Formula 1 takes to the track for one final time in 2023, with only the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix left before teams take a well-earned break and start counting down the less than 100 days until they arrive in Bahrain for the start of 2024.
It’s not quite one final time either, with the post-season test taking place at Yas Marina Circuit two days after the chequered flag waves at the grand prix, but the end of the season is very nearly here.
And fittingly, Max Verstappen is primed to extend his record of 18 wins in an F1 season (ahead of… himself, last season), as he locked up pole position by over a tenth from Charles Leclerc.
George Russell topped both FP1 and FP3 but his pace evaporated somewhat when it really mattered, he’ll start the race fourth behind Verstappen, Leclerc and Oscar Piastri with the other McLaren of Lando Norris right behind him.
With Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz starting 11th and 16th respectively, it’s advantage Ferrari in the battle for second in the constructors’ championship, Mercedes are just four points ahead and don’t hold the tiebreaker.
In the other battles of note, the fight for fourth between Sainz, Norris, Leclerc and Fernando Alonso is wide open but McLaren look set to hold position over Aston Martin.
And if Yuki Tsunoda can finish where he starts, AlphaTauri will overtake Williams in the constructors’ standings too.
Abu Dhabi GP latest weather
The race starts at 5 PM local time, half an hour before sunset over the Yas Marina Circuit, meaning temperatures will have dropped from highs of 30 degrees Celsius earlier in the day to around 25 by the end of the race.
Wind gusts will also have fallen out of the double-figures, just about, by the time it’s lights out and of course there’s no chance of rain in the desert either.
And for any super fans looking ahead to the post-season test on Tuesday, there’s going to be temperature highs of 28 degrees, while some forecasts have the wind speed reaching 16 mph.