Formula 1

Mercedes showdown not the only battle to be settled in Abu Dhabi

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While the showdown between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg to be crowned 2014 Formula 1 world champion is dominating the build-up to this weekend's finale in Abu Dhabi, what other battles are to be settled under the lights at Yas Marina?

In a season dominated by Mercedes, the rest of the field has been incredibly close given the drastic change in regulations for this year.

Several teams have had the right to be named as 'best of the rest' behind the Silver Arrows though. Despite a torrid pre-season and the return to the front of Williams, Red Bull have second place in the Constructors' championship sewn up and Daniel Ricciardo, the only man not in a Mercedes to have won in 2014, has also secured third in the Drivers' standings after an incredible first year with the Milton Keynes-based team.

Constructors' championship

The battle for third in the Constructors' championship is still potentially on, with Ferrari 44 points behind Williams heading into the final race.

With double points on offer the Scuderia would have to rely on retirements for the Grove team and secure fourth and fifth to tie, its a long shot but not impossible.

McLaren seem to have fifth place in their pocket after a season-long scrap with Force India. Vijay Mallya's team is not giving up, however, despite a disappointing run of results towards the end of the season and an upturn in form by those at Woking.

Thirty four points is the gap now between the two teams so while Mallya may still be hopeful, I'm afraid, given recent results, it would likely require a miracle.

Battle for the wooden spoon worth keeping an eye on

The final tussle in the Constructors' standings is for the final three places. Reports claim Marussia could be heading to Abu Dhabi and by submitting their entry for this weekend's race, could secure the ninth place which Jules Bianchi earned for them with his and the team's first ever points after finishing ninth in Monaco.

Sauber are tenth and would need to finish tenth or better in Abu Dhabi to move clear of the Anglo-Russian outfit. A failure to score would be the first time the Swiss team has gone pointless over an entire season in their history and given the financial woes currently being felt at Hinwil, that would be detrimental to their chances of attracting outside investment.

And finally Caterham, who are in Abu Dhabi, should Marussia fail to make it in time would inherit tenth place in the standings by virtue of Marussia not fulfilling the criteria to be awarded their prize money but worries over just how safe their cars will be is also adding concern.

On the face of it then much in the Constructors' seems settled with just the fate of the newer teams set to be confirmed, but things are a lot different in the Drivers' standings with plenty to be decided.

Fourth place in driver's championship still up for grabs

The biggest battle is for fourth where just three points cover Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Valtteri Bottas heading to Abu Dhabi.

With three different teams represented it highlights just how competitive this season has been.

Bottas has been one of the rising stars of the season along with Ricciardo with five podium positions to his name and has outshined his more experienced team-mate Felipe Massa in the process.

While Alonso has done what Alonso always does and gets the absolute best and more from the car he has, with only two podiums to his name it marks in the incredible consistency of the Spaniard to be involved in the fight, also given he is over 100 points clear of his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen its just another example of how good he is and how he will be missed should he rejoin McLaren.

Finally Vettel, the German has been out of sorts all season getting to grips with the new V6 hybrid engines and the characteristics of the RB10. While he will be beaten by his team-mate, who was always in the right place at the right time, it still does say a lot about Red Bull's year that despite the weakest engine in what has been a power-dominated season, they will finish second in the Constructors' and possibly third and fourth in the Drivers' standings.

What are the permutations? Well the order they finish the race in Abu Dhabi will decide the order of the three drivers with four points the difference between each position from fourth to ninth.

Button vs. Massa in midfield

There's a battle between two of Formula 1's elder statesmen for seventh as Jenson Button currently holds an eight-point gap over Felipe Massa.

Given both teams have been reasonably close in recent races this should be another good battle to watch out for, but if Williams put themselves in the same 'best of the rest' role they have had for the last few races Button would need to finish directly behind the Brazilian to guarantee keeping that position.

The Iceman with a streak to protect

Kimi Raikkonen faces ending his run of never ending a season outside the top ten in the Drivers' standings in his F1 career but is only two point behind McLaren's Kevin Magnussen for tenth place.

Given the Dane's podium finish in Australia, the 'Iceman' would have to finish ninth or better with Magnussen not scoring to continue the streak, while behind Sergio Perez is also within striking distance eight points behind the 22-year-old.

The final battle is between Daniil Kvyat and Romain Grosjean for 14th with both men on eight points after the first 18 races though both would need a good race to improve on their total at Yas Marina.

See, not all about Mercedes!

And that's it, a whole article looking at what's to play for in Abu Dhabi without barely mentioning the words Hamilton, Rosberg and Mercedes, something I'm pretty sure you may not find anywhere else!  Just goes to show that despite some best efforts there are more than just two silver cars racing at Yas Marina this weekend!

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