Abu Dhabi: In 2009, Sebastian Vettel thrilled the region's racing fans by becoming the first winner at the magnificent Yas Marina Circuit.
Last year, Vettel came here on the brink of his first world championship win and then overshadowed the chasing pack to win his second successive race in the UAE and be crowned the youngest Formula One world champion.
Now the Red Bull driver returns to the bastion, this time having already retained the championship, and he will be aiming to complete a hat-trick of wins in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
"The track in Abu Dhabi is special — this will be our third Grand Prix there. The race starts at dusk and finishes at night, which means we have to drive with special helmet visors because of the different light conditions," said Vettel, who won the Indian Grand Prix less than a fortnight ago —his 11th victory of a dominant season.
"The other factor is that we drive anti-clockwise. The track's a bit like Singapore from the speed, but the asphalt is smoother," added Vettel, who has so far tallied 374 points.
While last year Vettel, along with teammate Mark Webber, Fernando Alonso of Ferrari and McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, were all in the running for the world championship, this year Vettel enjoys a 134-point lead over second-placed Jenson Button (240), such has been the young German's domination of the 2011 series with two races to go.
"There are two special features — one is the passage under the Yas Hotel, where else can you actually drive under your room? The second is the pit-lane exit, which is also special. It's partly underground and it feels like you are coming out of an underground parking garage when you drive through it," said Vettel as he returns to his happy hunting ground.
Vettel's teammate Webber is this time battling to take second place in the championship, with Button and Alonso currently ahead of him in the points tally.
"I'm really looking forward to getting to Abu Dhabi," said Webber, who has 221 points compared to Button's 240 and Alonso's 227, while Lewis Hamilton is in fifth place with 202 points with 50 points up for grabs over the next two races.
"Although it's not one of the most challenging venues of the season, with every real corner being second and third gear, it's always a great spectacle. It's a twilight race, so it looks amazing on TV," said Webber, who was second in 2009 for a one-two for Red Bull, but last year he slipped to eighth place after starting in grid five.
"It's another great opportunity for the team to get a very good result as the season comes to a close. The sun is always shining and the conditions are always beautiful, so that's something to look forward to."