And just like that, we enter the final race of the 2017 Formula one season. It seems like no time at all since we sat down to watch Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari put the cat amongst the pigeons in Melbourne earlier this March, at the opening race of the year.
Back then, the expectation was that Mercedes would sail to another constructors' championship and Lewis Hamilton would clinch his fourth world title. Both predictions came true, of course, though, but it was hardly easy pickings for either team nor driver. After a disappointing half-decade, Ferrari returned this year with a bang. They made huge leaps in pre-season and hit the ground running during testing, so much so that some made them early-season favourites.
Their winter form was taken into the opening half of the season, where the Scuderia shocked the Mercedes team by winning four races. Sebastian Vettel held a healthy lead going into the summer break, but the second half of the season was a different story; Mercedes and Hamilton came flying out of the traps whilst Ferrari toiled with engine failure and Vettel involved himself in various race-ending scraps.
Whilst Abu Dhabi this Sunday will be little more than a title parade for Hamilton, there is a hearty midfield battle that still has to be won involving Williams, Toro Rosso, Renault and Haas. Unless the latter two can gain a very unlikely 1-2 finish, it seems like the order from 5th to 8th in the standing will remain as above.
Stay tuned for a full season round-up when the chequerd flag falls in the desert this weekend.