Red Bull, Williams and Toro Rosso preview the Abu Dhabi Grand prix

Red Bull, Williams and Toro Rosso preview the Abu Dhabi Grand prix

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Daniel Ricciardo
photo: Charles Coates/Red Bull Content Pool

The Red Bull, Williams and Toro Rosso teams preview the final round of the 2018 Formula 1 World Championship – the Abu Dhabi Grand prix.

Daniel Ricciardo

“Abu Dhabi has always been a pretty good track for me and I enjoy going there. I’m yet to get an Abu Dhabi podium, but that would be a pretty awesome way to end my stint with Red Bull and to end the season. Having a twilight race is always cool, the weather is good, so there’s not much not to like about the place. I love the third sector, it’s my favourite part of the track for sure, through the hotel and all that is good fun.”

“Abu Dhabi marks the end of five years with the Team and ten years with Red Bull itself. I’m sure it’s going to be emotional afterwards, especially when I cross the line for the last time with the Team. But I’m going there guns a blazing, showing a lot of love. Hopefully, the love shows me back and I can spray some fake champagne on Sunday, which would be a fitting farewell.”

Max Verstappen

“Apart from being the last race of the year, Abu Dhabi is always a special one due to the atmosphere. The crowds are big and noisy, and being a sunset race adds to the unique feeling. After a busy few races, I think everyone looks forward to getting to Abu Dhabi. The nice weather and a more relaxed feel in the paddock means everyone is smiling.”

“The track itself is fun to drive, passing the yachts in the final sector has a similar feel to Monaco, but it’s not as tight. There are some long straights that do not really play to our strong points but we will try to make up for this in the twisty sectors. Once the race is done the team can relax a bit, and have some well-earned downtime. We, of course, have testing shortly after but I will definitely try to chill out and get some sun on the Monday. Before we know it, we’ll be testing and working hard towards 2019 throughout the winter, which is very exciting.”

Paddy Lowe, Williams Chief Technical Officer:

“We head to Abu Dhabi this weekend for the final race of what has been a challenging year for the team. Abu Dhabi itself is a fantastic location for Formula One with a great party atmosphere in and around the paddock to end a long season. The Yas Marina Circuit is also impressive and with both qualifying and the race happening at twilight it has an extra special feel. The circuit rewards all-round car performance and has a number of signature features including a pitlane that emerges from under the track. It is a fitting place for the championship’s curtain closer and we look forward to putting on a good show for one final time this year.”

Lance Stroll

“I think it is a good race to end the season, as we drive into the night, which is cool. It is quite spectacular what they have done with the place, and it is certainly unique. The circuit itself wouldn’t be my favourite as it is very stop and go and doesn’t have a great flow to it, but, despite that, the show is good for the fans. From a driver’s point of view, driving at day or night doesn’t make any difference as for us it is just pedal to the metal.”

Sergey Sirotkin

“I have very good memories of Abu Dhabi, as it was my debut test with Williams last year. The track is challenging and requires good tyre management throughout the lap with a very demanding sector three. The lap has a combination of mid and low-speed corners, with not so many high-speed corners, which is a shame for me. Sector three is difficult and is trickier than it looks. Overall, I am really looking forward to returning to Abu Dhabi, it is a great race for the season to end with.”

Pierre Gasly

“It will be a special weekend, my last one racing with Toro Rosso, so Sunday will be emotional as we tackle our last race together. But I think that once you have been part of this team, you are always a member of the Toro Rosso family. I’ve really appreciated our time together and I hope we can end on a high note in Abu Dhabi. I plan to give it my very best shot, especially as it’s on a track that I really like.”

“I’ve always gone well here, with two poles and a win in GP2 and it was at this track that I clinched the GP2 championship title. So I like the track and it’s always a special feeling when you are racing in the dark. Also, the fact that it’s the last race of the year means there’s a great mood in the paddock, everyone’s a bit excited and buzzing. It’s a really great atmosphere and once it’s over you realise the season has ended. As for the track itself, it provides some challenges, especially in the final sector, which is very technical with many changes of direction where you need to get into a good rhythm.”

“So the circuit has two distinct characters, with the first two sectors featuring long straights and high speed long turns. But it’s that final technical part I like best and it’s where a driver can make a difference. I hope the weekend will be good for us, it would be a great way to say bye-bye to everyone.”

Brendon Hartley

“It’s the last race of the season and I’m approaching it in a positive frame of mind. I have had a strong end to the season, performing well in the last few races, even when the car wasn’t quick enough to score big points. I’m happy with my relative performance and my improvement throughout the season. So I’m looking forward to having a good weekend and finishing the year on a high.”

“Abu Dhabi is an interesting track, with a street circuit feel to it, especially in the final part, where the track goes under the hotel. It’s very flat with not a lot of camber or undulation and overtaking can be tricky. Tyre management is critical here, even in Qualifying when it’s very hard to keep the rears under control in the final sector. We struggled with that in Brazil and we need to work on understanding why. However, with the latest spec Honda PU, we can be confident that a good Qualifying is possible.”

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