The Yas Marina Circuit is something special. Not because of the track itself (which is almost entirely devoid of character and far too forgiving on mistakes), but because of what used to be here.
Empty space and sea water.
Yas Island, upon which the circuit lies, is man-made. It was created for the sole purpose of being a world-leading tourist destination, and it very much achieved that goal.
Attractions include Ferrari World, a Monaco-esque marina, an award-winning golf course, a ridiculously impressive-looking waterpark, a beach and a slew of magnificent hotels and restaurants.
Oh, and the largest IKEA store in the Middle East (which is proudly displayed on the tourist map).
The country's government created something truly remarkable—but then they got Hermann Tilke to design the circuit, and it came out rather average.
It's not horrible (if you ignore the blue run-off areas) and it does the job, but it could be so much better.
Kind of like designing a world-beating supercar, then giving it a stock two-litre turbo-diesel engine from a Ford Mondeo.
An onboard lap is available here, on the Formula1.com website.
A lap begins on the pit straight with a decent-length run down to Turn 1. Walls line either side of the circuit all the way up to the entry to this slow/medium speed 90-degree corner.
There's plenty of room on the exit for anyone wishing to run a little bit wide.
Turns 2, 3 and 4
The track rises slightly towards a couple of quick corners. First up is the flat-out left of Turn 2, which leads immediately into the even quicker Turn 3 (a right).
If you like fast corners, these two are the circuit's best. Turn 4 is a left-hand kink at the exit of Turn 3.
Turns 5, 6 and 7
After a short straight the drivers brake hard for a slow, fiddly chicane comprised of Turns 5 and 6. It's first left, then right, the latter corner being the slower of the two.
The term "Mickey Mouse corner" could well have been coined for this chicane.
Next up is the first-gear hairpin (Turn 7), a left-hander that is the slowest corner on the track.
It's worth noting here that removal of Turns 5 and 6 would probably make "natural" overtaking at this circuit easier. They break up the flow and spread the cars out, so getting rid of them would allow drivers to be closer going into the hairpin (Turn 7).
Unfortunately, that hairpin has no run-off area, so Mickey and Minnie have to remain for safety reasons.
Turns 8 and 9
The cars exit the hairpin onto the back straight, one of the longest in F1. The drivers are at full throttle for 15 seconds before braking hard for the second-gear left-right chicane of Turns 8 and 9.
It's slow and tight, so expect to see some action here as drivers defend, attack or attempt to wrong-foot a rival.
On paper the approach to Turns 8 and 9 is the best overtaking spot Yas Marina has to offer, but some drivers may wait it out. That's because there's another long straight next up—by completing a move into 8, you leave yourself wide open to a counter-attack.
Turns 10, 11, 12 and 13
Out of the chicane the cars enter a straight that isn't straight, and Turn 10 is the left-hand sweep making up the first half. It's shorter than the previous one, but the drivers still get 11 seconds at full throttle before another big stop, this one for Turn 11, a slow left-hander.
This should be considered the ideal place to overtake, so expect plenty of attempts into here on Sunday.
Following immediately is a slow and fairly unspectacular right-left chicane made up of Turns 12 and 13.
After a few seconds of acceleration comes Turn 14, a tricky off-camber (apex higher than the outside edge of the track) left taken in second gear.
Turns 15, 16 and 17
Next up is short straight (with a rare patch of beautiful green grass on one side and the marina over the wall on the other) followed by two flat-out rights, Turns 15 and 16.
The drivers brake for the tight second-gear right of Turn 17 on the exit of 16, and of all the corners on the circuit this one looks the easiest to get wrong.
Turns 18 and 19
After a short burst of acceleration comes a second-gear left, Turn 18.
The track then passes under the spectacular Yas Viceroy Hotel before Turn 19, another second-gear left.
Turns 20 and 21
The wall closes in at the exit of 19 but there's still at least a car's width of room on the outside. A short straight follows before the medium-speed right-hander of Turn 20.
The drivers then brake and drop back down into second for the right-hand Turn 21, the last corner of the lap.
The entry is on the inside just before Turn 21.
After the line of garages, the pit lane dips down and passes under the circuit (a unique feature in F1), then climbs back up to exit on the outside of Turn 3.