The 2022 F1 season concludes this weekend in Yas Marina for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Unfortunately, there won’t be the drama of last year’s final race when Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton were battling for the championship. Verstappen comes into the final weekend with a 139-point cushion and has been the clear champion for weeks now.
However, we will have a surprising fight for second place on our hands.
After it looked early in the season like Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc would actually challenge Verstappen for the driver’s title, Leclerc now finds himself tied with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez for second place. As a result, Sunday’s race could mean that Red Bull could finish first and second. Mercedes accomplished the feat in 2020 with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas and also in 2014-16 with Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
Mercedes’ George Russell currently sits in fourth with his teammate, Hamilton, 25 points behind him and rounding out the top five.
F1 will be hoping to end the season with a small slice of the excitement that spectators were given during last week’s Brazil Grand Prix. It started with Kevin Magnussen securing an unlikely pole position for the Haas team, his first ever in F1, and then continued when George Russell bested Verstappen in Saturday’s Sprint race.
During the race on Sunday, Verstappen and Hamilton collided, which led to Verstappen needing a new front wing. That allowed Russell to speed to a victory on Sunday as well.
However, a big story that could impact the driver’s standings is that teammates Verstappen and Perez got into a bit of beef when Verstappen refused to obey team orders to swap places with Perez. Red Bull team boss Christian Horner was quick to play down the drama, but with second place on the line for Perez this weekend, it’s possible the team will ask Verstappen to help his teammate out again on Sunday, but will the champion comply?
The circuit at Yas Marina is an interesting one with multi-million dollar yachts in the marina and the whale-shaped Yas Hotel in the center of the track. The circuit itself should play perfectly for Red Bull since it has plenty of fast straights, especially between turns five and six.
However, despite Red Bull having more at stake than most other teams, this will be a big week for Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton. After the seven-time champion lost the shot at his eighth title last year in Abu Dhabi, he now heads to Yas Marina simply looking for his first win of 2022. It would just be a symbolic win, but a big win for the former champion.
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix TV, how to watch
- Date: Saturday, November 19th
- Time: 9:00 a.m. ET
- TV: ESPN3
- Date: Sunday, November 20th
- Time: 8:00 a.m. ET
- TV: ESPN2
For more F1 Coverage, visit amNY Sports
2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Odds
|Driver||Odds to win||Odds to finish on podium||Odds to finish top 6||Odds to finish top 10|
For up-to-the-minute odds for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix visit DraftKings here
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Top Picks
Sergio Perez to finish on the podium (+105)
With Max Verstappen having the title locked up, I think Red Bull is going to do whatever it takes to ensure that Sergio Perez finishes above Charles Leclerc and captures second place in the driver’s standings. With the recent performance of the Mercedes cars, that means he would need to beat one of Russell and Hamilton to end up on the podium. I think he’ll get help from his teammates and his team overall this week to ensure that happens.
Max Verstappen to win (+115)
You’re getting plus odds to bet on the clear best driver in the field to win a race that’s on a track that’s suited to his car. I’m not sure how we can not like that bet. There are many narratives around somebody else winning this race, and I know those are enticing, but Verstappen is certainly not the type of driver to intentionally take his foot off the gas. I know I said he’d help Perez above, but that also assumes Perez is close enough to Verstappen that the champion can allow his teammate to pass.
Sebastian Vettel to finish Top-10 (-125)
This is a little bit of narrative with Vettel’s last race, but Vettel has also been top 10 in three of his last five, and one of those misses saw him finish 11th. He’s clearly going to be going full out in this final race, and I could easily see a strong performance out of the veteran.
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Darkhorse Pick
Sergio Perez to win (+1400)
This course sets up well for Red Bull, and we know that Max Verstappen has the title locked up. If the team is in a situation where they can use Verstappen to protect Perez and give Perez a chance to win the race and ensure a first and second place finish for Red Bull in the driver’s standings then I could easily see it happening. At these odds, it’s worth a small gamble.
Fernando Alonso to finish Top-6 (+100)
Another driver who could be in his last race, Alonso has been hovering around the top six for the second half of the season, finishing 5th in Brazil, 7th in Austin, 7th in Japan, and 6th in the Netherlands, plus his three DNFs mixed in there. Alonso is out at Alpine, which means he doesn’t have to play strategy with Esteban Ocon any more, so I expect him to look out for himself and make some big moves on Sunday.