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Abu Dhabi GP: Preview - Red Bull

NEWS STORY
08/12/2021

Last year's Abu Dhabi GP was a successful one for you last year, do you think we have good chances heading into the race this weekend?
Max Verstappen: First of all I'm excited to be back in Abu Dhabi! Last year is not always a good reference in terms of result as there were multiple factors that contributed to it. We've been lacking a bit of pace for the past few races but hopefully that won't be the case this weekend.

Can you talk us through the changes to the circuit and how you think it might impact our performance?
MV: The Yas Marina Circuit has had a few changes and the track is much faster now. It's going to be interesting to see how it will affect the setup of the car. It's very important to have a good qualifying in Abu Dhabi so hopefully we can make that happen.

How do you feel heading into the last race of the season? It has been an epic battle so far.
MV: We've had a lot of wins and good moments this year, and we've been a lot more competitive in general, compared to the years before. So as a Team, we can be very pleased and proud of what we have achieved this season. We are level on points and I know that we as a Team are going to give it all to win this Championship. This is going to be an exciting race and we want to finish the season in the best way possible.

There was clearly pace in the RB16B during qualifying at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. How confident did you feel with the car and its performance there before your DNF?
Sergio Perez: We had good pace in Jeddah but unfortunately, we were not able to capitalise on it during the race and the weekend. We were really unlucky with the red flag there and the rest wasn't an ideal day but we will keep pushing and we will not give up.

The track has been updated in Abu Dhabi with changes in the first sector, a new banked curve and adjustments to Turns 17 -20 to create a faster, flowing end to the lap. What effect do you expect this to have?
SP: Yes, the track layout has changed quite a bit since last season, it has become a lot faster than before so it will be interesting to see how every single car copes with it. I am looking forward to getting out there on Friday to drive it for myself.

Both Championships will be decided at the final race of the season this weekend, have you ever seen a year like this in Formula One?
It has been a great season, for the fans and for the Team. We have pushed ourselves to the maximum, we have given it our all and we will continue to do so until the last lap.

You're coming to the end of your first season with Red Bull Racing Honda, how do you sum it up?
SP: It has been a hectic first year with Red Bull Racing Honda! I finally feel at home with the Team and I am looking forward to achieving more together next season. We have everything in place to start on the right foot in 2022 and I hope it will be a successful year for the Team.

Stats & Facts

Red Bull Racing's first Drivers' and Constructors' World Championships were clinched at the Yas Marina Circuit in 2010. Seb Vettel became the youngest-ever Drivers' Champion having never previously led the Championship until that day, something no driver had achieved since James Hunt won the title at the 1976 Japanese Grand Prix.

Falcons are the national symbol of the UAE and hold esteemed status, so much so that when transporting them they receive their own passports and travel in the passenger cabin of an aircraft.

The greatest improvement between starting and finishing positions by a Red Bull Racing driver was achieved at the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, when Seb Vettel started the race from pitlane but still managed to finish third, a gain of 21 positions!

Red Bull Racing Honda have finished on the podium 22 times this season, matching the Team's total from the 2019 and 2020 season combined. Max's 17 podium finishes are tied for the most by any driver in a single season, thus he can set a new Formula One record this Sunday.

This is the first time the top two drivers in the Championship battle have been tied on points going into the final race of the season since 1974. Back then Emerson Fittipaldi and Clay Regazzoni were in the same position and it was Fittipaldi who won the title in the final race, even though he didn't finish on the podium.

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