Last weekend, we signed off from the 2018 Formula 1 season in style with a big weekend at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Here’s our highlights from Yas Marina, which included behind-the-scenes access, plenty of opportunities to get our guests close to the stars of the Formula 1 world and some exciting on-track action.
Exclusive Pit Lane Walk & Drive the Track Tour
Our last weekend of the year began after the sun went down on Thursday with an Exclusive Pit Lane Walk at Yas Marina. It was a hive of activity in the pit lane as the teams prepared the cars for Friday’s first practice session and our guests got to see several teams practicing their pit stops. We also spotted several drivers, including Carlos Sainz Jr, who was heading out to cycle the track with his father, two-time World Rally Champion Carlos Sainz. Next up, we hopped aboard two flat-bed trucks for a lap of this incredible circuit with expert commentary from several racing drivers, including Paul Rees and Max Aitken. Our first night at the track was capped off by posing for a photo with the Championship trophies on the Main Straight.
Insider Access & Paddock Club Party with Esteban Ocon
After the first two Formula 1 practice sessions, which saw Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas top the time sheets respectively, our Trophy and Hero guests gathered for Insider Access. At Yas Marina, this behind-the-scenes tour of the pitlane and Formula 1 Paddock included a meeting with Safety Car Driver Bernd Mayländer and visit to the Williams garage. Our guests also learned more about Formula 1 tyres from Pirelli and race suits from Alpine Stars. The tour concluded with a photo opportunity on the F1 podium!
Next up, we headed to F1’s premier hospitality suite, the Formula 1 Paddock Club, for a party with Force India’s Esteban Ocon. The 21-year old Frenchman, who becomes the reserve driver at Mercedes next year, talked about his desire to return to the F1 grid in 2020. He also posed for photos and sign autographs with our guests, including two members of “Team Ocon” from Japan who were dressed as the Pink Panther!
Guided Paddock Access
Over the course of the weekend, our Champions Club and Paddock Club guests were taken on a guided tour of the Formula 1 Paddock at Yas Marina, which included visits to the press pen, Pirelli tyre display and a look at the impressive villas used by the teams during the weekend. We also met many current and legendary drivers, including World Champions Jackie Stewart, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve. Some of our guests were also lucky to chat with F1 CEO Chase Carey and catch a glimpse of Hollywood star Will Smith.
Champions Club Trackside Yacht
Our stunning trackside yacht, the Serenity, was the place to be at Yas Marina all weekend! From watching the trackside action during the day and early evening through to exclusive parties at night, there was never a dull moment aboard our four-deck superyacht. Fernando Alonso paid our yacht guests a visit on Sunday before the race and we also welcomed F1 boss Chase Carey, members of Guns N’ Roses and other celebrities aboard over the course of the weekend.
On Saturday night, some of our guests had the privilege of attending an exclusive farewell barbeque for Fernando Alonso in the Formula 1 Paddock. Hosted by Will Buxton and Federica Masolin, the guest list featured a who’s who of F1 insiders. On stage, Alonso was presented with a gift by F1 boss Chase Carey and Yas Marina Circuit, who also also announced that the drivers’ briefing room at the season-ending venue will be named after him. We also watched a video paying tribute to the Spanish 2-time World Champion, who finished his appearance by reprising his famous “deckchair” moment from the 2017 Brazilian Grand Prix. Gracias Fernando, you will be missed.
Champions Club Trackside Terrace
Guests in our Champions Club Trackside Terrace enjoyed uninterrupted panoramic views over large parts of Yas Marina Circuit as they were treated to VIP hospitality and some special guest appearances, including 9-time Grand Prix winner Mark Webber, who joined us for a Q&A on Saturday before qualifying. Sean Kelly, also known as the Virtual Statman, also made an appearance on Saturday to share some of his encyclopaedic knowledge of Formula 1 with our guests.
After taking pole position on Saturday, 2018 World Champion Lewis Hamilton recorded his 11th victory of the season in dominant fashion on Sunday, beating home Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen to win the 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. In his last Formula 1 race, Fernando Alonso finished just outside the points for McLaren, before joining fellow World Champions Hamilton and Vettel for some donuts on the Main Straight.
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