The Formula One season is about to reach its finale in Abu Dhabi on Sunday and though Lewis Hamilton already has another world title safely in the bag, the rest of drivers remain focused on ending their campaigns on a high.
Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo – who will be racing for Renault DP World for the last time on Sunday – has promised there will be no let up from the rest of the drivers this weekend.
“I’m sure I speak for all drivers when I say that once you put the helmet on and the lights go out, we only know one speed,” he said on Thursday.
It’s all change for Ricciardo next year, as he will be replacing Carlos Sainz Jr at McLaren, but the 31-year-old says that is not something he is thinking about at the moment.
“There is still a fourth in the drivers’ title to contend for. I feel there’s a lot I can fight for with the team," he said.
“Our starts have been really strong this year, so that puts us right in the mix for the podium."
He added that he is a “hot weather, sunshine, summer racer,” so the Abu Dhabi circuit, and those in the Middle East in general, suit him well.
Esteban Ocon, the Australian’s stablemate at Renault, is also pushing for the best finish possible.
He said: “It’s going to be an extremely important event for us, it’s the last of the year. We’re coming with a great energy into this weekend, but we’re fighting for third in the constructors’ championship, so we need to get it right.”
Ocon does not underestimate the task ahead though. “This season has told us anything can happen,” he said. “It’s been a crazy year.”
Earlier, Red Bull’s pairing of Max Verstappen and Alex Albon said they had no intention of letting things slide either.
“We finished second here last year and we have nothing to lose this weekend so it will be ‘full send’,” Verstappen said.
The Dutch driver’s stablemate agreed, adding: “It’s the last race of the year but that doesn’t mean any less effort goes into it. On my side I’m pushing hard to finish the season strong and we’ll be giving it everything like we always do.”
Following doubts about his inclusion after a positive coronavirus test, Hamilton has now been allowed to race.
This means Verstappen has a point to prove, having been the only driver to push the dominant Englishman in last year’s race at Yas Island. The Dutch driver is also involved in a battle for second spot in this year’s championship with Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.
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