Written by By Sarah Maltman, CNN
As the Formula One season heads into the most exciting stretch of the year, the hottest rivalry of the season unfolds at Abu Dhabi.
The race, held at Yas Marina Circuit on Yas Island, is the final race of the long and grueling six-week period of the season and is always fast and exciting. This season the contest is particularly fierce as title hopefuls in Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen battle for the last eight points that would secure the fourth championship for Hamilton.
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Last year, both drivers’ cars crashed on the same occasion, with the incident nearly forcing pole-sitter Hamilton to retire from the race. Verstappen ended up taking second place, but Hamilton went on to win the race and the championship.
In the past year, both drivers have developed a fierce rivalry. The pressure is really on for Mercedes to defend the title that they have defended for the past three years.
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Verstappen was winning the Formula One title in 2017, but at the end of the season he crashed out of the race in Abu Dhabi and McLaren’s Fernando Alonso became champion.
There is a history of drivers coming second and not celebrating, and apparently both drivers are reluctant to be heard of whether they are in first or second place.
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These days, however, the race is not about being caught by surprise, it is an opportunity to harness momentum in the race. Everyone who comes out on top is happy.
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With all the championship points already awarded, it is now up to the race itself to determine who will take the title.
The weather in Abu Dhabi is always unpredictable. When the weather is good, there is usually the added element of a full moon, turning the desert roads red. The race itself is usually one of the hottest with a degree of humidity making the track a combination of great cycling and skating skills.