Daniel Ricciardo is relishing the final fight at the Yas Marina circuit which hosted his 'best race' in Formula 1.
The Red Bull driver endured a challenging Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 12 months ago after he and then team-mate Sebastian Vettel were excluded from qualifying due to an illegal front wing and were forced to start the race from the pitlane.
Ricciardo, who had originally put his Red Bull fifth on the start grid before the penalty, carved his way through the field to take an impressive fourth place while also grabbing his first fastest lap record in an F1 Grand Prix.
Reflecting on the race, the Australian says in terms of race pace and performance it was the best he's ever produced in his burgeoning F1 career.
“Honestly yeah, I think it really was my best weekend of 2014. It wasn't a win but I nailed qualifying, I nailed the race, I nailed the whole thing,” Ricciardo said. “Pace, consistency, everything was awesome and it got me from the back of the grid to fourth, so yes, in terms of pure performance, it was my best race.”
Fresh from the 2015 Race Of Champions at London's former Olympic stadium – where he lost to Nico Hulkenberg in an all-F1 first round clash while also being knocked out at the first hurdle competing in the ROC Nations event for Team Australia – Ricciardo is looking forward to the traditional party atmosphere and aiming to overturn a 10-point deficit to his team-mate Daniil Kvyat to claim top honours at Red Bull in 2015.
"I like the last sector in particular because that turns it into an exciting track,” he explained. “It's twisty and you get right up close to the walls. You also have to contend with your tyres going off because the start of the lap is so fast – by the third sector you're really having to manage your rubber. It's a challenge.”