Yas Marina Circuit

Abu Dhabi

Yas Marina Circuit

What took a little longer - four grands prix in fact - was for the Middle East venue to prove that it could produce a race to match the surroundings, after some turgid, and processional, affairs in its first few years.

That, however, all changed in 2012 as Yas Marina played host to a chaotic 55 laps of racing that witnessed numerous collisions, two safety cars, some brilliant overtaking moves and a pitlane to podium charge from Sebastian Vettel.

Throw in the first win of Kimi Raikkonen's comeback - and his hilarious "leave me alone, I know what I'm doing" radio remark - and Abu Dhabi could rightly claim to have played host to the most entertaining race of the year.

Entertainment had certainly never been in short supply off the track at Yas Marina owing to the country's ambitious attempt to bring the glamour of picturesque Monaco to the Middle East.

The venue's facilities are certainly unparalled in F1: the surrounding harbour is capable of hosting over 150 yachts, whilst a five-star hotel which lights up at night (and changes colour) straddles the circuit.

Developers also included a novel F1 'first' in the track's design in the form of a pitlane exit tunnel which filters cars under the track and to a safer point of release at Turn Three.

In its first two years Abu Dhabi was given the honour of hosting the season finale, and while they missed out on the title showdown in 2009, the following year delivered the first four-way decider in the history of the sport.

However, rather than being able to fully bask in the glow of the unfolding drama as pre-race outsider Sebastian Vettel clinched his first title, the circuit was on the receiving end of criticism for its lack of overtaking opportunities after championship favourite Fernando Alonso spent lap after lap bottled up behind Vitaly Petrov's slower Renault.

The addition of two DRS Zones for 2011 and 2012 helped improve things and the success of that latter race suggests Yas Marina has finally arrived.

  • Circuit length:5.554 km
  • Lap Record:S Vettel (2009)
  • Laps:55
  • Most wins (Drivers):Vettel (2)
  • Most wins (Constructors):Red Bull (2)