Here it is… Abu Dhabi. The final race of what has been a dramatic and, at times, controversial season for F1.
As if this isn’t interesting enough, everything is still to play for in both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ championship, with Red Bull prodigy Max Verstappen and Mercedes’ main man Lewis Hamilton both entering the arena level on 369.5 points.
However, after a season filled with reprimands, fines and penalties, could we see these dictate the championship?
The short answer is yes.
Both drivers will be solely focused on finishing ahead of the other and possibly using every trick in the book to do so.
The previous round in Saudi Arabia saw Dutchman Verstappen handed a 10-second time penalty for causing a collision with his championship rival. However, Hamilton is also in danger of receiving a grid drop penalty in Abu Dhabi.
This is because within the last four races, the Brit has received two reprimands, a glorified telling-off by the sport’s governing body the FIA.
Hamilton has received these reprimands for an unsafe entry onto the track during FP1 in Mexico and forcing Haas driver Nikita Mazepin off the track in the high speed corners of the Jeddah Corniche circuit during final practice in Saudi Arabia.
If Hamilton were to receive another reprimand this weekend, it would result in a 10-place grid penalty for the start of the race, immediately putting him on the back foot and maiming his title hopes.
Race director Michael Masi has also stated that the FIA will use possible point deductions if the two championship rivals were to step over the line to secure their place as world champion.
This follows after last week’s hectic Saudi Arabian Grand Prix where the FIA were heavily criticised for their decision making and their punctuality.
With both drivers level on points, fears have circulated of the two colliding once more to decide the title, with previous legends such as Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher both losing and benefiting from this.
Yet, it seems that the FIA have laid down the law and will not accept any recklessness in order to win the title.
This puts the rivals on a dangerous tightrope and both drivers, especially Hamilton, will have to be on their best behaviour for a clean and fair final fight of 2021.