The Infiniti Red Bull Racing team arrive in Abu Dhabi for the finale of the 2014 Formula 1 season safe in the knowledge that they will finish second in the World Constructors’ Championship, while Daniel Ricciardo is secure in third place in the Drivers’ Championship.
Team-mate Sebastian Vettel currently sits fourth in the standings, but is in a close battle with both Fernando Alonso and Valterri Bottas, with only three points separating the three drivers.
Vettel goes into his final race with Red Bull Racing with fond memories of the circuit, having clinched his maiden World Drivers’ Championship back in 2010. He admits this weekend will be an emotional one for the German, who has spent the majority of his racing career with Red Bull.
“I personally have very special memories of the Abu Dhabi circuit and race; it was here in 2010 that I became World Champion for the first time in my favourite F1 car, the RB6,” said Vettel. “That was a weekend I will never forget and this year the race will mark another big moment in my career; my last race with Infiniti Red Bull Racing.
“Of course it will be an emotional weekend as we have great memories together, but I’ll enjoy the weekend with the team and with a bit of luck maybe we’ll get a final podium.”
The four-time champion feels the Yas Marina circuit is an impressive facility, with a number of challenges, including the quick first turn and the long straights that offer genuine opportunities for overtaking manoeuvres.
“The circuit itself is impressive,” insists Vettel. “The five star Yas Marina Hotel spans the marina and across the track and is a spectacular landmark. One of the challenges of the track can be turn one which is very difficult to see and very fast. Also, turn 10, after the long straight, which we take in first or second gear depending on the gear ratios, can be a good overtaking opportunity.”
Team-mate Ricciardo insists the Abu Dhabi track still gives an adrenaline rush despite the ample run-off zones prominent on modern F1 tracks. He finds the third sector of the circuit enjoyable, with it giving him a street circuit-like feeling.
“Like many modern circuits it’s obvious that a lot of thought has gone into making the Yas Marina Circuit as safe as it possibly can be,” said Ricciardo. “Of course that’s absolutely the right thing to do but the consequence is that there’s lots of run-off. It’s the way it’s got to be but you never feel like you’re putting the car on the line.
“However Yas still manages to get the adrenaline going. I really like the third sector, around and under the hotel. It’s got a bit more of a street circuit vibe and it’s good fun.
“Plus there’s the whole twilight racing thing. That’s a great idea; it seems to give the whole place a really good atmosphere and is quite different to anywhere else.”