So we arrive at the final race of the year. As with all years in life they seem to get quicker and quicker as you age and boy have I aged this year. Sadly not in a good way like a fine wine or cheese but more like the old man I am
Despite my fanhood and passion for certain drivers and teams I have enjoyed the racing this year. It is neither what I expected or wanted to see. My passionate and fiery hatred for pretty much all things Red Bull is still burning brighter in fact brighter than ever. That said even though there will be question marks over Red Bull budget that really applies to 2021 (and man it just restoked my fire and passion for the way that ended, even more than ever I feel my guy was totally cheated out of what was rightfully his) there can be no doubt some of those benefits went into the 2022 car. How much I have no idea but some for sure.
That said and with two caveats that A) They benefitted from cheating in 2021 and B) Red Bull did not cheat on their budget again this year Verstappen is a deserved winner. He was so far ahead of the others its unbelievable. The old Car vs Driver argument I am sure will be raised as it seems to be every year but the combination was pretty much unstoppable this season.
So what can we look out for in this last race:
1. Can Mercedes catch Ferrari for second place. Yes they can but they will need to outscore them by 24 points. Its doable but also unlikely.
2. Can Aston Martin catch Alfa Romeo for 6th place. They are 5 points behind right now. It would be cool to see Seb Vettel score well in his final race and lift Aston Martin above Alfa. To do so would probably require at least one or two of the top teams dropping out of the race as it will require a 7th place finish by an Aston car or two top ten finishes by both Astons scoring 6 points total and no top ten finish for Alpha. Again unlikely to happen.
3. Can Alpha Tauri catch Haas for 8th place. Haas currently hold a 2 point lead in that battle so that would require an 8th place finish by an Alpha car and no top 10 finish by a Haas car. That is probably the most achievable of the three scenarios. Can Gasly leave Alpha with a flourish. Again unlikely but less so.
4. Who will get second place in the Drivers Championship Leclerc or Perez? My money would be on…. don’t know its a toss up I guess. Not a fan of either of them begging to be let through for points in the Brazil GP but as for Verstappen’s refusal to follow team orders. despicable.
For me personally I want to see if Brazil was a Mercedes fluke. Are they really catching up. Its been such a bad year for them it makes me think in a negative way that it was fluke. I still think Red Bull is the fastest car overall. At the risk of ridicule and being accused of bias I still think Hamilton is head and shoulders the best driver in F1. Verstappen second but with both Brits Norris and Russell right behind him add to that Leclerc with Sainz maybe 6th.
As for the regulation changes I and others have said it before they have failed to deliver what was projected. The racing is not closer. Despite listening to that irritating idiot Croft go on and on all season long about how it was great to see that cars could follow so much closer it made little to no difference when it came to the thing that really matters. Overtaking.
I enjoy Abu Dhabi yes I know its a not a favorite here but I do not care I like it!!!!! I like the atmosphere of the final race, I like the scenery and the show it puts on as a night race. DRS is too strong here especially the back to back straights. So who do I think will win. Well here is a shocking observation from yours truly. Wait for it *Drum Roll* Verstappen I still think its the best car and driver combination for this season.
I expect to be around for P2, Quali and of course the race, be nice to see as many Banterers as possible in chat for the last time before all the boozy year end festivities all you drunkards enjoy