sergio Perez needs to finish less than 11 points behind France’s Esteban Ocon in Abu Dhabi to stay in seventh and keep Ocon in eighth.
And with Spain’s Carlos Sainz Jr lying ninth on 54 points, either Brazilian Felipe Massa on 42 or Canada’s Lance Stroll on 40 could also shake up the top 10 on the 2017 driver’s ladder at Yas Marina.
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