Verstappen has won the last two Yas Marina races, while Hamilton has finished on the podium in all of the last eight seasons. Here’s everything you need to know about each driver’s history at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix!
🇳🇱 Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen has won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from pole position in each of the last two seasons. He has finished in the top five here in all of the last six seasons, and has finished in the top three in all of the last four years. 2015, when he finished sixteenth for Toro Rosso, is his only non-points scoring appearance at the track. He has reached Q3 in all of the last six seasons, qualifying in the top six on each occasion. Verstappen did not out-qualify a team-mate here until 2019, but is yet to be beaten on Saturday since then. He has started on the front row in the last three years here, his 2019 front row courtesy of a grid penalty for Valtteri Bottas.
🇲🇽 Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez has retired from each of the last two Abu Dhabi Grands Prix. He had a 100% finish rate at the circuit up until 2020 and has scored in the previous seven races at the venue. 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 and 2021 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 five times. Last year, he reached Q3 at Yas Marina for the first time since 2017. His best qualifying result here is fourth, which he recorded in both 2015 and 2021.
🇬🇧 Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton has finished on the podium at all eight Abu Dhabi Grands Prix held in the V6 hybrid era. Hamilton has been victorious here five times, while his third place in 2020 is his only 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.
🇬🇧 George Russell
George Russell is yet to finish above fifteenth at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. He recorded his best result here to date in 2020. Last year, on his final appearance with Williams, Russell retired from the race. He’s yet to make it out of Q1 at Yas Marina Circuit and 2021 was a rare occasion on which he was out-qualified by his team-mate. In both Abu Dhabi Grands Prix which he has finished, Russell has gained one position from where he started. 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.
🇲🇨 Charles Leclerc
2020 marks the only time that Charles Leclerc has failed to score at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in his four appearances at the circuit. He finished seventh for Sauber in 2018, before going on to finish third for Ferrari in 2019. He finished tenth last year. Leclerc has qualified in the top ten on all four outings here, with a best qualifying result of fourth in 2019 – which became third on the final grid. 2021 was the first time Leclerc has been out-qualified by a team-mate at the track. 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 finished on the podium at last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and has finished in the points on his last four appearances at the track. He failed to score on his first three appearances here. He came home eleventh in 2015, before recording successive DNFs in 2016 and 2017. Sainz has reached Q3 on his last three appearances here, with a best qualifying result of fifth in 2021. 2015 is the only other season in which he has qualified in the top ten at Yas Marina Circuit. 2021 was the first time since his maiden season that Sainz out-qualified his team-mate at the track.
🇦🇺 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 eleven appearances at the track. Ricciardo has retired twice, in 2011 and 2017. 2020 is the only 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. Ricciardo out-qualified his team-mate on his first nine appearances at the track, but has been out-qualified by both Esteban Ocon and Lando Norris in the last two seasons.
🇬🇧 Lando Norris
Lando Norris has scored points on all three appearances so far at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. He finished eighth in 2019, before bettering that with a fifth place finish in 2020. Last year, he came home in seventh place. Norris has a 100% Q3 record at Yas Marina Circuit, qualifying a best of third in 2021. 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.
🇪🇸 Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso has a 100% finish rate at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, scoring points on eight of his eleven 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 four times and exited in Q1 twice. He has out-qualified his team-mate on seven of his eleven 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 five appearances at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Esteban Ocon has three times. He finished eighth in 2017 with Force India and ninth in the last two seasons. 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 has reached Q3 at Yas Marina Circuit three times, qualifying in ninth place on each occasion. He just missed out on Q3 in 2020, qualifying in eleventh.
🇫🇷 Pierre Gasly
With fifth place, Pierre Gasly recorded his best Abu Dhabi Grand Prix result to date last season. He finished eighth the previous year, scoring at the venue for the first time. He recorded his only retirement at the track in 2018. 2020 is the only season in which Gasly has reached Q3 at the circuit. He was eliminated in Q1 on his first two appearances and qualified twelfth in both 2019 and 2021.
🇯🇵 Yuki Tsunoda
Yuki Tsunoda recorded the best result of his rookie season at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, coming home in fourth place. He also out-qualified his team-mate for the first time in his F1 career, reaching Q3 and qualifying in eighth place. It was Tsunoda’s first appearance at the track, having never raced here in the junior formulas.
🇩🇪 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. Aside from his first lap retirement in 2011, the last two years are the only other times that Vettel has failed to score at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. 2015, 2020 and 2021 are the only occasions that he has not reached Q3 here. Vettel was disqualified from the Saturday action in 2012, subsequently starting from the pit lane. From his twelve appearances, Vettel has been out-qualified by his team-mate more regularly than not here. 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 also finished thirteenth last year. He failed to finish the race in 2019. 2020 is the only time that Stroll has reached Q3 at Yas Marina Circuit, qualifying in eighth position. He’s out-qualified his team-mate here in the last two seasons. 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.
🇹🇭 Alex Albon
Alex Albon finished in the top six on both of his previous appearances at Yas Marina Circuit with Red Bull. He recorded a best result of fourth in 2020. Albon also qualified in the top six on both outings, but is yet to out-qualify at team-mate at the circuit. Albon raced at the Yas Marina Circuit in both GP3 and F2. Albon retired from both GP3 races here in 2016, suffering a huge crash in the second race. His best result so far here came in F2 in 2017, where he finished as runner-up in the Sprint Race. In 2018, in F2, he finished fourteenth in the Feature Race and eighth in the Sprint Race.
🇨🇦 Nicholas Latifi
From two appearances at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Nicholas Latifi has a best result of seventeenth place, recorded in 2020. He retired from the 2021 race. The Canadian is yet to make it out of Q1 at the circuit with a best qualifying result of sixteenth in 2021. It was one of few times he out-qualified George Russell during their time as Williams team-mates. 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.
🇫🇮 Valtteri Bottas
Valtteri Bottas has finished on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix podium three times, including his only win so far at the circuit in 2017. There have been three occasions from his eight 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. 2021 was the first time since 2016 that Bottas did not qualify on the front row at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. He took pole position at the track in 2017. 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.
🇨🇳 Zhou Guanyu
Zhou Guanyu has previously raced at Yas Marina Circuit in the F3 Asia Championship, in which he won two races at the track. He also raced here in Formula 2 in 2019 and 2021. He recorded three podium finishes from his five F2 races at the circuit, winning the second Sprint Race of the 2021 weekend.
🇩🇪 Mick Schumacher
Mick Schumacher finished fourteenth on his first appearance at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2021. He qualified nineteenth for the race. 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.
🇩🇰 Kevin Magnussen
Kevin Magnussen’s tenth place finish at the 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is the only time that he has picked up a point at Yas Marina Circuit. He has reached the chequered flag on all but one of his six appearances, having retired on his final outing with Renault in 2016. Magnussen is yet to reach Q3 at the track, with a best qualifying result of eleventh with McLaren in 2014. That year, he moved up two positions on the final grid due to grid penalties for other drivers. It’s his only top ten start so far in Abu Dhabi.
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.