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The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - did you know?

23 Nov 2015

Since Abu Dhabi joined the F1 calendar in 2009, did you know that there has only been one occasion on which a driver has converted pole into victory? Or that Mercedes could rewrite the record books this weekend if events go their way at Yas Marina? We look at the key facts, stats and trivia ahead of this weekend's 2015 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix...
  • The Yas Marina track has been a permanent fixture on the F1 schedule since 2009, with all six Abu Dhabi Grands Prix to date held on the visually spectacular circuit. It is by no means the newest circuit in F1 however: in fact four other venues have been newly introduced to F1, and two revamped circuits have returned, since F1 travelled to Abu Dhabi for the first time.

  • Lewis Hamilton set the early pace in the inaugural race in 2009, going fastest in FP1 and then securing pole by over half a second. In the race, however, his McLaren suffered brake problems, forcing the Briton to retire - and helping Sebastian Vettel to claim what was his fifth career win.

  • Vettel triumphed again in 2010 and '13, and also took a podium with third in 2012. No other driver can match those figures - or indeed the 134 total laps Vettel has led in Abu Dhabi. Those aren't the only records the four-time world champion holds either: Vettel's 2010 triumph remains the only time a driver has converted pole into victory in Abu Dhabi.

  • Hamilton is not far behind Vettel, though, with two wins and three podiums in Abu Dhabi. The Briton, of course, prevailed in last year's double-points season finale, allowing him to clinch a second world championship crown.
  • It was the other Mercedes of Nico Rosberg that captured pole last year, however. Should the German repeat the feat this weekend, he would move onto six consecutive pole positions. Only four drivers in history have ever eclipsed that. Ayrton Senna managed it twice (his longest run was eight poles between Spain in 1988 and the USA in 1989), while Alain Prost, Michael Schumacher and Hamilton have each managed seven.

  • Daniel Ricciardo, meanwhile, set the best lap during last year's race - the first time the Australian had posted a fastest lap in F1. Perhaps surprisingly, the Red Bull driver has achieved the feat three further times this season, despite his team struggling for front-running pace.

  • Ricciardo's charge carried him from 20th on the grid to fourth at the flag last year - a remarkable 16-place improvement. That isn't the record at Yas Marina, however - in 2012 Vettel made up an astonishing 21 places en route from 24th on the grid to third at the chequered flag.

  • Vettel's charge is also the only occasion on which a driver has been able to claim a podium when starting from lower than fifth (Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso picked up podiums from the third row in 2009 and 2011 respectively).

  • On a similar note, while it is true the polesitter has only gone on to triumph once in six races, there has only been one occasion on which the victor didn't start on the front row. Kimi Raikkonen holds that particular record - he started fourth when he won in 2012, a race made infamous by his clipped radio correspondence with his Lotus engineers.
  • In terms of manufacturers, Red Bull are the most successful marque in Abu Dhabi. The team have claimed three wins (McLaren, Lotus and Mercedes each have one) and six podiums (McLaren are next up with four). Red Bull also lead the way in terms of pole positions, claiming P1 on the grid on three occasions (McLaren have two).

  • Mercedes might not be able to eclipse that record this weekend, but they can set another: a one-two finish would be their 12th of the season, an unprecedented feat in F1 history. The team have already matched their 2014 benchmark of 11, which also equals McLaren's then-record of 11 from 1988.

  • Hamilton also stands on the brink of his own landmark. Pole in Abu Dhabi would be his 50th in F1 - which would be only the third time in history a driver has reached that tally. Michael Schumacher (68) and Ayrton Senna (65) have the most, with Hamilton third on 49.

  • Fittingly, the $40-billion, 600-acre Yas Island development is a natural home for speed: Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, home of the world's fastest rollercoaster, is located nextdoor to the circuit.