Hamilton has won four of the last seven F1 races in Abu Dhabi, while Verstappen has finished on the podium in all of the last three years. Here’s everything you need to know about each driver’s history at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix!
🇬🇧 LEWIS HAMILTON
Lewis Hamilton has finished on the podium at all seven Abu Dhabi Grands Prix held in the V6 hybrid era. Hamilton has been victorious here five times, while his third place last year was his first non top two finish at Yas Marina Circuit since 2013. His retirements here in 2009 and 2012 are the only times that he has not picked up points at the track, with his seventh place in 2013 the only other time he has not finished on the podium. Hamilton has a highly impressive qualifying record here, with five poles. 2013, when he qualified fourth, and 2020, when he qualified third, are the only occasions that he has failed to start from the front row at the track. Given his high starting positions, it’s unsurprising that Hamilton has never gained more than one position from where he has started at the track. 2010, 2013 and 2020 are the only years that Hamilton has not led at least three laps of the event.
🇫🇮 VALTTERI BOTTAS
Valtteri Bottas won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix three times, including his only win so far at the circuit in 2017. With the runner-up spot in 2020, he finished on the podium here for the first time since his win. There have been three occasions from his seven appearances at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that Bottas has failed to score. He finished outside of the points in 2013 and 2015, and retired from his final race with Williams in 2016. Bottas has qualified on the front row in all of the last four seasons – including pole position in 2017 – but started last in 2019 due to an engine penalty. 2013 and 2016 are the only seasons that he has failed to reach Q3 at the track. 2019 – when he finished fourth having started twentieth – is the only time that Bottas has finished in a better position than where he started at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
🇳🇱 MAX VERSTAPPEN
Max Verstappen recorded his first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix victory last season. He has finished in the top five here in all of the last five seasons, and has finished in the top three in all of the last three years. 2015, when he finished sixteenth for Toro Rosso, is his only non-points scoring appearance at the track. Verstappen took pole at Yas Marina Circuit for the first time last year. He has reached Q3 in all of the last five seasons, qualifying in the top six on each occasion. The past two seasons are the only times that Verstappen has out-qualified his team-mate here. He has finished on the front row in the last two years here, his 2019 front row courtesy of a grid penalty for Valtteri Bottas.
🇲🇽 SERGIO PEREZ
On his final race appearance with Racing Point last year, Sergio Perez failed to reach the end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. It ended his 100% finish record at the track, and ended a streak of seven successive finishes inside of the points. His best finish here is fifth place, which he recorded for Force India in 2015. 2011 and 2012 are the only seasons other than 2020 in which Perez has failed to score a point at the track. Despite his high points scoring rate, Perez has reached Q3 at the circuit only four times, most recently in 2017. His best qualifying result here is fourth, which he recorded in 2015. From his ten appearances, 2016, 2018 and 2020 are the only seasons that Perez has been out-qualified by a team-mate at the track – though last year he did not make much of an effort, given that he would be starting at the back of the field.
🇦🇺 DANIEL RICCIARDO
Daniel Ricciardo’s best result at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is fourth place, scored in 2014 and 2018. He has scored six times in his ten appearances at the track. Ricciardo has retired twice, in 2011 and 2017. 2020 was the first time that the Australian has not qualified in the top ten at the track since 2012. His best qualifying result here is third, which he recorded in 2016. Last season, Esteban Ocon became Ricciardo’s first team-mate to out-qualify him at Yas Marina Circuit.
🇬🇧 LANDO NORRIS
Lando Norris has scored points on both appearances so far at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. He finished eighth in 2019, before bettering that with a fifth place finish in 2020. Norris has reached Q3 on both appearances too, with a best qualifying result of fourth last year. He is yet to be out-qualified by a team-mate at the track. Before F1, Norris made his F2 debut at the Yas Marina Circuit in 2017, making a one-off appearance before joining the series full time in 2018. That year, he finished fifth in the Feature Race and finished as runner-up on his final F2 appearance in the Sprint Race.
🇩🇪 SEBASTIAN VETTEL
Sebastian Vettel won both of the first two Abu Dhabi Grands Prix and triumphed again in 2013. He finished on the podium with Ferrari three times at the track – in 2016, 2017 and 2018. His first lap retirement in 2011 and his fourteenth place last year on his final Ferrari outing are the only times that Vettel has failed to score at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, while 2015 and 2020 are the only occasions that he has not reached Q3 here. Vettel was also disqualified from the Saturday action in 2012. From his eleven appearances, Vettel has been out-qualified by his team-mate more regularly than not here. Vettel has lost one position from where he started in each of the last two seasons. He has led the second-most laps of any driver at the event, but has not led any laps at the Yas Marina Circuit since 2016.
🇨🇦 LANCE STROLL
Finishing in tenth place, Lance Stroll scored at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for the first time in 2020. Before that, his best result here was thirteenth in 2018. He failed to finish the race in 2019. Last season also marked the first time Stroll reached Q3 at Yas Marina Circuit, qualifying in eighth position, as well as the first time that he out-qualified a team-mate at the track – though Sergio Perez had a grid penalty, so didn’t put in too much effort in qualifying. The 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is the only race at the circuit in which Stroll has finished in a better position than where he started.
🇪🇸 FERNANDO ALONSO
Fernando Alonso has a 100% finish rate at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, scoring points on seven of his ten appearances. His best result here is second, which is where he finished in both 2011 and 2012. Alonso has reached Q3 at the track five times, has been eliminated in Q2 three times and exited in Q1 twice. He has out-qualified his team-mate on seven of his ten outings at Yas Marina Circuit. The 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, in which he lost the title to Sebastian Vettel, is the only race at the circuit in which he has lost more than one position from where he has started. Alonso has led only three laps here, doing so in 2011. Alonso made a hospital visit in 2013 after bouncing over the track’s kerbs at 150mph, suffering a 25G impact.
🇫🇷 ESTEBAN OCON
From four appearances at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Esteban Ocon has scored twice. He finished eighth in 2017 with Force India and ninth with Renault in 2020. The 2018 race – his final appearance before his year out of the sport – is the only time that Ocon has failed to reach the end of the race at Yas Marina Circuit. Ocon reached Q3 at the circuit in both 2017 and 2018, qualifying in ninth place both times. He just missed out on Q3 last year, qualifying in eleventh. Ocon has not been out-qualified by a team-mate at the track since 2017.
🇲🇨 CHARLES LECLERC
2020 marked the first time that Charles Leclerc failed to score at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in his three appearances at the circuit. He finished seventh for Sauber in 2018, before going on to finish third for Ferrari in 2019. He finished only thirteenth last year. Leclerc has qualified in the top ten on all three outings here, with a best qualifying result of fourth in 2019- which became third on the final grid. Leclerc has out-qualified his team-mate on all three appearances. Before reaching F1, Leclerc raced at the Yas Marina Circuit in both GP3 and F2. In 2017, he took podium finishes in both the Feature and Sprint races on his last F2 appearances, standing on the top step of the podium after the Sprint race.
🇪🇸 CARLOS SAINZ
Carlos Sainz has scored in all of the last three Abu Dhabi Grands Prix. After finishing eleventh in 2015, and then recording two consecutive DNFs in the next two years, Sainz finished sixth on his final outing with Renault in 2018. He went on to finish tenth with McLaren in 2019 and sixth on his appearance with the team in 2020. Sainz has reached Q3 on his last two appearances here, with a best qualifying result of sixth in 2020. 2015 is the only other season in which he has qualified in the top ten at Yas Marina Circuit. His first appearance here remains the last time he out-qualified a team-mate at the track.
🇫🇷 PIERRE GASLY
With eighth place, Pierre Gasly scored at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for the first time last season. It was the first time he has finished above sixteenth place at the track. Last year was also the first time that Gasly has reached Q3 at the circuit, qualifying in tenth place. From his four appearances, 2017 and 2019 are the two occasions on which Gasly has out-qualified his team-mate at the track.
🇯🇵 YUKI TSUNODA
This will be Yuki Tsunoda’s first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix appearance. He has never previously raced at Yas Marina Circuit.
🇫🇮 KIMI RAIKKONEN
Kimi Raikkonen scored his first win since his comeback to Formula 1 at the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. In addition to his win, he also finished on the podium in 2015 with a third place finish. He has failed to score at the circuit in each of the last three seasons, recording a DNF on his final Ferrari appearance in 2018. Raikkonen has been eliminated in Q1 in each of the last two Yas Marina races. Before that, he was on a streak of seven Q3 appearances here – though he was disqualified in 2013.
🇮🇹 ANTONIO GIOVINAZZI
Antonio Giovinazzi has finished sixteenth on both appearances at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. While he qualified eighteenth in 2019, he reached Q2 last year, qualifying in fourteenth place. Last season was the first time he has out-qualified his team-mate at the circuit. He’s yet to finish the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in a better position than where he started. Giovinazzi was still in contention for the 2016 GP2 title when the series arrived for its final round of the championship in Abu Dhabi. While he didn’t do enough to beat his Prema team-mate Pierre Gasly to the crown, the Italian finished fifth in the Feature Race and sixth in the Sprint Race. Giovinazzi made appearances in Free Practice 1 in 2017 with Haas and with Sauber in 2018.
🇩🇪 MICK SCHUMACHER
Mick Schumacher has previously raced at Yas Marina Circuit in F2 in 2019. He finished ninth in the Feature Race and eleventh in the Sprint Race.
🇷🇺 NIKITA MAZEPIN
Nikita Mazepin last raced at Yas Marina Circuit in 2019 in F2. He scored a single point from the race weekend, finishing tenth in the Feature Race. He had better luck in the previous year in GP3, finishing fifth in the first race and winning the last ever GP3 race.
🇬🇧 GEORGE RUSSELL
After qualifying in nineteenth and starting eighteenth, George Russell finished seventeenth on his first appearance at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2019. Last year, he qualified eighteenth and started sixteenth, finishing the race in fifteenth place. He has gained one position from where he started in both races at the track. Prior to F1, in the four races in which he contested at the Yas Marina Circuit, Russell never finished below fourth. He finished as runner up in the first GP3 race of the 2017 weekend at the track, a weekend on which he also partook in Free Practice 1 with Force India. In 2018, Russell secured the F2 title at the circuit with a win in the Feature Race. He went on to finish fourth in the Sprint Race on his final F2 appearance.
🇨🇦 NICHOLAS LATIFI
After qualifying last at the 2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Nicholas Latifi finished seventeenth on his first F1 appearance at the Yas Marina Circuit. Latifi previously raced in F1’s feeder series at the Yas Marina Circuit in all of the six years before his F1 career began. From the eleven races in which he partook in GP2 and F2, Latifi scored five times, with two of those being podium finishes. He finished third in the 2017 Sprint Race and finished as runner-up on his final F2 appearance two years later.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. The blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics.
Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and Motorsport Guides and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast. His work has appeared on WTF1, BadgerGP, motorsport.com, Sky Sports F1 and BBC Radio 5 Live. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast.