Page 82 - Simply Abu Dhabi Magazine IV

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82
S IMPLY ABU DHABI
Electrifying Trackside Build-up
Nothing can compare to the electrifying atmosphere of
watching the Formula 1 action unfold before you and
we were quite literally beside ourselves with excitement
to be VIPs at this monumental occasion. Despite some
turbulence in his personal life, at the start of the weekend
Lewis Hamilton looked happy saying he was above the
clouds with all non-motorsport distractions at the back of
his mind:
“When I’m on form I know nobody can touch me. I can take the car
to a limit that others probably can’t reach.”
On top form then, it was this self-belief that led the
championship driver to take a strong victory in Abu
Dhabi. Journalists and camera crews from around the
globe were recording non-stop and wherever we turned
there were interviews taking place. The fantastic roar of
the engines mingles beautifully with the excitable noises
from the energised crowds and the music pumping from
the parties all around. It is virtually impossible to do
justice to the electrifying ambience in the moments before
a big Formula 1 race, with incredible live broadcasts being
transmitted worldwide on the track side as everyone
from Bernie Ecclestone to King Juan Carlos of Spain
to the world champions – Fernando Alonso, Sebastian
Vettel and Lewis Hamilton – provide their own unique
commentary on proceedings. We could feel the energy
and vibe in the crowd as everyone seemed to be rooting
for Lewis Hamilton with massive support from fans from
both the UK and Abu Dhabi there to watch the victory.
We passed Danni Minogue chatting on her mobile as she
soaked up the fantastic Formula 1 atmosphere, spotted
Shaun Wright-Phillips, the footballer wandering around
the circuit and even Eric Clapton looked relaxed as he
enjoyed the pre-race atmosphere down at the trackside.
Abu Dhabi’s circuit is a fantastic circuit from which
to watch a thrilling race like the one we were about
to experience. Amongst fine company – the paddock
was full of famous faces including the legendary Paul
McCartney with new wife Nancy Shevall and Manchester
City manager Roberto Mancini – we were lucky enough
to benefit from a truly unique perspective on all the
action, watching championship drivers give it their all
for an ultimate lap. Throughout the weekend it became
increasingly apparent that Hamilton’s competitive spirit
was retuning in full force and he was feeling more positive
than he had for a long time.
A Fitting Victory
In a magical moment in Abu Dhabi, with nail-biting
anticipation from us as VIP guests, the race began.
Hamilton was victorious after Sebastian Vettel’s early exit
when he headed to the pits on the first lap and retirement
with a punctured rear tyre. But there was plenty of action
before that. Hamilton got off to a fantastic start, with a
good first lap fighting with Jenson Button. Hamilton’s
victory was then aided significantly by Sebastian Vettel,
who although off to a flying start, spun into retirement
as his right-rim tyre flew off the rim of his red bull after
just two corners – the first time in more than a year that
the German has failed to finish a race. After Vettel went
off, with two very fast drivers behind him, Lewis had to
work hard to maintain the gap. With the necessary pace,
he was able to put in the laps when Fernando went faster.
At times it seemed as though the gap was closing but
Hamilton held out. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso grabbed
second place fromMcLaren’s Jenson Button on the
opening lap. A KERS problem from the off scuppered
Button’s chances of making it a McLaren one-two as he
was forced to fiddle with various steering wheel controls to
adjust the settings as he was driving and Red Bull’s Mark
Webber gambled on a three-stop run after a botched first
pit stop. Felipe Massa presented a threat for a while until
he struck debris from Pastor Maldonado’s Williams, and
then spun. He stayed ahead of Nico Rosberg who pitted
late for medium tyres. Besides Vettel, Jerome D’Ambrosio
retired his virgin as a result of brake problems.
The top three positions were pretty much decided by the
time the first pit stops were complete and the contest at
the front fell slightly flat. Hamilton claims the win is
“one of his best ever”. Despite Button’s KERS issue his
run to third meant both McLaren drivers gave incredible
performances on the track. For Ferrari, Fernando Alonso
was faultless en route to second, but Felipe Massa blamed
the harder-compound tyre for a late-race spin. Watching
the race with all its dramas, I could feel the hairs on the
back on my neck stand up as you could cut the tension
with a knife. To be part of the Formula 1 action is truly
to be part of a phenomenal story and one that we will
remember and treasure for the rest of our time.
Sheer Jubilance
Lewis Hamilton’s pre-race confidence translated into an
easy win bringing him to 227 points as the McLaren-
Mercedes star took the chequered flag comfortably ahead
of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso with Hamilton’s team-mate
Jenson Button taking the final place on the podium.
The victory was a return to form for Hamilton who
dominated the Abu Dhabi circuit to earn his first triumph
since the German Grand Prix in July. A dominant victory
in Abu Dhabi was just the tonic Hamilton needed. He
dedicated the triumphant victory to his mother Carmen
who was also celebrating her birthday. Rating his victory
after a difficult time of things, Hamilton said;
“I don’t feel I’ve made a single mistake in the race and with the
things that have gone, the pressure that I’ve been under and with
the doubt that has surrounded me, I felt just massively proud to
have put that kind of performance together and to have come out
on top. I think my fans have been incredibly supportive and so
have my family, particularly so in recent weeks and that’s made a
big difference. And it’s my Mum’s birthday so that makes it even
better.”
To see race winner Lewis Hamilton celebrating on the
podium with the iconic winner’s bottle was like a dream
come true. He was later seen celebrating with his proud
mother, Carmen Lockhart who has been a fantastic
support to her talented son.
The Party Goes On
At the centre of all the adrenalin fuelled activity the Yas
Viceroy Hotel stands on Abu Dhabi’s Marina Circuit
with its colourful lights giving a subtle nod towards the
stylish high profile visitors who will be celebrating the F1
victory there in full-on glitz and glamour. The weekend
appears to be one non-stop party on the track, inside the
exclusive restaurants and venues and on the boats that
align the racetrack. We were part of a highly fortunate
and expectant crowd comprised of sponsors, singers,
Hollywood actors, excitable journalists and various VIP
guests ready to enjoy the sporting activity, socialising,
networking and entertainment laid on at this spectacular
Formula 1 event. Magnificent cars pulled up in front of
the Marina’s various hotels and restaurants and everyone
here had that vibe about them that they were part of a
something very special and exclusive. When it comes
to high octane glamour, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
celebrations have it at full force! Elite guests and celebrity
faces mingled at Cipriani where owner Giuseppe laid on
his renowned culinary delights satisfying every diner who
walked through the doors. Down at the arena the already
frenetic pace was stepped up another gear with fabulous
crowd-pleasing performances from pop icon Britney
Spears and the living legend, Sir Paul McCartney and at
the Skybar, visitors were getting down with Shaggy.
VIP Party of the Year by the Amber Lounge
Our sensational experience was just beginning as
Hamilton sped to victory and after all the excitement
down on the track we joined the fabulous celebrations
with many guests dancing and enjoying the party vibe
all night long. The world’s most exclusive Grand Prix
after party took place at the fashionable Amber Lounge
– hosted at the Yas Links Golf Club. As F1 drivers, pop
stars and celebrities gathered together to for post race
celebrations it was clear that Amber Lounge was the place
to be seen and the hottest party in town. At this sunning
new bespoke venue we chilled out on the terrace with
refreshments overlooking the beautifully lit Yas Hotel
before joining the party of the year inside. As VIP guests
we mingled amongst celebrities such as Dannii Minogue,
Richard Jones and Victoria Aitken as well as F1 drivers
who included – amongst others – Fernando Alonso,
Michael Schumacher, Felipe Massa and Nico Rosberg. As
we arrived at this exclusive venue the atmosphere inside
was already electric with resident DJ Micky keeping the
dance floor packed along with the amazing tracks laid
down by St Tropez’s celebrated DJ Jack.E. For us, the
performance of the night came from the pop sensation
Sophie Ellis Bextor who lit up this already hot venue with
her awesome renditions of two of her all time classic hits
– ‘ Murder on a Dance floor’ and ‘Groovejet (If this ain’t
love)’. Everyone was going wild as the party atmosphere
continued apace and it was an absolute honour to be part
of such an incredible experience where everyone was so
upbeat. The last guests left the party at dawn a little jaded
yet still full of the excitement of the previous day and
evening’s activity. For us this was the perfect way to end
a weekend of partying and a fitting finale to a fabulous
Formula 1 experience.
Thank You Formula One
The Abu Dhabi’s Grand Prix weekend offers it all – fast-
paced action on the track, exhilarating entertainment off
the track and the chance to come together with Formula
1’s finest and the world’s highest profile guests to be part
of something unique. We would like to thank everyone at
the marina, the circuit, the arena and the Amber Lounge
for one of the most incredible and fulfilling experience of
our lives. The A&J diaries would not have missed out on
this pleasure for the world!
s imp l y f ormu l a one
and the y’ r e o f f