Hamilton vs Verstappen: Three other times the F1 title was decided at Abu Dhabi GP

All to race for at Yas Marina Circuit on Sunday, when an enthralling title battle reaches its conclusion

The 2021 Formula One drivers' title will be decided on Sunday at the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where one of the most enthralling battles in motorsport history will reach its climax.

Mercedes' defending and seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, bidding for his first crown, are locked on 369.5 points each heading into the final race of the season following Hamilton's victory, and Verstappen's second-place finish, at a riveting Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

It will be the fourth time the F1 drivers' title will be settled at Yas Marina Circuit. Here is a look at what unfolded in the previous three.

2010 (Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull)

It only took the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix until its second edition to host a historic drivers' title battle. Heading to Yas Marina Circuit, Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso led the standings on 246 points, ahead of Red Bull pair Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel on 238 and 231 points respectively.

Hamilton, then racing for McLaren, sat fourth on 222 points, meaning for the first time in F1 history, there were four drivers in mathematical contention to win the title at the final grand prix of the season.

Vettel took pole position and converted his advantage in emphatic style, winning the race and taking the title — his first of four — after Alonso finished seventh and Webber had to settle for eighth. McLaren pair Hamilton and Jenson Button completed the podium.

November 13, 2010 - Abu Dhabi, UAE - Sebastian Vettel, of Red Bull Racing, won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi on Sunday November 14, 2010.  (Andrew Henderson / The National)

2014 (Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes)

Another Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, another historic battle, as it was at the 2014 race when double points were awarded for the first, and only, time. The change to the points system caused plenty of debate and controversy, but it did keep the title race alive, with Hamilton leading his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg by 17 points.

Fortunately, for the credibility of the sport, Hamilton's dominance over the season was justly rewarded as he claimed his 11th victory of the year by taking the chequered flag at Yas Marina. Rosberg, who suffered from engine problems, finished down in 14th having started on pole.

Hamilton, who was joined on the podium by the Williams pairing of Felipe Massa and future teammate Valtteri Bottas, ended his six-year wait for a world title and kick-started his era of dominance at Mercedes.

2016 (Nico Rosberg, Mercedes)

After successive world titles for Hamilton, Rosberg was well positioned to disrupt his Mercedes teammate's stranglehold when he arrived in Abu Dhabi holding a 12-point lead.

It was advantage Hamilton after he took pole position, and the defending champion knew that he needed to win the race and Rosberg finish fourth or lower to retain his title.

Leading from the front and aware of what he needed to accomplish, Hamilton tried to back up the cars behind him in an attempt to put Rosberg under pressure from the likes of Ferrari's Vettel and Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.

It made for a unique climax to the end of the 2016 season but ultimately Rosberg managed to hold firm in second place to clinch his lone world title. The German driver announced his retirement shortly after and the drivers' title has since been dominated by Hamilton … until this year?

Updated: December 7th 2021, 5:30 AM