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Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Preview

The climax of the F1 season takes place in the United Arab Emirates this Sunday with the Yas Marina circuit hosting the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Twelve months ago, the Drivers’ Championship was still in the balance going into the final race between Mercedes pair, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, but the British driver has already wrapped up his third world title long before the focus turned towards the concluding event of this campaign.

Whilst the Drivers’ and Constructors’ championship titles are already decided, there are still some issues to be resolved in the UAE on Sunday. Finnish pair, Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen - in their Williams’ and Ferrari’s respectively - are currently separated by just one point in the battle for fourth place, whilst the young duo of Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr will be desperate to finish as high as possible with the Toro Rosso pair standing just nine points behind Lotus’ Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado in the Constructors’ standings.

Unsurprisingly, Hamilton and Rosberg head the outright winner betting for Sunday’s race – and it is highly likely that it will turn into a battle of German engineering once more, but there are several other avenues of betting opportunity to choose from, and here we will discuss some in closer detail.

Cannot split

As with every Grand Prix, qualifying is the first stage of the race itself, and bookmakers currently cannot split Hamilton and Rosberg in the Fastest Qualifier market. Both drivers can be had at even money to claim pole position this Saturday, but it should be noted that Rosberg has qualified faster than his main rival in the five most recent races leading up to Abu Dhabi. The German driver also took the leading grid position for this race in 2014, so the value could lie with Rosberg on this occasion. The flip-side of the debate would say that Hamilton had earlier won 11 of the opening 12 final qualifying sessions of the 2015 season – but does his hunger still burn strong for the final race considering it is in effect, a dead-rubber? Fellow German, Sebastian Vettel broke the Mercedes monopoly with Ferrari’s only pole gain at Singapore back in September, and for those who believe in surprises, the four-time world champion can be backed at 16/1 to usurp the Silver Arrows duo.

Worthy of consideration

The Fastest Lap market is always worth considering for a potential wager, and the odds are quite appealing in doing so. As a guide, of the 18 races so far in the 2015 F1 season, Hamilton has been the quickest driver on race day on seven occasions, and the Brit can be backed at 11/10 to make it eight on Sunday. Rosberg has five fastest lap successes, and is a 13/8 chance. The other six have been shared between, Kimi Raikkonen (2) available at 14/1, Sebastian Vettel (1) as an 11/2 shot, but the real value could lie with Red Bull’s Australian driver, Daniel Ricciardo, who has claimed three fastest lap awards already this season – and at 25/1 is worthy of consideration for a small wager.

Opening corner pile-up?

Another potential betting opportunity could lie within the Number of Classified Drivers market. You can get 11/10 over 15.5 - 16 in effect - drivers to complete the race, while the opposite side of the line is 4/6 that under 15.5 manage to finish the race. In the last five renewals of the Abu Dhabi GP, 2014 saw three retirements, 2013 (1), 2012 (7) – five due to collisions – 2011 (4) and 2010 (3). There is always the risk of an opening corner pile-up, but with 20 drivers expected to line-up for Sunday’s race – and considering that only once in the last half decade has seen five or more race withdrawals, the value in this market could lie over rather than under.

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