Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix 2016: Start Time, Drivers, TV Schedule and More

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistNovember 26, 2016

A combination of pictures shows Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's British driver Lewis Hamilton (L) and his teammate German driver Nico Rosberg walking out of the garage after their first practice session as part of the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit on November 25, 2016. / AFP / Andrej ISAKOVIC        (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images)

The Formula One drivers championship is still officially up for grabs at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this Sunday. Mercedes duo Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton are still vying for the title, with the former holding a commanding 12-point lead.

However, Hamilton has already made it clear Rosberg won't have things all his own way on the Yas Marina Circuit. The Englishman has so far paced his team-mate and professional rival in both practice sessions, per the F1 official site.

Other news from the event concerns Jenson Button's imminent retirement. The McLaren-Honda man will call it quits after the season's final race, according to BBC Sport.

Here are the schedule details and viewing information for this decisive race:

Date: Sunday, November 27

Time: 1 p.m. (GMT) / 8 a.m. (ET)

TV Info: Sky Sports F1. Channel 4 (free-to-air). NBCSN.

Live Stream: Sky Go. NBC Sports App.


It's all about Rosberg and Hamilton's head-to-head showdown. A 25-point maximum will be the reward for the winner, enough to guarantee the title for Rosberg.

Of course, it's just one permutation capable of deciding the championship. For instance, Rosberg can finish second or third and still clinch the title.

All of the permutations to note are spelled out by William Esler of Sky Sports:

If Hamilton is second, Rosberg needs to be sixth or better. If Rosberg was seventh, he and Hamilton would be tied on points, but Hamilton would be champion by having more third places (four to two).

If Hamilton is third, Rosberg needs to be eighth or better.

If Hamilton is fourth, Rosberg is champion no matter where he finishes. A non-score for Rosberg would leave them tied on points, but the German would take the title based on having more second places (four to three).

It means the odds are stacked against Hamilton pinching the title from out of Rosberg's grasp. Ultimately, he's left needing a miracle to claim the big prize.

Rosberg looks set to take the title away from Hamilton.
Rosberg looks set to take the title away from Hamilton.ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/Getty Images

Yet Hamilton making history isn't out of the realm of possibility. Not when you consider he's finished ahead of Rosberg in each of the last three races on the calendar.

Most recently, Hamilton gained and maintained control in the Brazilian Grand Prix. As BBC Sport noted, Hamilton once trailed Rosberg by as much as 43 points. So there's still hope.

Hamilton has already indicated he'll be proud of his season no matter what happens this weekend, according to BBC Sport's Andrew Benson: "It has been a challenging season in terms of ups and downs. But I've managed to strengthen in terms of turning the negatives into positives."

As for Rosberg, he's content to stick with a steady approach, per the Formula 1 official site: "In Brazil, after the race, I was joking that I would still be taking things one race at a time. But, the more I think about it, the more that's actually not as crazy as it sounds."

Fans will be enthralled by the title tussle.
Fans will be enthralled by the title tussle.ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/Getty Images

It's a cagey plan, but one that makes sense considering the size of the lead Rosberg has.

The title picture will naturally dominate attention, but more than a few eyes will also stay glued to Max Verstappen. He produced a spectacular drive in Brazil, and the 19-year-old is rightly being tipped for big things.

In fact, Oliver Brown of the Daily Telegraph believes the Red Bull Racing star is F1's best hope of ending the hegemony Mercedes has established over the sport in recent years.

Verstappen is certainly F1's most exciting talent. He's part of a strong team also featuring Daniel Ricciardo. The 27-year-old Australian knows the title is beyond him, but Ricciardo believes Rosberg will take home this season's championship, per another report from Esler.

It seems like the safest bet to anticipate Rosberg earning his first title this weekend. The German just needs to avoid obvious mistakes or a catastrophe and he'll do enough to render a Hamilton win moot in the overall title picture.


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