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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Max Verstappen hopes different tyre strategy will pay off at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Red Bull driver will begin the race on the hypersoft, while teammate Ricciardo and Mercedes and Ferrari rivals, are all on the medium ultrasoft tyre

Max Verstappen talks to The National's Adam Workman ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Victor Besa / The National
Max Verstappen talks to The National's Adam Workman ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Victor Besa / The National

Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen believes an alternative tyre strategy will give him the chance to challenge Mercedes-GP and Ferrari for victory in Sunday's Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The 21-year-old Dutchman will start in sixth place at Yas Marina Circuit when the 55-lap race begins at 5.10pm, having been unhappy with his set-up in qualifying.

But he starts on the hypersoft, the softest of the three compounds Pirelli have brought to the UAE.

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Mercedes and Ferrari, as well as Verstappen's Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who starts fifth, are all on the medium ultrasoft tyre.

While Verstappen's tyres should, in theory, degrade faster, he believes the fact he is doing something different gives him the chance to push for a third win in 2018, following victories in Austria and Mexico.

"We have a different strategy to the people around us so hopefully that is going to work in our favour but we will find out," he said on Sunday.

Verstappen should have a grip advantage over the cars ahead of him off the start and in the opening laps and he vowed he would attack if he could to make up places.

"If you see the opportunity for sure I will have a go," he said.

Verstappen's previous best result in Abu Dhabi is fourth place in 2016.