Thursday was the first day of events for the 2014 FORMULA 1 ETIHAD AIRWAYS ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX. This day permitted members of the public holding tickets to walk along a section of track and past the pit lane. We managed to get very close to the pit stops of each car and team, and it was amazing to see the buzz of energy as the engineers readied the cars. We even managed to catch a glimpse of Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton!
We walked back to the Radisson after the Pit Lane tour, and had several hours of relaxation before the Official After Party in the evening. As it was an incredibly hot day, we all went down to the pool for some lunch at the pool bar followed by a short swim. We kept the swim short, as the whole of Team Australia (us, Gamma Raycing and Southern Cross F1) was scheduled to have a ‘covert’ meeting with Daniel Ricciardo. We quickly made our way to the Mezzanine level, and after waiting for an ‘extended’ period of time, Mr Ricciardo arrived, and there was a buzz of excitement as the team members surrounded the F1 star. He was a very casual and laid-back man, and happily asked and responded to questions from all the teams. He then gladly autographed various items (including mobile phones, ID badges and t-shirts) for everyone.
Soon after this meeting, we sped off to the official After Party, held at Yas Water World. A buffet dinner had been set up on the ‘beach side’, accompanied by a DJ. The party went on for several hours, with the vast majority of competitors ending up in the water in their clothes! They even persuaded Andrew Denford (the head of the Denford company and founder of F1 in Schools) and other F1 staff to join the water party. It was an exciting night, and one that won’t be forgotten!