The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix starts November 24. Check out these top parties
The weekend The biggest party of the year is ready to roar out of the starting blocks in Abu Dhabi, with high octane-racing, megastar musicians, super-cool DJs and glamorous after-parties all to come during the massive F1 weekend.
While the action on the track from Friday November 24 to Sunday 26 will be as hotly anticipated as ever, the Yasalam After-Race Concerts will again prove a huge draw at du Arena, with Sunday race headliner P!nk joined by Calvin Harris, Mumford & Sons and Kendrick Lamar for four nights of musical entertainment.
Some of the biggest names on the dance scene will have the capital in a spin, with global stars Tiësto, Carl Cox and Martin Garrix taking over du Forum and hip-hop star Busta Rhymes, chart-topper Craig David and rapper Rick Ross taking centre stage at the specially constructed Palm Garden Nightclub at the Yas Viceroy for three unforgettable nights.
Yas Island’s thriving nightlife scene will be going into overdrive, too, with huge after-parties at the likes of Amber Lounge, Iris, Skylite and super-club MAD keeping revellers entertained long after the chequered flag has been waved.
Let’s not forget the sporting spectacle, either. After 19 races, a multitude of magnificent overtaking manoeuvres, countless crashes and tears of joy and despair, another fantastic Formula One season full of twists and turns will make its final stop at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The now traditional season-closer at Yas Marina Circuit had looked set to provide a thrilling finale to the tense dual between fierce rivals Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel for much of a marathon 20-race campaign.
Brit star Hamilton, however, with the aid of his ultra-consistent Mercedes team, has left Ferrari hero Vettel in the rear-view mirror in recent weeks, marching effortlessly to the top of the podium, thanks to a string of crucial victories as reliability issues plagued Vettel. While Hamilton has already been crowned F1 champion ahead of the Abu Dhabi race – joining gifted German Vettel as a four-time title winner – there will be plenty of pride and points to play for.
Hamilton will be determined to end another blistering championship season in style by notching up yet another win, while teammate Valtteri Bottas will also be eager to round off an encouraging first year in the winners’ circle.
Ferrari have been Mercedes’ closest rivals throughout the season, but ending up as bridesmaids to the all-conquering Silver Arrows will be a bitter pill to swallow for a team with a history of trophy-laden success.
The grand prix is, of course, the last chance for the entire grid to savour the sweet taste of success. Red Bull duo Daniel Ricciardo and fast-rising star Max Verstappen have both been first past the finish line this year and will be aiming to notch up another success while racers further down the grid will be hoping to spring a surprise.
The ninth annual Abu Dhabi Grand Prix looks set to be the biggest and best yet – and we can’t wait to get started.
Tickets Tickets are selling out fast for the long F1 weekend, but there is still time to secure your seat for practise, qualifying and the race itself as the biggest motor sports stars on the planet take over Abu Dhabi. Fans who purchase race tickets also get access to the Yasalam after-race concerts. - North Grandstand three-day ticket (Fri-Sun) Dhs2,080
- North Grandstand GP three-day GP Park Pass (Fri-Sun) Dhs2,205
- Main Grandstand three-day (Fri-Sun) Dhs2,200
- Main Grandstand three-day GP Park Pass (Fri-Sun) Dhs2,325
- South Grandstand two-day ticket (Sat-Sun) Dhs1,875
- South Grandstand three-day ticket (Fri-Sun) Dhs2,080
- South Grandstand three-day GP Park Pass (Fri-Sun) Dhs2,205
Superstar DJ, here we go! International chart-topper Calvin Harris will get the long weekend racing out of the blocks with a roof-raising set at du Arena. This is far more than just a warm-up concert, though – don’t expect Brit star Harris to stay in low gear for even a minute. Lewis Hamilton won’t be the only track master in town, as Harris has built up a glittering reputation as one of the hottest tickets on the planet. The DJ hit the top of the UK charts with his second album, Ready for the Weekend, which also spawned his first number one single, but it was with his third record, 18 Months, that he truly attained global fame. The album soared to the summit of the UK charts, with each of its eight (yes, that’s eight) singles placing in the top ten. It also saw him break the lucrative US market, reaching the top 20 of the US Billboard 200.
Scottish musician Harris has scooped ten Brit Award nominations, has a Grammy to his name, has worked with some of the biggest stars in the industry, including Rihanna (who he collaborated with on his first American number one This Is What You Came For), John Legend, Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams and Snoop Dogg, and owns his own record label, Fly Eye Records. Harris remains one of the most in-demand DJs and looks set to get this year’s Yasalam After-Race Concerts off to a super start.
Mumford & Sons Saturday November 24 When you’ve sold out stadiums across the globe, hold the record for the fastest-selling rock album for the decade, have had a music video starring Idris Elba and have even played a State Dinner at the White House for former US president Barack Obama, you’re kind of a big deal – and a perfect fit for Abu Dhabi’s most eagerly awaited event of the year.
Mega-selling band Mumford & Sons offer a more considered and gentle contrast to the high-octane action taking place on and off the track throughout race weekend.
The talented four-piece first came to the attention of the wider music world in 2009 when their breakthrough album, Sigh No More, reached number two in the charts in both in the UK and the US. The band’s follow-up, Babel, was anything but a difficult second album, going one better than their debut by soaring to number one on both sides of the Atlantic, and it’s this that remains the fastest-selling rock album of the decade.
The band will celebrate ten years together next month and, while their output has slowed since the halcyon days of their early success, they remain a musical force to be reckoned with. Their stadium anthems, such as Little Lion Man, I Will Wait and Roll Away your Stone, have helped cement their legacy as one of the most popular bands to come out of Britain in many years. Expect a stellar performance.
P!nk Sunday November 24
American superstar P!nk will be joining illustrious company as the latest performer to headline the prestigious post Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Sunday concert, taking pole position from the likes of Aerosmith, the late, great Prince, Eminem and last year’s curtain-closer, Rihanna.
Don’t expect any stage fright from the quirky singer, though. When she got her big break, Lewis Hamilton was still messing about in go-karts. Instantly recognisable for her adventurous look, she has sported haircuts with pink streaks and her barnet has gone platinum almost as often as her records.
P!nk really comes into her own, however, when she has a mic in her hand. Thanks to her powerful voice and dazzling stage theatrics, she has continued to wow crowds year after year and has racked up a string of hits spanning two decades, including Get the Party Started and So What, and remains right at the top of her game in 2017. Her capital date will be her first gig in the UAE since she starred at a packed Dubai Media City Amphitheatre back in 2007.
Anticipation for the pop culture icon’s headlining set was amped up when race organisers painted parts of the Yas Marina Circuit pink ahead of the big announcement of her appearance.
Look forward to a memorable set from the singer, who has sold more than 47 million albums and 70 million singles worldwide.
DJs at du forum Just when you thought your excitement levels for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix couldn’t soar any higher, the announcement of three amazing DJs as part of Beyond The Track by Alchemy Project, kicked the party into top gear.
Carl Cox Saturday November 25 Those who reckon DJing is a young man’s game have obviously never seen Carl Cox don his headphones. The dancefloor legend, now 55, has been hard at it since the ’80s and there is no sign of him spinning his last track any time soon. In an industry where new talents come and go so rapidly, Cox has maintained his world-class status due to sustained excellence on the ultimate stage. Barbados-born DJ has played at pretty much every club night and festival that is worth talking about during his incredible career and has had a residency in Ibiza since 2001.
This year, Cox is appearing as part of RESISTANCE, the world’s biggest electronic dance music festival from the people behind Ultra Music Festival and Alchemy Project.
Martin Garrix Friday November 24 If he wasn’t so good, you could actually be jealous. At the tender age of 21, Dutch DJ Martin Garrix has the whole dance world in his hands. He is already one of the biggest names in the game, with his 2016 floor-filler, In The Name of Love, securing his place at the top of the DJ table.
Garrix has enjoyed a residency in Ibiza, supported Justin Bieber on his global tour and topped a poll of the world’s top 100 DJs last year. Garrix’s Abu Dhabi performance will be a milestone moment in his career, as he’ll share a bill that also features superstar DJ Tiësto, who inspired Garrix’s own rise to fame after he saw him perform at the Olympic Games back in 2004.
Tiësto Sunday November 26 The dynamic Dutchman has been named both the Greatest DJ of the past 20 years and the best of all time by industry publications in recent years.
He kicked off his career in his native Netherlands in the mid ’90s before finding wider acclaim in 2001 through the release of a hit-laden debut album, In My Memory.
The breakthrough sparked an incredible run of success that saw him crowned World No. 1 DJ by DJ Magazine for three consecutive years from 2002 to 2004, culminating in an electric performance at the 2004 Olympic Games.
To date, Tiësto has released five studio albums and he picked up a prestigious Grammy for his remixed version of John Legend’s hit, All of Me. From Dhs295. Nov 24-26, 10pm-5am. du Forum, Yas Island, www.tixbox.com.
The f1 race teams Ferrari
The bright red Ferrari is the most famous car on the track – but a team with 16 constructors’ crowns and 15 drivers’ titles to its name is now getting worryingly used to being second best. While being left in Mercedes’ slipstream will frustrate loyal supporters, the early season performances of four-time World Champion and the welcome return to form of the ice-cool Fin Kimi Räikkönen gives encouragement that the Prancing Horse could be back on top of the podium next season.
The independent team debuted on the grid back in 2008 and have become a force to be reckoned with. For a team built on steady year-on-year progress, however, this year may have served up more drama than they would have liked. Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon have led the team to fourth in the standings, but Force India had to impose team orders after a number of on-track collisions.
The first American-led team to join the F1 party for 30 years when they debuted in the 2016 season, Haas have made solid, if unspectacular, progress since. Spearheaded by talented Frenchman Roman Grosjean and former McLaren man Kevin Magnusson. They already have more points in their second season heading to the Abu Dhabi finale than they did last season, and They’ll be looking for a strong end to the campaign as they continue on the road to long-term success.
Despite having double world champion Fernando Alonso in their ranks, the misfiring eight-time constructors’ champions might find themselves in an all-too-familiar position at the back of the grid. Alonso has been hit by a string of retirements. Fans will hope that switching from engine supplier Honda to Renault at season’s can lift them out of the doldrums.
The ninth annual Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be a race-long victory lap for the Silver Arrows, who have already secured their fourth consecutive constructors’ crown and saw Lewis Hamilton notch up his third drivers’ title with the team and fourth in total. Mercedes are top thanks to Hamilton’s dominance and the steely assistance of the impressive Valtteri Bottas.
The glory days of the team’s four consecutive constructors’ and drivers’ titles might be behind them, but with a young and vibrant line-up at their disposal, they’re capable of emerging from the chasing pack on any given race. Daniel Ricciardo and teenage superstar Max Verstappen have picked up victories this year and the latter could dominate in years to come.
The team was at its most potent in the mid-2000s with a fiercely ambitious Fernando Alonso in the cockpit, leading them to double constructors’ and drivers’ titles in 2005 and 2006. Niko Hulkenberg has secured the bulk of Renault’s points this year, but a lack of back-up from the now-departed Jolyon Palmer has stunted progress. The signing of Carlos Sainz offers some hope.
The team has been part of the F1 furniture since 1993 and enjoyed their moment back in 2008, when Robert Kubica won the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix. Since then, there’s been little to talk about. The 2017 season has been a slog. Sauber picked up a paltry five points courtesy of Pascal Wehrlein, while Marcus Ericsson has picked up none, leaving them at the bottom of the constructors’ standings.
Red Bull’s junior team have been a breeding ground for talent. This year has been one of turmoil, though, with their drivers Carlos Sainz Junior and Daniil Kyvat both moving on during the course of the reason. Sainz Jr plundered plenty of points before switching to Renault and will be a huge loss. Toro Rosso look set to end their campaign with rookie duo Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly behind the wheel.
One of the most successful teams in F1 history appeared to be enjoying a renaissance, thanks to the partnership of veteran Brazilian Felipe Massa and flying Finn Valtteri Bottas. But Bottas’ switch to Mercedes has left Williams with a gap in their driving line-up they have been unable to fill. Felipe Massa’s U-turn over his retirement plans has given them some stability, but a place stranded in the middle of the constructors’ championship is a poor return for a team with such a trophy-laden history.
The after-parties Amber Lounge British singer Ella Eyre will perform at the luxurious club on Saturday November 25 and Sunday 26, after the finale of the F1 season. The 23-year-old shot to fame in 2013 as the voice on Rudimental’s smash hit Waiting All Night, winning a Brit Award for the track in 2014, and collaborated with DJ Fresh on hit single Gravity in 2015. As well as Eyre, there will be performers, dancers, DJs and plenty of fun. For more information and table prices, visit www.amber-lounge.com. Nov 25-26. Yas Links Golf Club, Yas Island (+377 977 71634).
Blue Marlin Ibiza UAE Marlin Ibiza UAE is going into entertainment overdrive for F1 weekend. The ever-popular beach club is bringing global clubbing phenomenon Circoloco straight from the party capital of Ibiza to the sandy shores of Abu Dhabi on Friday November 24. The event made a huge splash at Blue Marlin Ibiza UAE during its debut last year, and is set to be even better than ever during its big F1 weekend return. A brilliant line-up of DJs will be on the decks for ten terrific hours of fun in the sun, including UK-based duo Solardo, house and techno favourite and seasoned musical master Loco Dice and a wealth of others. Free entry. Fri Nov 24, 1pm-11pm. Golden Tulip Al Jazira Hotels and Resort, Ghantoot (056 113 3400).
El Chiringuito The Ibiza super-club (which has an outpost at Rixos The Palm Dubai) is roaring into Abu Dhabi for three massive all-day beach parties from Friday November 24. Superstar DJ Sven Väth will be leading a roof-raising line-up on the Friday, with crowd-pleasing Parisian exports Apollonia and Germany’s DJ Tini also on the decks. Saturday November 25 will see the ever-popular La Familia brunch take centre stage, with a special party edition, while race day, Sunday November 26, will feature a more relaxed vibe, with signature dishes served. Call for prices and times. Yas Beach (054 449 6464/04 277 9180).
Empire Yas On Thursday November 23 and Friday 24, beat masters DJ Slim, DJ Irwan and Ricco Greene will keep revellers on their feet into the early hours. Saturday 25 will see DJ Emir taking to the decks, with even more live entertainment lined up on the night. For the Gran Sunday 26, guests can enjoy drinks overlooking the track during the race before Sony Award-winning DJ Master Stepz closes race weekend. Free entry (table prices on request). Nov 23-26, noon-8pm, 11pm-6am. Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi, Yas Island (052 596 5227).
French Montana at 1 OAK The hip-hop star will be taking to the mic at pop-up club 1 OAK, a renowned New York nightspot that’s being transported to Abu Dhabi for the hottest party of the year. The club will be in full swing above Cipriani restaurant in Yas Marina from Friday November 24 to Sunday 26. Montana will be performing live on the Sunday night – after the chequered flag has been waved on the F1 season. A table-only policy will be in operation for the exclusive trio of nights. From Dhs10,000 (minimum spend). Nov 24-26, 11pm-5am. Above Cipriani, Yas Marina (055 174 4443).
Iris Yas The action kicks off on Thursday November 23 with a set from British DJ and producer Hot Since 82. Friday November 24 will see a sunset party led by Iris favourite, Turkish DJ Mahmut Orhan, who was a smash hit at the venue’s F1 celebrations last year. A late-night DJ set from British DJ and producer Mark Knight will follow. On Saturday November 25, the sunset party will be in the safe hands of Volkan Uca, a Turkish DJ and producer who is no stranger to UAE shores. The late-night slot will belong to Rony Seikaly, a former NBA basketball player who has swapped hoops for hits to carve out an impressive DJ career. The race night party on Sunday November 26 will be huge, too, with Hisham arriving from Iris Beirut to heat up the sunset party. German DJ Claptone will bring down the curtain on a memorable Iris extravaganza. Table packages start at Dhs1,500. Thu Nov 23-Sun Nov 26. Open noon-5am. Yas Marina (055 160 5636).
Rich List at Yas Viceroy
You can always rely on this being the loudest and liveliest celebration of the year. Taking over the grand prix bonanza for the fifth straight year, Rich List will be bringing megastars Busta Rhymes, Craig David and Rick Ross to wow guests from Friday November 24 to Sunday, November 26. Rapid-fire rapper Busta Rhymes, famous for his track Woo Hah!! (Got You All in Check), among others, performs on the Friday, while Brit star Craig David, still beloved for his string of chart favourites including 7 Days, performs on Saturday November 25. Rick Ross closes the party on Sunday November 26. Dhs500 (Fri or Sat), Dhs750 (Sun), Dhs1,600 (Fri, Sat and Sun). Nov 24-26, 10pm-4am. Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi, Yas Island, www.richlist-raceweekend.com.
Brunches & Bars When you’re not cheering on the F1 drivers, seeing a music icon in concert or dancing the night away at an exclusive party, you really will need to find a place for a pit stop. Thankfully there will be no shortage of places to refuel on Yas Island during the long weekend.
Amerigos The poolside Acapulco Friday brunch will be making a big splash during F1 weekend. Get yourself revved up for the action by diving into delicious Mexican food served up in colourful street-style cabanas while you soak in terrific club tunes by a resident DJ. After enjoying the Friday feast, which also comes with free pool access, you can stay in the driving seat for more fun in the sun. The Sunset after-party rages on from 4pm until 8pm, with a bottomless beverages package on tap for a bargain Dhs99. Stay in a playful mood by trying your hand at games such as Jenga. Friday brunch: Dhs170 (soft drinks), Dhs275 (house beverages), Dhs70 (premium beverages). 12.30pm-4pm. Sunset after-party: Dhs99. 4pm-8pm. Park Inn by Radisson Abu Dhabi Yas Island Hotel (02 656 2000).
Yas Viceroy The five-star hotel, overlooking Yas Marina Circuit, is serving up brilliant brunch deals at a trio of its eateries, Japanese spot Kazu, Mediterranean and Arabian fusion venue Atayeb and international favourite Origins, with tickets to the After-Race Concerts thrown in. The bumper brunch package is available for just Dhs350 on the Thursday (including entry to superstar DJ Calvin Harris’ big kick-off to the F1 extravaganza) and Dhs700 for Friday and Saturday, when the F1 fleet will hit the track for practice and qualifying. The massive Sunday brunch is Dhs3,100, which includes spectacular views of the big race, plus entry to P!nk’s headlining set at du Arena. Thu Nov 23: Dhs350. Noon-3pm, 4pm-8pm. Fri Nov 24 and Sat Nov 25: Dhs700. Noon-3pm, 4pm-8pm. Sun Nov 26: Dhs3,100. Noon-3pm (Kazu), 3pm-8pm (Origins and Atayeb), 4pm-8pm (Kazu). Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi, Yas Island (02 656 0600).
Grand Prix Brunch at Yas Marina Circuit Now this is fast food with a difference. Watch the world’s best drivers zoom around the track during practice sessions one and two from the comfort of the Marina Grandstand. Just 10 metres away from the track, race-goers can enjoy a party brunch throughout the day, featuring an international buffet and live cooking stations, unlimited beverages and a special mixed drink bar tendering service. Brunchers also get access all-areas to all Oasis areas, including the Yas Marina Yacht Club and the F1 Village, plus entry to Kendrick Lamar’s after-race set. Motor sport lovers can also go for the Extreme GP package on the Yas Trackside Terrace, boasting views of all the racing action, a brunch with bubbly, grape and house beverages served up all day, entrance to the after-race concert and great views on both level 1 of the terrace and up on the seventh floor viewing deck. Dhs1,250 (Grand Prix Brunch), Dhs1,495 (Extreme Brunch). Fri Nov 24. Marina Grandstand, Yas Marina Circuit (800 927).
Belgian CafÉ If you are looking to take in a quiet drink (without a DJ set in sight) during the F1 weekend, head to this classy continental bar. You can enjoy a wide range of authentic Belgian hops as well as plenty of classic dishes, such as mussels and classic fries. The setting, reminiscent of a 1920s Belgian bar, is the perfect escape from the frenetic nature of the F1 circus. Take advantage of the back-to-back happy hours at a slower pace. Open daily noon-2am. Radisson Blu Yas Island, Golf Plaza, Yas Island (02 656 2000).
Hickory’s Sports Bar If you are doubling up on your sporting entertainment why not enjoy a round or two here after a round out on the course at Yas Links Abu Dhabi Golf Club. The laid-bar serves up an extensive menu of hearty food, from succulent steaks to wood-fired pizzas, plus regular entertainment and live sports (not just the F1) on the big screens. You can have an ace time here. Open daily 6am-midnight. Yas Links Abu Dhabi, Yas Island (02 810 7710).
Get out of the starting blocks at McGettigan’s auh We get it, it’s hard to resist a visit to the city’s favourite Irish watering hole – even when the F1 is on. McGettigan’s AUH is the perfect place to get prepped for the Grand Prix or enjoy some post-race celebrations. Over the F1 weekend, the Al Raha Beach spot is offering a brilliant bus and breakfast package for just Dhs99. The top deal includes a full-Irish breakfast, plus a house beverage. The deal also comes with a bus ride to Yas Island included. And if you head back to the pub once the race has finished (after 8pm) you’ll get another beverage on the house, too. The offer is available throughout the grand prix, from Friday November 24 until Sunday 26. Dhs99. Nov 24-26. Al Raha Beach Hotel and Resort, Channel Street, Abu Dhabi (02 652 4333).
OUR FAVOURITE FEATURES
Enormous luxury Bulgari resort opening in December
Top restaurants, a yacht marina, private beaches, suites and villas all coming to Jumeira Bay
Stranger Things milkshake arrives at Dubai’s Black Tap
Eggos and edible Christmas tree lights feature in latest freakshake