Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Betting: Ferrari internal battle provides final-day intrigue

Ferrari engineers work on the car
The Ferrari engineers will be praying for a quiet weekend in Abu Dhabi

The season comes to an end in Abu Dhabi with both titles long decided but James Gray has still found some things to get excited about...

"Leclerc has promised, though gritted teeth, that the Ferrari drivers will give each other more space. It seems unlikely."

And so it all comes down to this. Except of course that it doesn't, because both titles are sewn up and the jeopardy of the world championships faded some weeks ago.

The most disappointed will be those who have paid an enormous staging fee and invested so much in the track at Yas Marina to make it the final race of the season.

The track creates little - but it does not need to

The fans too will be disappointed - but many would argue that some of these Grands Prix are held with little thought for the fans.

The circuit itself is almost universally unpopular with drivers because while it is custom-built, it still picks its way around the hotels and marinas that give it a name. Even the main straight features a bizarre narrowing, kink to accommodate a car park on the other side of the barriers.

However, there have been exciting races here because of the circumstances. As the last race of the year, often with less on the line, drivers do not fear the consequences of the more audacious moves - which are required to pull off overtakes at Yas Marina - and engineers ensure their drivers that this is a chance to "go out there and have some fun". Few too will forget Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg battling it out in dramatic circumstances.

The run-off areas too, often criticised by petrolheads who would rather see the jeopardy of barriers and walls or the excitement created by a safety car, allow mistakes to result in a drop down the field and a chance to fight back through rather than simply walk back to the pit lane.

The Ferraris will fight

Ferrari may have lost both titles weeks ago and the team would probably rather a boring weekend in Abu Dhabi. But that seems highly unlikely.

Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel have been battling tooth and nail all year and the Brazilian Grand Prix was no different. Admittedly, it was a minimal amount of contact for a maximum amount of damage - but even so the drivers know they got it wrong.

"We discussed together and I think that they understand what happened was not acceptable," team boss Mattia Binotto said, without apportioning blame in either direction.

But Vettel is heading into the last year of his contract and Ferrari know they cannot continue to try to balance the favour between him and his more junior colleague, who is so clearly the future of the team.

Doubtless those conversations will be had over the off-season and Vettel will fight for his right to be the No 1 driver as a four-time world champion.

But if Ferrari ask "what have you done for me lately?", he will be forced to answer "lose to Leclerc" - unless he can bridge a 19-point gap in the desert.

Leclerc has promised, though gritted teeth, that they will give each other more space. Watch this particular space very carefully.

The midfield battle

With the 2020 grid has been completed by Nicolas Latifi's place at Williams being confirmed, there will be no on-track battles for a seat next year but Pierre Gasly's surprise podium in Brazil two weeks ago has thrust them right back into the battle for fifth.

Millions of pounds are on the line for every place in the Constructors' Championship but for Toro Rosso, catching Renault would be so much more than just the money.

They have signed an cautious one-year extension with Honda that takes them to the end of 2021, the first year of the new regulation changes, suggesting that they have ambitions to be genuinely competitive in the top half of the grid, rather than just a sister team to Red Bull.

Gasly too has repaid so much of the faith shown in him by this column while Daniil Kvyat has shown the talent that has seen him survive many a cull. Renault are nine points ahead but nervously looking over their shoulder.

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