- Some family business dominated the Thursday in Abu Dhabi for the final media day of the season. The clash between Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc in the press conference ended up not happening, as the German decided to stay in Switzerland beside his wife, Hana Prater, and their new-born baby boy. Vettel was expected to fly to Abu Dhabi on Thursday evening and land in the early hours in the Emirates. Luckily for him, the sessions start a bit later than normal and he will have enough time to recover before hitting the track for free practice.

- When asked about his rival family “achievements”, Lewis Hamilton raised his eyebrows and said he is “very far from this project”. And joked that he struggles to keep his dogs alive and to be an uncle.

- Hamilton’s teammate, Valtteri Bottas, made no comments during his media session, but announced earlier he has split up with wife Emilia Bottas after nine years together and three years of marriage. The former Olympic swimmer met the driver in a TV show with young sporting talents in Finland and was rarely seen in the paddock this season. Using his Instagram to announce the split, he mentioned that their lives “have split because of the challenges” of his career. As Max Verstappen predicted a few months ago, the more races F1 has on its calendar, the more divorces will be on the way.

- But not everything was family matters this Thursday. Bottas will start from the back of the grid after taking on a new power unit this weekend. And Mercedes revealed it’s not the same engine Bottas and Hamilton took on Spa, but a recalibrated version, that should be marginally more powerful. With so many drivers nursing high-mileage engines in the last race of the season, it should be a fun Sunday for the Finn.

- In other Mercedes news, Lewis Hamilton said he will ask the members of the board who will be present this weekend in Abu Dhabi about the company’s plans beyond 2020. “They are all hardcore racers, so I think Mercedes is here to stay. If something has changed, I’m not aware, but I’ll speak with them," he said.

- There were some reflected moments, for the good and the bad, up and down the paddock. Alex Albon seemed to be impressed while he looked a result sheet a journalist brought to his media session. He revealed he tends to focus on the negative points and had even forgotten he had so much to celebrate this year. “But I have to stop crashing on free practices!” he noted.

- On the other hand, Nico Hulkenberg chose his move to Sauber in 2013 as the worst decision he took in his career in F1. “But these decisions are very hard to make, and it’s always easier to look at things in retrospect.” It seems like he feels everything slipped away from his hands in the last months of 2012, as he said the podium that didn’t come and hurt the most was on that Brazilian GP, when he crashed after leading with a 50s advantage that, until this day, he cannot explain how he was able to build.

 

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