The end of the F1 season means just one thing – racing fun in the sun in Abu Dhabi & Dubai. After a slight false start with the unfortunate cancelation of flights on Wednesday evening, everyone gathered at London Heathrow again bright and early on Thursday morning ready for the final and arguably the most glamourous race of the championship.
The tour options for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ranged from a 3* hotel in the Business district to two 5* hotels in Jumeriah Beach Residences. You could also choose to stay on Yas Island at our 3* to 5* options.
Friday saw our clients taking in the attractions that Dubai has to offer, Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall being a popular choice. Those who pre-booked headed off into the desert for some dune bashing followed by an authentic Arabic dinner under the stars. Some clients made their own way to the circuit for P1 & P2 to really get every last morsel out of the final race of the season. Our Welcome Drinks took place on the Friday evening too, with everyone’s mind thinking about the weekend ahead with practice taking place at that time.
For those of us who were staying in Dubai we had a rather leisurely start to the day with our circuit transfers leaving at about 10:30am, heading straight to the circuit which took about 45 minutes. With the championship already wrapped up, this qualifying day was all to play for. Unsurprisingly Hamilton took pole position, and with a new track record set, just ahead of Valtteri Bottas. In 3rd and 4th place were Vettel and Raikkonen and 5th was Riccardo. Some customers decided to stay behind to watch Sam Smith perform after an exciting day of qualifying action.
On race day our coaches made their departure for Abu Dhabi just after 11:00am, ready for the action. The weather was noticeably warmer at the circuit, so sun cream and sunhats were adorned immediately. As the atmosphere of the race began to build, and the spectacle of the fly over and the national anthem had taken place, the race began! The most dramatic moment of the entire race happened within the 1st lap when Grosjean and Hulkenburg were hustling for position. With Hulkenburg misjudging Grosjean’s location he was then sent sprawling towards the barriers, a gasps was sent ricocheting throughout the circuit as we waited to see if everything was ok! Luckily Hulkenburg was fine and the safety car was sent out while the quick clean-up operation began. Once the safety car was released and the real race began, Verstappen was on the pursuit to climb up the rankings over taking on turn 7 twice in as many laps.
Hamilton came first as well as winning the championship, with Vettel and Verstappen coming second and third respectively. Attention quickly turned to the after-race concert with Guns N Roses performing – while others returned to our coaches to get back to Dubai after an exciting day.
Monday’s airport transfers came around far too quickly after a memorable weekend and were a rather early affair with the first leaving at 7:30am and the last ones at 8am.
As the wheels left the tarmac we all had an opportunity to reflect on an exciting and history making season for a certain Mr Hamilton and even more importantly let the excitement really start to set in for a new season with new and ‘more senior’ drivers getting to test their new machines in this wonderful sport – here’s hoping the next 3+ months go quickly…