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The Moodie Report is in Abu Dhabi this weekend for the third Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Grand Prix, at the stunning Yas Marina track. The atmosphere here is terrific, with Formula 1 and the social scene that surrounds it the only game in town from Friday through to Sunday.
As soon as you step off the plane, there’s no mistaking the F1 flavour that Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) has created, from the cars stationed along the Arrivals route (T1 is pictured) to the chequered flags that are flying high as you drive away from the airport.
Yesterday we visited the location for qualifying with our hosts, ADAC, and other guests including the airport’s key duty free concessionaire DFS (pictured above are ADAC Senior VP Commercial Dan Cappell and DFS Group President of Stores and Business Development Michael Schriver), and you can see why it’s become one of the most popular events on the F1 circuit, for drivers and for teams.
The facilities are superb, from the quality of the catering to the bars overlooking the home straight; and the social side is straight from the A-list. Britney Spears played here on Friday night, The Cult (for those of you who know your ‘80s post-punk) headlined at the track concert on Saturday and Paul Macartney (who we bumped into at dinner last night) plays tonight after the race. We’re also staying at the Yas Viceroey Hotel, surely unique as a hotel that sits right in the centre of a F1 race track (below).
The racing hasn’t been bad either. A dramatic qualifying session yesterday ended with Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel on pole, after he clocked up the fastest lap right at the death, just ahead of McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.
We were privileged to have a close-up view of the cars from the ADAC box just above the pits and will have the best view in the house of the drivers as they start and finish the race later. We’ll bring you more images post-event from Abu Dhabi tomorrow.