Create

Most Successful F1 Drivers at the Abu Dhabi GP

Valtteri Bottas won his first race in Abu Dhabi last year
Valtteri Bottas won his first race in Abu Dhabi last year
George Howson

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix plays host to the 2018 F1 season finale this weekend in the tenth running of the event. Looking back at previous races is no guaranteed marker for who will succeed and who will fall short on Sunday, but it does help to give a rough idea of what to expect.

Five drivers have won the race in the past, and four are still racing in the sport today. Despite the criticism that the circuit has endured, there have been some mesmeric drives down the years, and quite a few to victory as well. Who's won around the tight and twisty Yas Marina circuit the most, though?

Here's the list:

Valtteri Bottas 2017

Valtteri Bottas' third - and to date, most recent - win in Formula 1 was at Yas Marina last year. Bottas bossed the weekend, claiming pole on Saturday and both fastest lap and the top step of the podium on Sunday.

The Finn led all but three laps during the Grand Prix, and despite Lewis Hamilton's best efforts, his victory never looked in doubt. This also sealed his third place in the driver's championship that season, something he'd love to replicate at this year's event, although this looks unlikely.

With Hamilton have already sewn up the driver's championship, there's a decent chance that Bottas could win come Sunday, where on his own merrit or from Lewis repaying his debt from Russia.

Nico Rosberg 2015

Nico Rosberg won his third race in a row at the end of 2015.
Nico Rosberg won his third race in a row at the end of 2015.

Nico Rosberg may have missed out on the 2015 world driver's title, but his victory at Abu Dhabi set him up for a run at the start of the next season, when he'd claim his only world championship.

Lewis Hamilton had won the title after a crazy race at COTA, but Rosberg responded with solid wins at both Mexico and Brazil, before replicating the feat in the UAE. Rosberg claimed pole position and despite race-long pressure from his team-mate, would see the chequered flag come the end of the race, not dissimilarly to how Bottas and Hamilton would duel two years later.

Nico would win all of the opening four rounds of the following season and this would provide him with a buffer that would eventually see him become world champion in Abu Dhabi at the end of the season. His seven-race winning streak is bettered only by Sebastian Vettel and matches the record of both Michael Schumacher and Alberto Ascari. It's fair to say that he's in very esteemed company in that regard.

Kimi Raikkonen 2012

The Iceman stayed cool to win for the first time since his F1 comeback six years ago.
The Iceman stayed cool to win for the first time since his F1 comeback six years ago.

Kimi Raikkonen had a Ferrari-induced two-year hiatus from Grand Prix racing in 2010 and 2011, but the 2007 World Champion returned for Formula 1 for 2012. The Iceman was back and had an outside shot of the title, as he regularly dragged his average Lotus car up the grid to score podium finishes. However - much as it has during his return to Ferrari - the win had alluded him.

Yas Marina, though, a track that Raikkonen personally described using a four-letter word beginning with s (use your imagination) would be the site of the first win of his return. 4th place on the grid quickly became second after the Finn passed both Mark Webber and Pastor Maldonado off the line and only Lewis Hamilton was ahead of him after the first corner. Hamilton had a comfortable lead but suffered another mechanical failure after 18 Laps, promoting Kimi to the first position.

Fernando Alonso pressured Raikkonen for the remainder of the race, the Spaniard desperate to win and take his championship lead back but the Iceman stayed cool to the finish to claim his 19th win in the sport. Leave him alone, he knows what he's doing.

Lewis Hamilton 2011, 2014, 2016

Lewis Hamilton won his second world championship at Abu Dhabi in 2014.
Lewis Hamilton won his second world championship at Abu Dhabi in 2014.

Lewis Hamilton has the joint most wins around Yas Marina with three, the first of which came in very unlikely circumstances. When Sebastian Vettel qualified on pole, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the recently-crowned double world champion was going to walk away to yet another win. However, Seb had a very short and unlucky race, picking up a freak puncture on the first lap and being forced to retire with damage to his Red Bull's bodywork.

Hamilton inherited the lead and converted it to his first win in the UAE. 2014 saw him claim his second world title, in what has been F1's only double points race (a rule that we'll hopefully never see make a return).

Felipe Massa threatened in the late stages, but Hamilton held the Williams driver behind. 2016 was a brilliant tactical drive, but Lewis wouldn't win the title that year, as, despite his best efforts, Rosberg finished second. A very hollow victory, but they all count.

Sebastian Vettel 2009, 2010, 2013

Sebastian Vettel won his first F1 title in Abu Dhabi in 2010
Sebastian Vettel won his first F1 title in Abu Dhabi in 2010

Sebastian Vettel is the joint most successful driver around Yas Marina, winning the first two Grands Prix in 2009 and 2010. 2009 was a small crumb of comfort for Vettel, as he won the final round of that year's championship after missing out on the driver's world title at the previous race in Brazil.

The German inherited the lead after Lewis Hamilton - driving a revived McLaren - dropped out due to a brake failure, but the year after was a much sweeter victory. In 2010, Vettel entered the race as one of the four drivers that could win that year's world title, but was still an outside shot, as his team-mate, Mark Webber, and Fernando Alonso had a large points advantage.

Seb led from lights to flag and after Webber and Alonso both got stuck in the midfield through poor strategy, he became the youngest Formula 1 champion of all-time, a record that still stands to this day. 2013 was also a dominant victory, snatching the first position from Webber as part of a record nine race long winning streak which saw him win the championship with three rounds remaining after the Indian Grand Prix.

It'll be very interesting to see who will get to four wins first, Vettel or Lewis.

Edited by Rajdeep Puri

Comments

Quick Links:

More from Sportskeeda
Fetching more content...