2020 F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix session timings and preview – F1

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Formula 1 completes its triple-header finale of the reshuffled 2020 calendar with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Following a pair of dramatic and unpredictable races in Bahrain, the F1 paddock has made the quick hop over to the Yas Marina Circuit for the 2020 finale in Abu Dhabi.

As things stand, Mercedes is waiting to find out if Lewis Hamilton will return to action after being forced to miss the Sakhir GP after testing positive for COVID-19. It also means George Russell’s spot remains unconfirmed as he will either step in again if Hamilton is absent or return to his usual place at Williams if the F1 world champion is able to make a comeback.

Pietro Fittipaldi will finish the season as Romain Grosjean’s injury replacement in Abu Dhabi at Haas, with the French driver confirming last Sunday the burns he suffered in his horrendous Bahrain GP crash have ruled him out of his own F1 finale.

The Abu Dhabi GP is also set to mark Sergio Perez’s final F1 race for the foreseeable future, despite taking a stunning maiden grand prix victory last time out, as he awaits Red Bull’s decision on if he or Alexander Albon will partner Max Verstappen in 2021.

The 2020 finale will also decide which team will claim the coveted third place in the F1 world constructors’ standings, with Racing Point currently in prime position with a 10-point advantage over McLaren thanks to Perez’s win and Lance Stroll’s podium in the last race.

Renault remains in contention, 22 points off Racing Point, but will need to replicate the Silverstone-based team’s standout results from the Sakhir GP to give itself a realistic shot.

Will fans be allowed at the Abu Dhabi GP?

Fans will not be allowed to attend the Abu Dhabi GP, with the Yas Island going into a ‘biosphere’ bubble which will only include F1 personnel, circuit officials and hotel workers in the area. The strict lockdown is part of the United Arab Emirates’ COVID-19 measures.

2020 Formula 1 Abu Dhabi GP session timings

F1 is sticking to its traditional format of two free practice sessions lasting 90 minutes each on Friday, followed by an additional practice session running for one hour on Saturday morning.

The Q1, Q2 and Q3 knockout-style qualifying format is also being retained on Saturday afternoon to decide the grid for the 55-lap Abu Dhabi GP on Sunday.

Friday 11th December 2020

Free Practice 1: 9:00am-10:30am GMT (1:00pm-2:30pm local)
Free Practice 2: 1:00pm-2:30pm GMT (5:00pm-6:30pm local)

Saturday 12th December 2020

Free Practice 3: 10:00am-11:00am GMT (2:00pm-3:00pm local)
Qualifying: 1:00pm-2:00pm GMT (5:00pm-6:00pm local)

Sunday 13th December 2020

Race: 1:10pm GMT (5:10pm local)

How can I watch the Abu Dhabi GP?

Channel: Sky Sports F1 HD
Channel numbers – Sky: 406
Channel numbers – Virgin Media: 506 (Sky Sports F1 HD)
Sky Sports has live and exclusive broadcasting rights in the United Kingdom with the build-up to the F1 race starting from 11:30am ahead of lights out at 1:10pm.

When can I watch the highlights?

Channel: Channel 4
Start time: Saturday qualifying 4:30pm, Sunday race 5:30pm

Channel 4 has the rights to show Abu Dhabi GP highlights of qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday.

Weather forecast for the Abu Dhabi GP

The Yas Marina Circuit is set for dry but cloudy conditions for the race weekend, with a minimal chance of rain. Across the weekend highs of 26 degrees Celsius are forecast – around the same conditions as the Sakhir GP.

Pirelli tyre allocation for the Abu Dhabi GP

Pirelli has opted for its softest range of compounds for the Sakhir GP, with the hard tyre C3, medium tyre C4 and soft tyre C5 – this range was last used at the Russian GP.

For all of the races in the reshuffled 2020 F1 season each driver will be given the same allocation of tyres per race. Each driver will get eight sets of softs, three sets of mediums and two sets of hards. Pirelli will also supply a range of wet and intermediate tyres for each driver.

Pirelli will also continue its 2021 tyre tests at the Abu Dhabi GP during free practice on Friday. However, unlike in Bahrain, the tyres will be just one set per car of the C4 compound (Bahrain was two sets of C3) and must be used in FP2 only, for a minimum run of eight timed laps. These sets are on top of the usual weekend allocations.

Most F1 Abu Dhabi GP wins

Lewis Hamilton: 5 wins (2011, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019)
Sebastian Vettel: 4 wins (2009, 2010, 2013)

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