What can you say about Abu Dhabi? The place is caked-up. It is twinned with Bethlehem, Minsk and Houston amongst seven other global cities. United Arab Emirate nationals make up just 20 percent of the population. Trivia complete.
Fact: Sebastian Vettel is 2/5 favourite for this weekend's Grand Prix and it is easy to understand why. The prospect of staking £100 to win £40 appeals to very few however.
Amazing fact: Mark Webber is as short as 3/1 (25 percent) for race victory, something which is beyond any logic or common sense. He has won just three of his last 61 race starts (4.9 percent). One was gifted to him by mysterious mechanical problems encountered by the race leader, teammate Sebastian Vettel, in Brazil 2011. Another came when he inherited pole position from a penalised Michael Schumacher in Monaco and saw off three frustrated rivals queued up behind him by a sum total of 1.3secs.
Placing a 'lay bet' (Webber NOT to win) seems a much easier way of earning your Sunday afternoon beer money. Neither is going to make you as rich as your typical Abu Dhabi citizen though.
'Mr Average Abu Dhabi' is regularly quoted as having a net worth of $17 million. But there is bad news, their oil, source of all that lovely money, is expected to run out by the year 2106.
There is a fall back plan, tourism. For their sake let's hope being sandblasted in 100 degree heat is fashionable by the start of the next century or people have genuinely learnt to get entertainment out of being bounced around in a jeep which is being driven over sand dunes.
If you do fancy that kind of holiday, or simply want to imagine you have $17 million in the bank for the day, here's what you should do:
Get yourself into a pair of spotlessly clean white decorator's overalls and throw on a pre-op hospital gown. Stick a pillowcase over your head and attach with a black leather rope.
For the wife take that jet black Halloween dress out of the cupboard and drape it around her making sure it is not tight fitting around her thighs (use two if necessary). In addition to her thighs no part of her cleavage, midriff or upper arms must be exposed (use three if necessary).
Next put her into a long black cloak (tell her it's for an audition for a Scottish Widows commercial if need be) and finally cover her face with a black veil (tell her anything you think will make her agree to it).
Sunday morning sit back, crack open a bottle of water, spark-up a shisha pipe, briefly unveil the wife (make sure no one is looking) to show her a betting slip with 'Pastor Maldonado to make the points - Abu Dhabi Grand Prix' written on it, reach for SKY Channel 439 and watch dreams of wealth materialise.
…and for why: Downforce is all-important here, yes there are two long straights but six corners taken below speeds of 100kph means it has striking similarities to Monaco, Singapore and the now defunct Valencia.
Yas Marina simply has a street circuit dynamic about it which means last year's moral victor, Lewis Hamilton, is likely to be at his brilliant best here as will Venezuela's finest, Pastor Maldonado.
Hamilton was comfortably leading both the Abu Dhabi and Singapore Grand Prix's last season before succumbing to mechanical failure. He's excellent on these types of circuits.
The much ridiculed Maldonado, in a vastly inferior car, ain't so bad though and he achieved something equally noteworthy when qualifying second in Singapore (ultimately retiring with a hydraulic problem) and starting third (finishing fifth) here in Abu Dhabi. That's added to a third grid position at a similar circuit, Valencia, and there is his memorable victory at the front-runners gaf-track, Barcelona.
Yes, I waded into Maldonado for a top-ten finish in Singapore six weeks ago and failed to collect. However, in an unheralded drive, he carried his car from 18th on the grid into 11th missing out on tenth by just four seconds. There were only two retirements in the race, a race where accidents and breakdowns were uncharacteristically rare.
Twelfth last week in India, eleventh in Britain and Bahrain, with the help of a few DNF's he could well have quadrupled his points haul.
Watching footage of last year's Abu Dhabi race, where the safety car was called upon not once but twice, it's hard to envisage there will not be one or two casualties and that may be the helping hand that the William's driver needs to double his annual points haul.
Odds of 13/2 about him breaching the top-eleven means the lunatics, not the poor men in white coats, are running the asylum.
This Week's Selections:
Maldonado to make the points : 60 points @ 13/2
Safety Car to be deployed: 40 points @ 11/10
Current profit/loss: - 180.50 points
© Roy Brindley 2013
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