It all comes down to this – the 30th title-deciding season finale! Hamilton could be the first driver to record an eighth title win, Verstappen could set a new record for most podiums in a year and Raikkonen will start his 350th and final race. Here are the milestones and records which could be broken at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix!
The 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be the 1,057th World Championship Formula 1 race. It will be the twelfth Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and the twelfth F1 race held at Yas Marina Circuit.
This will be the first time that F1 has held a 22nd race in a single season.
This will be the second Formula 1 race to be held on 12th December. The last round of the championship to be held on this date was the 1959 United States Grand Prix. 12th December is the fourth latest date in the year on which a season-closing F1 race has been held. Read more: The Latest Ends To F1 Seasons.
This will be the tenth time that the season-ending Grand Prix has been held at Yas Marina Circuit. Only Adelaide has hosted more last races of the season, with eleven. This will be the tenth time a season-closing race has been held in the United Arab Emirates. The country is behind only the United States (12) and Australia (11) for the most season-closing events.
This will be the 100th Grand Prix in which Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas have been team-mates. They overtake David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen as the drivers to have started the second-most races together at the same team.
Lance Stroll makes his 100th Grand Prix start this weekend. He also makes his 100th appearance with car number 18. He’s the 18th driver to start 100 races with a single car number.
The 40th lap of the 2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be the 700th racing lap to take place at Yas Marina Circuit since the venue first joined the calendar in 2009.
FAREWELLS AT YAS MARINA
At his final F1 weekend, Kimi Raikkonen will end his illustrious career by becoming the first driver to have started 350 Grands Prix.
Antonio Giovinazzi will make his final F1 appearance this weekend after 62 races in the sport.
George Russell makes his final appearance with the Williams team this weekend. He has made 59 race starts with the team, putting him eleventh in the list of most starts with Williams.
Valtteri Bottas makes his 101st and final appearance with Mercedes before moving to Alfa Romeo in 2022.
The 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is set to be the 481st and final race in which a car with a Honda-badged engine will appear on the grid.
THE TITLE DECIDER
For the first time since 1974, the title rivals are level on points heading into the final race of the season. It’s the first time that the title will be decided at the last race of the year since 2016, as well as the first time that both titles will be decided at the last race of the season since 2008.
The 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be the 30th occasion on which the Drivers’ Championship has been decided at the final race of the season.
This will be the fourth time that the title has been decided at Yas Marina Circuit. The venue equals the Nurburgring as the circuit to have hosted the fifth most title deciders.
Should Hamilton and Verstappen leave Abu Dhabi level on points, it would be the first time that the Drivers’ Championship has been tied at two consecutive races since the 1979 Spanish and Belgian Grands Prix. It would be only the third time this has occurred in F1 history.
If Verstappen fails to win the title, it would be the eleventh time that a driver has lost the title having led the Drivers’ Championship ahead of the last race of the year. It last happened in 2010, when Fernando Alonso led ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton can become the first driver to win the title eight times. In doing so, he would overtake Michael Schumacher and take the outright record for most titles. Schumacher has held that particular record since winning his sixth title in 2003.
Max Verstappen can become Formula 1’s first Dutch World Champion. He would also be the sport’s fourth youngest champion. Only Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso were younger when they won the title for the first time.
THE F1 RECORDS TO BREAK
Max Verstappen could set a new record for most podiums in a single season this weekend. If he finishes in the top three, it would be his eighteenth podium appearance of 2021.
Lewis Hamilton has won the last three races with Max Verstappen finishing as runner-up. If they finish in the same order again this weekend, they would equal the record for the longest streak of identical 1-2 results. It has happened only three times previously, each time with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg being the drivers involved.
If Max Verstappen finishes as runner-up, it would be the first time since the end of the 2016 season that a driver has finished second at four consecutive races. Nico Rosberg finished as runner-up to Lewis Hamilton on his way to the title at the last four races of that season.
If Red Bull win this weekend, they would take their 75th Grand Prix victory. They would be the sixth team to reach that milestone.
If Valtteri Bottas finishes in the top three, he would equal Rubens Barrichello as the non-champion with the most podium finishes. Barrichello recorded 68 podium finishes during his career.
Should Fernando Alonso win the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, he would become only the third driver to have scored 2,000 points in his F1 career.
Carlos Sainz has finished all of the last 28 races. If he crosses the finish line again this weekend, he would equal Fernando Alonso for the sixth longest finishing streak in F1.
THE ABU DHABI RECORDS TO BREAK
Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel are currently tied for most points-scoring visits to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Either driver could extend the record to eleven top ten results this weekend.
Sebastian Vettel currently holds the record for most finishes at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, having reached the finish line on eleven occasions. He could extend the record to twelve this weekend. If he fails to finish, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso have the opportunity to equal the existing record.
Lewis Hamilton could equal Sebastian Vettel’s record of Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Fastest Laps, should he set the fastest lap time in Sunday’s race.
If he wins the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton will be the first driver to have scored 250 points at Yas Marina Circuit. Five points would make Valtteri Bottas the third driver to have scored 100 points here, while Max Verstappen requires twenty points to reach the milestone.
Lewis Hamilton can become the first driver to have led 300 laps at Yas Marina Circuit, should he lead 32 laps of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Mercedes will be the first team to lead 300 laps if their drivers lead ten tours of the track.
Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton will be hoping to maintain their 100% Q3 appearance record at Yas Marina Circuit. The only other drivers who never failed to qualify in the top ten here are Alexander Albon, Felipe Massa, Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg.
Should Yuki Tsunoda, Mick Schumacher or Nikita Mazepin retire they would join Jérôme d’Ambrosio and Narain Karthikeyan as only the third driver to hold an unwanted 100% non-finish record at Yas Marina Circuit.
No driver has recorded more than two retirements at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo, Kimi Raikkonen or Carlos Sainz could become the first to record three retirements at the track this weekend, while Sebastian Vettel, Sergio Perez, Valtteri Bottas, Esteban Ocon, Lance Stroll or Pierre Gasly could equal the existing record.
If Sergio Perez retires from the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, he will become the third driver to record consecutive retirements at Yas Marina Circuit. Pastor Maldonado and Carlos Sainz are the only other drivers to have done so.
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.