Pirelli course preview: Abu Dhabi (VIDEO)

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Less than a week after Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull wrapped the 2013 Formula One Driver’s and Constructor’s Championships, respectively, the series is back in action at the stunning Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.

It’s a track where Vettel has won twice (2009, 2010) but has not yet done so on the Pirelli tires, although he’s the odds-on favorite this weekend. Instead, Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen have taken the last two Abu Dhabi Grand Prix victories, and Vettel put in one of his best drives of his career last year from starting in the pit lane to ending on the podium in third place.

As in India, Pirelli has brought the soft and medium compound tires to Abu Dhabi. The softs went off particularly quickly in India, with drivers needing to stop less than 10 laps into a stint to change onto the mediums. Pirelli racing manager Mario Isola previews how the tires will handle this course, this weekend.

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.