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In Case You Missed It - off track in Abu Dhabi

28 Nov 2016

The title-deciding 2016 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix provided just the sort of tension and drama one has come to expect from an F1 season finale. However, there was also plenty going on behind the scenes in the build-up to the Yas Marina race. Here's our social media round-up of just a few of the highlights...

Duelling in the desert

Best way to warm up for a Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi? For Max Verstappen it was heading out into the desert with his team mate and learning how to ride the dunes, on two wheels and four, with the guidance of a Dakar rally veteran in the form of Red Bull athlete Sam Sunderland.

Daniel + dancing = belly laughs

Dune riding wasn't the only skill Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo picked up in Abu Dhabi - though we're not sure he should be using this one again.

Coasting home

When you drive for Ferrari, it's only natural you are going to visit the Ferrari World Abu Dhabi theme park, whose ‘Flying Aces’ rollercoaster - inspired by the legendary ‘ace of aces’ aviator, Count Francesco Baracca - boasts the highest loop in the world. No wonder Kimi looks so excited!

A nostalgic nod

McLaren's Jenson Button carried this rather familiar-looking helmet livery for his final Grand Prix weekend, featuring the same yellow colour scheme he used when he took his world title with Brawn back in 2009.

The Onion Knight returns

Seen in the Yas Marina paddock: race fan and regular Grand Prix visitor Liam Cunningham.


Honda express their gratitude to Jenson Button ahead of his final Grand Prix. His first F1 win came with the Japanese manufacturer back in 2006 in Hungary.

Super Swedes

Here's one way to 'wear your colours on your sleeve' - Sauber's Marcus Ericsson meets the man who just might be his biggest fan.

The name's Palmer...

...Jolyon Palmer. The suave and sophisticated Brit gears up for some pre-race promotional duties with Renault in Dubai.

Bow tie in Dubai. Ready for action! #Dubai #lightscameraaction 🇦🇪

A photo posted by Jolyon Palmer (@jolyon_palmer) on

Remembering Aki

Lewis Hamilton was among the many paying tribute to McLaren’s long-time F1 coach and doctor, Aki Hintsa, who recently lost his fight with cancer, aged 58.

Champion number one

Ferrari Driver Academy member and occasional Haas F1 tester Charles Leclerc wrapped up the 2016 GP3 Series title in Abu Dhabi. Congratulations!

Mum's the word

There were plenty of 'driver mums' in the F1 paddock this weekend, including those of title contenders Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Joining them was Simone Lyons, there to see son Jenson Button compete in an emotional final Grand Prix after 16 years of F1 racing.

That's amore

Pirelli's hospitality unit is always a popular destination in the paddock, and former Grand Prix winner Jean Alesi knows why.

Champion number two

On the next rung up the motorsport ladder from the aforementioned Mr Leclerc, Red Bull protege Pierre Gasly got the job done in Abu Dhabi to become 2016 GP2 champion, following in the footsteps of 2015 winner Jolyon Palmer.

McLaren hit by Manx Missile

Thirty-times Tour de France stage winner Mark Cavendish was among the guests at McLaren. He knew he'd encounter one 'Button', but clearly wasn't expecting this many.

A first for Federer...

Hard to believe, but prior to this weekend tennis legend Roger Federer had never visited a Grand Prix. After hanging out with the world champions, the Swiss star gave his experience a big thumbs-up.

...and a finale for Felipe

After racking up 249 more Grand Prix appearances than Federer, the much-loved Felipe Massa enjoyed his final F1 race outing on Sunday afternoon.

The end of an era

Felipe Massa's relationship with long-time race engineer Rob Smedley has been one of the warmest and most enduring in F1 history - and their respective sons were in Abu Dhabi to witness their fathers' final race as team mates.

Champagne shower

The one problem with F1 post-race celebrations? You tend to get very wet - as Nico Rosberg's wife Vivian discovered.

Don't be a stranger

He may not be racing for them next season, but Jenson Button will remain very much a part of the McLaren team - as new executive director Zak Brown was keen to remind him.

I love Paris

...and Paris loves Ferrari. The Scuderia welcomed one of the weekend's most glamorous guests.

Here's to the Hulk

One more farewell in a weekend full of them - Force India paid tribute to Nico Hulkenberg, who completed in his last race with the team before heading to Renault for 2017.

Champion number three

A lifetime's ambition achieved! Nico Rosberg celebrates his first F1 crown with family and friends, including fellow drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Romain Grosjean.


A photo posted by NICO ROSBERG (@nicorosberg) on