Yas Marina Circuit shines in season-ending thriller

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Yas Marina Circuit shines in season-ending thriller
F1 drivers parade at the starting grid prior to the start of final round of Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on Sunday.

Abu Dhabi - The McLaren, too, had a special visitor in former King of Spain Juan Carlos

By Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Mon 28 Nov 2016, 10:14 PM

Yas Marina Circuit was hotbed of opportunity on Sunday. The Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix not only offered the vrooms of Formula One drivers but also the charms of celebrities and politicians of all hues. And aficionados in their thousands joined the twilight carnival.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, attended the season-ending race at the circuit.
Three-time World Champion and Mercedes F1 non-executive chairman Niki Lauda was out there to inspire his team. Then there was tennis legend Roger Federer, who too joined the Mercedes camp.
The McLaren, too, had a special visitor in former King of Spain Juan Carlos. The highlight of the day was the Drivers' Track Parade. Etihad air-hostesses led the way. The drivers waved and fans went wild at the sight of their favourite riders. It's not every day that one gets to see faces of their stars.
Also, the Formula One Village hummed with activity. Many fans bought 'Nico Rosberg' T-shirts - none believed in Shakespearean tragedy. In the autograph zone, fans waited in queues and drivers from Williams' Felipe Massa, Valtteri Bottas to Sauber's Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson obliged one and all.
Rock stars had given fans a rollicking time over last few days. On Sunday, there was in the paddock Pink Floyd former drummer Nick Mason, who was mobbed by fans for autographs and selfies.
By evening, yachts were all filled up and buzzing. Heating up the scene was American model Rita Ora. Amid all fanfare, there were many emotional scenes too. With two legends Jenson Button and Felipe Massa set to be out of the circuit, 'goodbye' and 'thank you' messages dotted the grandstands. A marshal held: 'Obrigado Felipe'.
Just as Hamilton blazed through the chequered flag, fireworks started celebrating the successful completion of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which had provided action, drama, romance and music - total entertainment.
ashwani@khaleejtimes.com



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