Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2018: the ultimate guide

The Formula One is roaring into sight. Here’s everything you need to know

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2018: the ultimate guide

The big race

who will bag third in the drivers’  world championship?

For petrolheads this month houses the biggest event of the year in the UAE – the F1. This year's event – which is the tenth year in Abu Dhabi – takes place from Friday November 23 to Sunday November 25. And there is set to be plenty of action on the track.

Brit Lewis Hamilton has already bagged the drivers’ world championship, clinching his fifth title at the Mexican Grand Prix in October. Sebastian Vettel is also assured of second place in the championship, but third is up for grabs, with Kimi Raikonnen, Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen in the running.

Whatever happens, one of the biggest stories coming out of the race will be the farewell of Fernando Alonso, who is leaving McLaren and bidding farewell to the sport.

The drivers will race around the 5.5km Yas Marina Circuit 55 times on Sunday, November 25. The first track action will start at 1pm on Friday, November 25 with practise laps. More practises will take place at 5pm the same day and again at 2pm the following day. At 5pm on Saturday, November 24 qualifying will take place, while the race will start at 5pm on Sunday, November 25. General admission tickets are now sold out, but there are still two-day tickets on offer for the Marina Grandstand and plenty of other packages and hospitality passes available.
From Dhs1,970 (Sat-Sun Marina Grandstand) to Dhs21,395 (three-day super parks pass with hospitality. Nov 23-25. Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, www.ticktesyasmarinacircuit.com.

Your guide to Yasalam 2018

The official F1 parties, events, concerts and more in Abu Dhabi this year

Post Malone
Post Malone, or Austin Richard Post, is most famous for his massive hit Rockstar with fellow hip-hop artist 21 Savage.

The 23-year-old American artist’s Abu Dhabi concert will be held on Thursday November 22 at du Arena. Fans can expect some big hits from his albums Beerbongs & Bentleys and Stoney. We look forward to seeing the super-cool artist bring some edgy tunes to this year’s sporting proceedings.
Thu Nov 22. du Arena, Yas Island (02 509 8143).

The Weeknd
The Canadian R&B icon will be taking centre stage at du Arena on Friday, November 23. As well as racking up millions of record sales all over the globe, he has already scored two number one albums during his smash hit career, 2015’s Beauty Behind the Madness and Starboy, which dropped a year later. He’s also collaborated with some of the biggest names in the music industry, including Lana Del Ray, Drake, Daft Punk and Kendrick Lamar. We can’t wait to see him perform some of his sing-along tunes like Love Me Harder, Earned It and Starboy here in the UAE.
Fri Nov 23. du Arena, Yas Island (02 509 8143).

Sam Smith

Singer-songwriter Sam Smith will perform the night before the big race on Saturday, November 24 at du Arena. The Oscar winner has had numerous big hits. If you’re not familiar with his moving ballads I’m Not The Only One or Stay With Me, then you’ll certainly know him from his epic James Bond-theme tune Writing’s On The Wall. This summer has also been dominated by his cool chart-topper Promises with Calvin Harris. Pop fans won’t want to miss this.
Sat Nov 24. du Arena, Yas Island (02 509 8143).

Guns N’ Roses

When the final Grand Prix of the season is over, it’s time to let our hair down (literally) and get ready to do some good old-fashioned moshing. On Sunday November 25, rock legends Guns N’ Roses will be tearing up du Arena with their huge back catalogue of hits. During their energy-filled performance we can expect to hear them belt out anthems such as November Rain, Welcome to the Jungle and Sweet Child of Mine. You just know that the crowd will be screaming along to every word.
Sun Nov 25. du Arena, Yas Island (02 509 8143).

The After-Race Concerts are only available for Abu Dhabi Grand Prix race ticket holders. Tickets are also available online at www.yasmarinacircuit.com and through the Yas Marina Circuit Call Centre (800 927) or (02 659 9800), as well as through all Etihad Shops and Virgin Megastores, Yas Central Express stand at Yas Mall.

Corniche Concert
The Yasalam festivities don’t start and end with those taking place on Yas Island. The Pit Stop event is running every day from November 16 to 25 at the A’l Bahar development on the Corniche. Set up like a village, the area will be hosting ten days of brilliant activities and entertainment. Held from 4pm to 11pm throughout the Yasalam Festival, the Pit Stop will feature performances from talented local bands and DJs. These sessions will conclude with the finale of the Emerging Talent competition on Thursday November 22, when the top four musical bands or artists as voted by you will take to the stage to see how will be crowned champion. Motorsport enthusiasts will also love the hands-on experiences. Visitors can test out what it’s really like to be an F1 driver by taking part in race room challenges and admiring the many special cars on display.
Free. Nov 16-25, 4pm-11pm. A’l Bahar, Abu Dhabi Corniche, www.al-bahar.ae.

Car Parade
You don’t have to be a total petrolhead to appreciate this amazing display. Car Parade will be taking to the streets of Abu Dhabi and officially kicking off the build-up to race weekend. Featuring motors that range from classic and vintage to modern and very flash, the display will start at Louvre Abu Dhabi and weave its way across to the city until it reaches the Nation Towers car park opposite the Pit Stop village at A’l Bahar on the Corniche. As well as the most impressive cars from across the UAE, the precession will also include a colourful float filled with talented performers and a DJ.
Free. Nov 16, 2.30pm-5pm. www.yasalam.ae.

Super Taxis
All the excitement surrounding the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix can make you feel extra special. But Flash Entertainment is making us feel even more like glamorous celebrities by introducing the Super Taxis scheme from November 22 to 25. Super Taxis give you the opportunity to be ferried around in the most A-list worthy Lamborghini, Maserati, Corvette, Bentley, Rolls Royce and Mercedes vehicles. Simply try your luck by making a booking through the Careem app, and cross your fingers that one of the Super Taxis fleet with turn up to get you. Even if you’re not a huge car fanatic, we’re sure you won’t mind having your own Bentley to take you around in style.
Nov 22-25, noon-8pm. www.yasalam.ae.

Eight places to party during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2018

The best places to let your hair down during the F1 weekend

Amber Lounge
Super-slick hotspot Amber Lounge is staking its claim to be the ultimate place to party after this year’s track action is over. The star-studded after-party hangout is pulling out all the stops to mark its tenth anniversary in style. It will play host to a string of big names across November 24 and 25, with Came Here For Love hitmaker Sigala already signed up. Another live act is yet to be announced, and we can’t wait to find out who it is. The annual pop-up in Yas Links Golf Club is where VIP guests indulge in the height of luxury and glamour and has always been a popular hangout for stars and  Formula 1 drivers.
Prices vary. Nov 24-25. Yas Links Golf Club, Yas Island (+377 97 77 16 34).


One of Dubai’s fanciest French restaurants, Bagatelle, is coming to Abu Dhabi for one night only during the F1 weekend. The venue will take over the rooftop terrace of Yas Marina bar Diablito. It is known for its late-night party atmosphere, which sees diners swap their knives and forks for dancing on tables. The high-end brand is open from 2pm until 1am on Saturday, November 24, and promises to bring a healthy dose of joie do vivre to proceedings. There will be DJs including Sam Starks and DJ Emir. Make sure you dress to impress and call to book a table in advance.
Prices vary. Nov 24, 2pm-1am. Diablito, Yas Marina, Yas Island (04 354 5035)

A pair of Dubai venues heading to Yas Island for the full weekend, superclub BASE and swanky nightspot 1OAK (an import from New York) will be taking over the space above Italian restaurant Cipriani. This one is for the most flash partygoers in the capital with tables starting from Dhs7,000, and those that don’t like sleep – as it’s open from 11pm and 6am. While no names have been announced yet, we are told there will be a couple of big name urban acts coming to perform live.
Free entry. From Dhs7,000 (tables outside), from Dhs10,000 (tables inside). Nov 22-25, 11pm-6am. Above Cipriani, Yas Marina, Yas Island, f1@basedubai.com (056 681 8881).

Blue Marlin Ibiza UAE
While the whole weekend is full of amazing spectacles, live music and lavish parties, when it gets to Sunday night, everyone in the capital is ready to really go for it. Blue Marlin Ibiza UAE in Ghantoot is the place where partygoers from Abu Dhabi and Dubai meet in the middle to dance to tunes from some of the world’s best DJs. But for race weekend, it is preparing a party that’s even bigger. The huge brand is taking over the rooftop terrace at Diablito at Yas Marina on Sunday, November 25. Bringing 12 hours of food, top-class vibes and sensational views, the music will be provided by Frederick Stone, Aidin Karami, Michka and Sam Starks.
Dhs300 (ladies), Dhs500 (gents, including two glasses of bubbly). Nov 25, 1pm-1am. Diablito, Yas Marina, Yas Island (05 611 3400).

Buddha-Bar Beach

The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort’s new hangout spot has joined forces with Mauritius-born DJ Ravin, the originator of the Buddha-Bar sound, for four nights of entertainment from November 22 to 25. The party kicks off each evening at 5pm with a jamming session by the resident DJ Bambina and saxophonist Milan. Then it’s time for DJ Ravin hits the deck at 10pm with a captivating fire show that will continue well into the night. DJ Ravin is a regular performer at branches of Buddha-Bar across the world, so Abu Dhabi is certainly in for a treat.
Free entry. Nov 22-25. 5pm onwards. The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi (02 498 8888).

Candypants is the fun-loving party company perhaps best known for its outrageously lively brunches in Dubai. But during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix the group is setting up home in the new Cuban-style bar Casa De Cuba at Yas Marina. The very Insta-friendly Grand Prix Garden is totally free to enter, and it is bound to attract a fashionable and fun-loving crowd. It will be bringing with it a huge line-up of international DJs and expertly made mixed drinks. Starting from noon, the festivities will continue all the way through until 5am. It might even be enough to tire out the biggest party animals in the capital, and it will certainly help make the weekend one that the city will never forget.
Free entry. Nov 22-25, noon-5am. Casa De Cuba, Yas Marina, Yas Island info@candypants-events.co.uk.

MAD on Yas Island

US RnB singer Nelly and hip-hip star French Montana are so far two of four big names confirmed for this superclub. We know the Yas Island institution will be bringing friendly and feel-good vibes and hosting one of the best spots to party throughout the weekend.
Nov 23-25. Yas Island (055 834 6262).

Rich List
This is one of the most popular race weekend events every year. All F1 fans and capital residents know of its glowing reputation and habit for hosting incredible musical acts, as well as creating an infectious party vibe. Last year’s event at Yas Viceroy, which has now been rebranded as Yas Hotel, saw mega-selling music stars Busta Rhymes, Craig David and Rick Ross wow the crowds with their energy-filled sets. Revellers should expect more similarly amazing acts to be appearing this year. Tickets to the popular event at the Yas Marina hotel will also include access to The Royal Terrace, which is just as flashy and fancy as it sounds. Prices start from Dhs500 and you can also book VIP tables for up to
ten people.
Dhs500 (Friday), Dhs700 (Saturday), Dhs1,000 (Sunday), Dhs3,000 (VIP Sunday). Nov 23-25. Yas Hotel, Yas Island (+44 748 151 4444).

Five Abu Dhabi brunches to enjoy over F1 weekend

The eateries that are pulling out all the stops for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 


This popular Friday brunch is a huge hit with all ages and a great option if you’re heading out with a big group. As well as hosting its Race Day brunch on Friday November 23, the Khalifa City spot is also getting the capital prepared for all action with a series of Grand Prix-themed brunches throughout November. Guests will be treated to a Qualifying Brunch on Friday November 16. Basically, we’re in for non-stop fun. With signature drink stations, live entertainment and mouthwatering food, every guest who attends any of the brunches will be entered into a competition to win tickets to the Formula 1 itself. The winner will be announced on November 23 and until then there’s never been a better excuse to fill your Fridays with some top-class brunching.
Dhs336 (soft drinks), Dhs430 (house beverages), Dhs624 (bubbly). Nov 16 & 23 12.30pm-4pm. The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa, Sas Al Nakhl (02 616 9999).

Filini Garden
The Fast and the Fabulous race weekend at Filini Garden promises to be a classy affair. The picturesque Yas Island venue is celebrating its first birthday during race weekend, and it is making every effort to ensure that both visitors and regular guests alike have the best time. The Garden Brunch has always been a delightful way of spending a Friday, but during race weekend, it’s going to be extra special. Expect Italian dishes, plus cool tunes and a performance from a live saxophonist. The Radisson Blu will also be hosting a fanzone throughout the weekend. This will feature themed decorations, race simulator games and a huge screen broadcasting all the action from the track.
Dhs200 (soft drinks), Dhs365 (house beverages), Dhs500 (premium beverages). Fri Nov 23, 12.30pm-4pm. Radisson Blu Hotel Abu Dhabi, Yas Island (02 656 2000).

Funch Brunch

Funch Brunch is our go-to event for a lively Friday full of arcade games, challenges, limbo and general raucous behaviour. But during race weekend the Stars ’N’ Bars brunch is moving out onto the Star Deck and bringing us three days of American-style bites, tops tunes, and all the usual silly games. For Dhs500 per person you can feast on fish tacos, chicken wings, corn dogs and other American-style nibbles from noon to 4pm on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. DJs Cliff Townley and James Murray will also be there providing the hottest tunes.
Dhs500 (house beverages and bites). Nov 22-24, noon-4pm. Yas Marina, Yas Island (02 565 0101).

We Brunch
We Brunch, a popular Friday fixture in Dubai (held at Accents in the InterContinental Dubai Maria), is coming to Abu Dhabi to host three special Grand Prix events. After a sell-out first season last year, Love Parties Group has brought the brunches back for a second time around and it’s promising to be even bigger and better. On Friday, November 23 there are two brunches from noon to 3pm and 4pm to 8pm, with passes to see Canadian chart-topper The Weeknd at du Arena. Then, on Saturday, November 24, which is race qualifying day, you can indulge in a selection of international cuisine, free-flowing premium beverages with sweeping views over the Yas Marina Circuit. The full-day package gives brunchers the best seats in the house with passes to see British singer-songwriter Sam Smith at du Arena on Saturday night.
Fri Nov 23, noon-3pm Dhs850, 4pm-8pm Dhs950. Sat Nov 24, all-day brunch 1pm-8pm Dhs1,950 then Dhs2,100, drunch 4pm-8pm Dhs1,000 (gents), Dhs800 (ladies). Yas Marina (052 798 7292).

Yas Hotel
Looking directly over Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Hotel is home to some of the best seats in the house for catching all the action at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Brunching here gives you a fantastic view of all the action, and the chance to experience all the glitz and glamour of Origins (where the sushi is particularly brilliant), Atayeb and Kazu. The brunch is running every afternoon from Thursday November 22 to 25, and some packages even include entry to the after-race concerts. The Thursday brunch is priced at Dhs450 and includes entry to the Post Malone concert, the Friday and Saturday packages start from Dhs650 and include tickets to see The Weeknd (Friday) and Sam Smith (Saturday). Or if you want to see out the weekend in the most stylish way imaginable, Sunday brunch tickets start from Dhs1,550 and include access to the Guns N’ Roses gig.
Dhs450 (Thursday), Dhs650 (Friday and Saturday), Dhs1,550 (Sunday). Nov 22-25, noon-3pm, 4pm-8pm. Yas Marina, Yas Hotel (02 656 0600).

Where to stay on Yas Island

Time is running out to book your hotel room

Centro Yas Island
This contemporary-style hotel is popular with business travellers as well as families.It boasts 259 rooms, each with a clean and slick décor and the usual amenities you would expect. It is based at Yas Plaza, within a stone’s throw to du Forum and within walking distance to Yas Marina Circuit.

Guests can enjoy a cool outdoor swimming pool and a 24-hour gym, perfect for burning off that hotdog and fries you just couldn’t resist while enjoying the race.
Four nights here from November 22 to November 26 costs around Dhs8,200 for two adults in a room with a Queen-sized bed.

Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi Yas Island
This located next to Yas Beach and many rooms offer awesome views of the beautiful Arabian Gulf.

Opened in 2009, it’s roughly a kilometre from Yas Marina Circuit so nice and handy for race day. It features a sundeck, an indoor swimming pool, a 25-metre outdoor pool and even some squash courts.

And it has an impressive food and drink offering too, with Stills Restaurant and Bar combining the best of both worlds.
A superior room for two adults for four nights from November 22 to November 26 costs Dhs11,500 including taxes, with other more expensive rooms available too.

Park Inn Radisson, Abu Dhabi Yas Island

Another plush hotel which couldn’t really be any more convenient for racegoers. It is within walking distance to Yas Beach, so it’s handy if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of race weekend for a few hours. It boasts 204 newly renovated rooms, many with awesome views across Yas Links golf course, Yas Marina and the Arabian Gulf.
To stay here for four nights from November 22 to November 26 costs Dhs9,619 for a standard room with sea view and balcony, with other more expensive rooms available too.

Radisson Blu Hotel
This hotel is in hot demand, with only a handful of its 397 rooms still available.

It offers rooms with awesome views across either the Arabian Gulf, Yas Links Golf Course and the Formula 1 circuit itself.

There’s also an infinity pool, tennis courts and a spa with professional therapists to help you unwind.

You can’t stay here without checking the uber-cool hangout spot Filini Garden, with amazing Italian food and plenty of deals and events. While the likes of Belgian Café, Mint and Shams Pool Bar mean you are never stuck for choices.
A superior room with balcony and race track views for four nights from November 22 to November 26 for two adults costs around Dhs11,500.

Yas Hotel Abu Dhabi
The only hotel in the world which overlooks a Formula 1 track, and what a hotel it is too.

Formerly known as Yas Viceroy, it is now under the Marriott banner.

Its stunning LED façade makes it instantly recognisable, and a host of great dining and nightlife options within make this one of Abu Dhabi’s top destinations.

It’s home to Italian favourite Amici, Indian restaurant Angar and the ever-popular international eatery Origins.

You literally can’t get any closer to the action if you choose to stay here, but it will be at the top end of most people’s budgets.
To stay here for four nights from November 22 to November 26 will set you back Dhs26,716 for a deluxe twin room on the Marina Wing, with other rooms available at a greater cost.

Yas Island Rotana

Another centrally located hotel for you to choose from, with Yas Island Rotana being perched within walking distance to everything you need.
It has 308 spacious rooms, including rooms to suit every budget and requirement.

This venue has an impressive food and drink offering too, with a string of great options for when you get hungry. You might like to try the Indian eatery Rangoli, the Blue Grill steak house or the Y Bar sports bar.
A classic King Room for four nights from November 22 to November 26 for two adults will set you back around Dhs10,400.

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