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Paddock Postcard from Abu Dhabi 03 Nov 2013

Red Bull Racing's David Coulthard performs donuts on the Burj Al Arab helipad in Dubai, October 31, 2013 Red Bull Racing's David Coulthard performs donuts on the Burj Al Arab helipad in Dubai, October 31, 2013 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 at the autograph session.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Preparations, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Thursday, 31 October 2013 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari playing on his bike.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Preparations, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Thursday, 31 October 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing with youngs fans.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Preparations, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Thursday, 31 October 2013 Jay-Z (USA) rapper, performed in concert.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Practice, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Friday 1 November 2013.

Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Qualifying, Yas Marin Race 1 winner Fabio Leimer (SUI) Racing Engineering on the podium. GP2 Series, Rd9, Monza, Italy, 7-8 September 2013. Race 1 podium and results: 1st and champion Daniil Kvyat (RUS) MW Arden. GP3 Series, Rd8, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, 1-3 November 2013.

Having wrapped up both titles in India, Red Bull arrived in the Middle East ahead of the 2013 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in understandably triumphant mood. And to celebrate their achievement they chose to run one of their cars at one of the most recognised locations on earth.

Perched 210 metres above the sea, and just 24 metres wide, the Burj Al Arab helipad played host to David Coulthard and his F1 machine as they put on a spectacular show of burning rubber and tyre smoke, against a stunning backdrop of the Arabian Gulf, overlooking scenic views of Dubai’s impressive skyline.

“That was a lot of fun,” said Coulthard, seconds after completing his donuts. “When Red Bull first suggested the idea to me I said 'why not?'. I like getting involved with anything that pushes the boundaries and it's what Red Bull stands for. I think this will produce fantastic, iconic shots in an amazing town and I’m really privileged to be part of it.”

Not to be outdone, Lotus were also scaling the heights in the build-up to the Abu Dhabi race weekend. Driver Romain Grosjean spent three hours climbing the spire of Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, developed by Emaar Properties, an official partner of the team.

As ever, the Yas Marina paddock bristled with famous faces. Sir Jackie Stewart was back, with Lotus, as fellow world champion Alan Jones also made a welcome visit. Other racers included Rubens Barrichello, Jacques Laffite, looking splendid as he nears 70, former F3 and sportscar star John Nielsen and former single seater/Le Mans racer Christophe Tinseau.

Piero Lardi Ferrari was present, together with former Ferrari team manager Cesare Fiorio, Georgie Hill and Liz Brundle accompanied their spouses, while once again Nic, Anthony and Linda Hamilton were here to support Lewis and Eduardo Massa was with his brother. FIA President Jean Todt arrived on Saturday, while the Silverstone Circuits’ president Neil England was also much in evidence over the weekend.

There were concerts each evening, featuring Arab superstars Amr Diab, Hussain Al Jassmi and Elissa, hip hop superstar Jay-Z, and Muse, headlined by Depeche Mode.

On track the GP2 and GP3 titles were both settled on Saturday, the former going to Racing Engineering’s Fabio Leimer, the latter to the Russian who will race for Toro Rosso next season, MW Arden’s Daniil Kvyat.

In GP2, Alex Rossi became the first American to win a round of the series after taking pole position and then keeping his head during a late-race safety car incident. He had taken the lead from Carlin’s Jolyon Palmer during their pit stops following a series of very fast laps, and maintained his advantage at the restart before pulling away to score Caterham’s first success of the season.

DAMS’ Marcus Ericsson was third, having started from 12th after being disallowed a pole lap for exceeding the track limits. Fourth place was sufficient for Leimer to clinch the title, with 191 points, but he had to fend off the close attentions of MP Motorsport’s Dani Clos throughout.

Russian Time’s Sam Bird lost his chance of the title when he stalled in second place on the grid at the start and dropped to the back of the field. A boiling drive brought him back to 10th place by the finish, but his 173 points were not sufficient to keep him in contention going into Sunday’s final round. Between Clos and Bird, James Calado battled to sixth for ART Grand Prix, ahead of former title contender Felipe Nasr (Carlin) and Arden International’s Johnny Cecotto and ART’s Daniel Abt.

In GP3, F1 graduate-to-be Kvyat started from pole and clinched the title with a storming drive in which he led throughout from battling Carlin team mates Alexander Sims and Nick Yelloly. By the finish the latter was just 0.3s ahead of ART Grand Prix’s charging Connor Daly. Daly’s team mate Jack Harvey was fifth from Koiranen GP’s Dean Stoneman, who celebrated his first single-seater race in almost three years after he was diagnosed with testicular cancer shortly after winning the Formula Two Championship.

For more pictures from Abu Dhabi, check out our Paddock Postcard gallery.

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