Bahrain hails exceptional weekend 16 Apr 2007
Bahrain Grand Prix organisers have described the 2007 round as the proudest moment yet for the Kingdom, as more than 90,000 spectators attended the three-day meeting, confirming it as the biggest sporting and social event in the Gulf region.
"It has been an exceptional Grand Prix weekend for everyone in the Kingdom of Bahrain," said Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, PR and Governmental Relations Director at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC).
"We enjoy hosting the Formula One community and its fans here so much, and to see so many people enjoying an amazingly exciting race was the best moment anyone has seen yet in the three years since the BIC was completed."
The weekend got underway on Thursday evening with the now-traditional Welcome Party in the Formula One Paddock. With the teams, drivers and over 500 VIPs attending, it was a huge success despite tempestuous weather conditions - an unexpected storm saw staff kick off their shoes and resort to towelling down the stage so that the entertainment could continue.
The entertainment switched to the track on Friday, with 22,000 fans present for the extended practice sessions. Another 26,000 were there to see Felipe Massa take pole position for Ferrari on Saturday, with over 42,000 then witnessing him going on to triumph on Sunday.
As well as a thrilling race, the crowds spent much of the day soaking up the occasion in the F1 Village behind the main grandstand. Here they were treated to live performances from bands, DJs, rock 'n' roll dancers, breakdancers, mimes and acrobats on the main stage, with touring stilt walkers, football trick kickers and balloon artists among the throng.
Autograph sessions with the Formula One teams continued on the ceremonial dhow and two lucky fans won the chance to meet the McLaren team in the paddock. The pre-race driver presentation on the grid with a supporting cast including a police band and hundreds of Bahraini schoolchildren was another popular success, as was the breathtaking performance of the Batelco-backed Blades air display team.
"It's been an unbelievable day for everyone here in Bahrain," commented BIC CEO Martin Whitaker. "Everyone involved has been working at full capacity throughout the days and weeks leading up to the weekend, and all through it, and this huge crowd and the entertainment they have got is a testament to all the hard work."