Biggest ever audience cheer Lewis Hamilton to victory as curtain falls on exhilarating weekend packed with racing action and entertainment
The largest crowd ever seen at Yas Marina Circuit cheered Lewis Hamilton to victory as a dramatic season came to a close at the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The podium prize ceremony, which saw Hamilton crowned 2014 Formula One Champion, concluded three days of track action and spectacular off-track activities enjoyed by fans across the newly-extended 60,000-capacity venue.
Throughout the Grand Prix weekend, racing fans – including a record number from overseas – have enjoyed a blockbuster atmosphere, both in the grandstands and away from the track. The final after-race concert, featuring British rock legends The Who, brought the curtain down on a world-beating, non-stop program of entertainment.
“I would like to congratulate the new world champion after what has been one of the most thrilling finales to a Formula 1 season in recent years,” said Al Tareq Al Ameri, CEO of Yas Marina Circuit.
“Fans were promised an exceptional, spectacular experience and we hope the weekend has lived up to the expectations. The largest crowds in the event’s short history have generated an incredible atmosphere around the whole circuit.
“For me, in my first year as CEO of Yas Marina Circuit, it’s been an honour to preside over such an extraordinary event, and a fitting end to the Formula One racing season.”
As well as the top sporting drama, attendance was driven this year by an unbeatable range of on-site activities to suit people of all ages.
The five Oasis zones have been packed at all times with race-goers enjoying a thrilling carnival of activities including live music, theatre productions, gamezones, UAE heritage and other exhibitions and numerous hospitality options.
The Heritage Village in the North Oasis area proved a popular attraction, with its lively mix of traditional Emirati activities such as falconry, local cooking, handicrafts, and henna painting.
Motoring enthusiasts enjoyed a trip down memory lane in the West Oasis’s classic cars exhibition and tested their skills at the “Pit-Stop Challenge”. Yas Marina Circuit’s very own beach was also a big draw, as visitors wishing to relax in the sunshine took to their sun-loungers.
The hub of activity was the F1 Village, next to the Main Grandstand, where a non-stop line-up of music and dance provided the backdrop to a vast array of entertainment options including the F1 Gamezone and the Majlis Arabic Chill-Out area.
Kids were able to put their driving skills to the test at the Yas Kartzone, which was open throughout the race weekend.
As ever, the F1 after-race concert series proved a huge success. It kicked off in style on Thursday night, with a bill that included famous Middle Eastern artists such as Tamer Hosny and Mohammed Assaf. Friday was the turn of Dutch sensation Armin Van Buuren, who dazzled the audience with his high-energy set. And on Saturday the the man of the moment Pharrell Williams treated the Du Arena audience to a memorable show.
“I’ve enjoyed every minute of this weekend,” said Neil Watkins, 63, from Wales, UK, who has attended the Abu Dhabi event for the last three years. “The racing itself was really amazing. I couldn’t believe the atmosphere in the Grandstand as the cars lined up on the starting grid, and that excitement lasted from start to finish.”