My take on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix circuit
Track and car set-up
Technically this is not that difficult a track to set the car up, but it is important to have the weight distribution forward which helps the car, as it places it more into understeer and less into oversteer the further rearwards you have it, the more unstable it becomes coming in to corners but the traction does get better when you move the weight distribution rearwards. Again it’s important to have really good stability through 2 and 3 which are flat so you have to have good aerobalance through those.
In F1 when you raise the rear right height, you usually gain in the high speed and medium speed but you lose in the low speed and there is quite a bit of low speed here so it is about trying to get a nice balance that you can win in both. The car has got to be good over curbs and really important that it has good traction and good straight line speed.
The Yas Marina Circuit isn't the easiest track to follow but it is a really good place for overtaking.
The long straight Between 6 and 7 so it is really good to DRS or at least follow people on the straight and position yourself well on the exit of 8 to attack in to 9. It’s not that bad on brakes, a couple of heavy braking zones but generally you can have quite a stiff set up.
Play by play
Turn 1 is all about trying to get the best exit from the last corner with a little bit of KERS. You need to be going flat out down to turn 1 and carrying a lot of speed into the Turn. To get the car balanced there must be a forward weight distribution, then get on the power with 10% KERS and go flat out until Turn 2.
It's now flat out through 3 and onto turn 4. It is really important that you have a good balance through high speed corners here as there is a lot of time to be gained there.
Heavy breaking is required coming down to turn 4 ,clip as much curb as you can without taking the bollard out on the left and then taking a lot of curb on the right but it is important to try to get back to the outside for the entry of turn 6.
Traction is very important here so you can get a good exit on KERS.
You use quite a lot of KERS, maybe 50%, and you are on DRS flat out down to turn 7. Breaking as late as you, it's important to take it nice and tight through turn 7 so that you can carry lots of speed through turn 8.
Again it's really important to have an extremely stable rear end and good traction, this allows you to go flat out using DRS all the way down to turn 9. At this point you must be very diligent on the brakes because you don't want to be too wide on the exit of turn 9 simply so you can be in a good place to take lots of curb through 10 and 11.
Through those 2 corners, particularly turn 11, the car hops from right to left, it’s a really cool chicane. You cut on the edge, use the curb on the exit of turn 11, try not to carry too much speed in to 12 as you want to get on the power nice and early and get a good exit down to 13.
Again a bit of KERS out of 12. Whilst breaking, you come through a long sweeping corner to break to 13 so it is very easy to lock up there but this track involves getting a lot of grip so it is important to carry a lot of speed through there and also get back to the righthand side through the left for turn 14.
It's imperative to carry as much speed as you can through 14, probably 3rd gear, and then you have an early lift at 15, use loads of the curb and get the power as soon as you can to ride as much speed through there as possible.
This sector is really important for the lap time, qualifying, and then you get back to the lefthand side for turn 16, you downshift maybe one gear, come off the power and then get back on the power again as quickly as you can. This is a very fast sweeping right-hander.
Breaking nice and deep and late for turn 17, the exit is not as important since the finish line is very shortly after the exit so all the time can be gained on the entry.