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As with every season, the final round of the year is always both a celebration and a somber occasion. The 2017 FBC Staff Championship has had some great battling all year long through the mid-field. The gap has widened a bit over these final few races, but second through sixth positions were separated by as little as five points just a few races ago.

Meanwhile, the massive lead that Paul has held pretty much all season long has dwindled, thanks to two straight scoreless races. However, he does still have a twenty point lead over Todd in second position. With such a gap, Paul is stepping outside of the box a bit by way of going with Vettel for the win in Abu Dhabi. Tony is the only other staffer to pick the German, with all others going with Hamilton to finish his championship winning season on a high note. As per the norm, all staffers have gone with Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull pilots to finish on the podiums. In fact, other that J.P. choosing Max to come home second, all of us have picked some semblance of a Hamilton/Vettel one-two finish this weekend.

The usual Top Six guests include Perez, Sainz, Ocon and Massa, while First Out honors are shared by Wherlein, Massa, Ericksson, Vandoorne, Grosjean, Stroll and Alonso, who gets two picks. And with that, the final pre-race staff picks post of 2017 is complete (insert frowny face emoji here).

Todd
1. Hamilton
2. Vettel
3. Verstappen
4. Bottas
5. Ricciardo
6. Raikkonen
FO Wherlein

Grace
1. Hamilton
2. Vettel
3. Bottas
4. Ricciardo
5. Raikkonen
6. Verstappen
FO Massa

Paul
1. Vettel
2. Hamilton
3. Ricciardo
4. Bottas
5. Raikkonen
6. Perez
FO Ericksson

Tom
1. Hamilton
2. Vettel
3. Verstappen
4. Bottas
5. Ricciardo
6. Sainz
FO Vandoorne

Andrew
1. Hamilton
2. Vettel
3. Bottas
4. Ricciardo
5. Raikkonen
6. Ocon
FO Alonso

Tony
1. Vettel
2. Hamilton
3. Verstappen
4. Ricciardo
5. Bottas
6. Perez
FO Alonso

Dave
1. Hamilton
2. Vettel
3. Raikkonen
4. Bottas
5. Ricciardo
6. Massa
FO Grosjean

Johnpierre
1. Hamilton
2. Verstappen
3. Vettel
4. Ricciardo
5. Raikkonen
6. Bottas
FO Stroll

Current Standings
1. Paul 159
2. Todd 139
3. Tom 132
4. Andrew 122
5. Tony 117
6. Dave 111
7. Grace 103
8. Johnpierre 80

  • jakobusvdl

    Has Dave got time to give us a p.u update, or perhaps a grand p.u usage update after Abu Dhabi?
    It would be interesting to see some analysis of the actual useage and which of the changes were tactical (introducing an upgrade), and which were imposed by a failure.
    It’s looking like after all the focus on Honda’s woes in the first half of the season, Renault have hit a massive problem in the second half.
    But Dave’s analysis would put these impressions into perspective.

    • Paul KieferJr

      I heard that Hartley will be penalized 10 spots on the grid for an MGU-H change.

      • jakobusvdl

        With STR going to Honda next year he may never experience an F1 race without a grid penalty.
        He’ll need to dig deep into his reserves of kiwi grit to get the best out of this opportunity.

      • Salvu Borg

        Hartley, fourth grid penalty in his fourth grand prix

    • Salvu Borg

      Dave is probably waiting for a FERRARI turbo to explode, something he was so sure off.

      • Salvu Borg

        Going into Abu Dhabi FP3 this morning the following drivers/car numbers will be running/using the following ICE, TC AND MGU-H.
        Car number 44 ICE, TC and MGU-H for the second race.
        Car number 5 ICE,TC and MGU-H for the sixth race.
        Car number 77 ICE, TC and MGU-H for the ninth race.
        Car number 7 ICE, TC and MGU-H for the 11th race.
        This as long as there will not be any last minute replacements.

        • jakobusvdl

          That’s quite impressive, getting up to 11 races out of a p.u.
          And still running top 4.

      • MIE

        Apologies for the lack of updates. I have recently moved house and am without internet access for much of the time.
        You are correct in that I was expecting Ferrari to need another TC for Raikkonen’s car, the fact that they managed to get through the season without it is encouraging for next year, but it could partially explain the performance deficit to Mercedes in recent races.

        • jakobusvdl

          Welcome back, I hope you are settling in and the limited internet access is a temporary situation.
          Looking forward to some of your insightful analysis and assessments

  • Paul KieferJr

    I’m going with:

    1. Hamilton
    2. Vettel
    3. Bottas
    4. Verstappen
    5. Raikkonen
    6. Ricciardo

    ….and first out will be Sainz.