2023 Abu Dhabi GP Raceday Update & Tips – JP
2023 Abu Dhabi GP Raceday Update
We were out of luck in qualifying with our bet on Lando Norris. He was flying on his last lap but he lost time at a crucial moment and that cost him any chance of taking pole. James Punt is back with three more bets for the big race today. His 2023 Abu Dhabi GP raceday preview is below.
2023 Abu Dhabi GP Raceday
The final act of the 2023 season starts, as so many have, with Verstappen on pole position. Even Red Bull’s Helmut Marko was betting that his drivers would not be on the front row, but a late set up change and a drop in track temperature was enough to transform ‘this shitbox’ into a pole sitter.
Too much of this season has been affected by very small changes in track temperature and yesterday’s qualifying was the same.
With Verstappen starting from pole, we should know the result. All the races in the turbo hybrid era have been won from pole position, the last three by Verstappen himself. He is the 1.18 favourite and that is hard to argue with.
2023 Abu Dhabi GP raceday: Team-by-Team
Verstappen is as close to a sure thing as there can be. The car has been difficult all weekend, but the team found a way to calm the bouncing down and normal service was resumed.
Perez had his final lap time deleted for track limits. That just about sums his season up. His average qualifying position over the season is 9.09 and yesterday he qualified ninth. His average finishing position is 4.63 so we should expect him to be a podium contender towards the end of the race, but he is not a sure thing.
The credit for his front row start has to go to Charles Leclerc. He has the ability to get every bit of performance out of his car and he did it again yesterday. It is all a bit in vain as their race pace invariably lets them down.
The very cold track in Vegas helped him last weekend, but today’s race will be on a track around 33 degrees, not 14. He has the faster McLarens behind and I doubt he can keep both behind him.
Sainz is having a terrible weekend. He failed to get out of Q1 and he starts sixteenth. What can he do from there? This is not a great come from behind track so he is most likely to be looking at minor points only.
It is a big race for Ferrari who are trying to overcome Mercedes’ four point lead in the Constructors’ table. As it stands, Leclerc and Russell will be battling it out near the front and Hamilton and Sainz in the midfield.
Norris blew his chance for pole position with an out of control final Q3 run. Driver error pure and simple. If it didn’t cost him pole, and he was fastest in sector 1, it cost him a front row. He now starts in an out of position fifth and two places behind his teammate, Oscar Piastri in third.
Past races here have tended to be boring affairs with cars finishing where they started from, but with Ferrari struggling with tyre deg, there is a chance for a double podium.
Have Russell starting fourth, but a grumpy Hamilton back in eleventh. Russell did have that extra session in FP1 to set the car up and while Hamilton has copied the set up, he can’t make it work.
Russell has been on the pace all weekend and qualified fourth for the second weekend in a row. The Mercedes tends to have better race pace than qualifying pace and Russell is very much in the fight for a podium finish.
Hamilton, qualifying eleventh for the second weekend in a row, just looks fed up. He has had yet another season with a poor car and he must be wondering what to do if next year’s car is uncompetitive. He should be able to make up some places and he does have a job to do, make sure he scores some points and finishes ahead of Sainz.
Took the gamble of rushing through a new floor for just this one race and it has worked on Tsunoda’s car at least. He starts sixth and the team are looking for him to overhaul the seven point gap to Williams. If he holds position, he will do just that.
Can he do it? I wouldn’t bet on it. He said that the upgrades have made the car feel quite different and he is still trying to get used to it. He is also not the coolest head under pressure. His best finish this season is ninth. Ricciardo starts back in fifteenth, as he did in Vegas where he finished fourteenth.
Alonso starts seventh, better than the car looked in practice. Stroll will be looking for another one of his electric starts from thirteenth. He made up ten places last weekend and he may yet be able to achieve a points finish, as he did here last year, when he started form fourteenth.
2023 Abu Dhabi GP raceday Tip: 1 point Lance Stroll to finish in the points @ 2.38 with Hills, BET365
Another Saturday Stunner from Hulkenberg who dragged the Haas into eighth place. As usual it is just a matter of how far down the order he drops. He has qualified in the top 10 seven times in 2023 and only once finished in the points and that was in the crazy Australian GP. I would estimate he finishes fifteenth. Magnussen starts in seventeenth and will probably drop a place or two.
Gasly starts from tenth and he has a points finish rate which is slightly better than 50% in 2023. The car seems to have the pace to finish around ninth or tenth, but there are faster cars behind him. Ocon has not been well this week and may struggle as a result, but with Alpine, you never know.
Their season finishing position revolves, not around their drivers, but where Tsunoda finishes. The Williams is having big problems with overheating their tyres, which doesn’t bode well for the race. Sargeant starts from the back after failing to set a time after losing both his laps in Q1 to track limits.
The last race with Alfa Romeo branding and it looks like going out with a whimper. Not for the first time, Alfa Romeo started the weekend looking good but it all went south on Saturday and they start eighteenth and nineteenth.
The Ferrari vs. Mercedes narrative gives the race some interest. Sainz being way back in sixteenth probably means it goes the way of Mercedes. I would take Russell to beat Leclerc, even if this track is famous for cars tending to finish where they started.
2023 Abu Dhabi GP raceday Tip: 1 point George Russell to beat Charles Leclerc @ 2.00 with Ladbrokes
Max Verstappen will win the race baring accidents but I’ll have a sporting bet on Piastri to win the race ‘without Max Verstappen’. We have two points on Norris for a podium and hopefully he can still manage that but this has been a track where it has been hard to make up places. Piastri starts third and if Leclerc does suffer with tyre deg, the Aussie is in a decent position to take his place and finish second.
2023 Abu Dhabi GP raceday Tip: 1 point Oscar Piastri to win w/o Verstappen @ 7.00 with Boylesports
That is all from me in 2023, Formula 1 wise. It all kicks off again next March and we have no less than twenty four races in prospect. Too many in my opinion, but that’s another story.