Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Day 2

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Friday was the first day of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix where cars were on the track, and the first that the grandstands were open. Our day started in the GP3 and Formula 2 paddocks, watching the teams and drivers prepare for their morning practice sessions. We watched most of the practice and qualifying sessions from the grandstand, and in the evening were invited to visit the McLaren Racing Paddock shortly after the final F1 practice session of the day.

Below are trip highlights from November 23rd, 2018 in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps

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Sacha Fenestraz
We stopped off at the GP3 and Formula 2 paddocks on our way to the track for day two at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Here Sacha Fenestraz in car number 15 and the rest of the Renault Sport Academy are being belted in before the first GP3 practice session on Friday.
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Charouz 21
Antonio Fuocco’s Charouz Racing Systems Formula 2 car in paddock area about 90 minutes before their first practice session. You can see a Formula 2 car bears a lot of similarity to a Formula 1 car. It’s not an accident—many current Formula 1 drivers proved their skills in this series. Formula 2 has a standard car, engine, and tire, so differences in driver skill are not hidden by mechanical technology differences.
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Anthoine Hubert
This year’s GP3 champion Anthoine Hubert in car number 2 leads the rest of the ART Grand Prix GP3 team onto the track for practice. The cars are likely travelling at their pit-road-limited speeds, but when they’re this close they sure go by fast. Hubert is the final GP3 champion, as the series will be merged with the Formula 3 European Championship in 2019 to form the Formula 3 Championship series.
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Elf Racing Fuel
The Formula 2 and GP3 series both use Elf LMS 102 RON racing fuel.
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Mint Lemonade
Jennifer getting some mint lemonade from the lounge behind our seats. This was the first day the grandstands were open and we were pretty much the first to arrive at our section each day.
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Robotic Camera
While we were in Abu Dhabi we got a chance to meet with the Formula 1 broadcasting team. They are responsible for capturing all telemetry from every car all way way around the track, delivering the appropriate telemetry to each racing team, the timing loops under the racing surface all around the track, and capturing the video from two cameras on every car and the manned video cameras all around the track. The technology employed is impressed and a great example of it is this robotic camera that runs above the track at the start-finish line. This camera gets great race start footage and can show cars entering the pits or even track a car from the entrance of the straight all the way down to the next corner, hundreds of feet down the track.
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Standing Start
One of our favourite aspects of Formula 1, Formula 2 and GP3 is the races are begun from a standing start. As the start lights come on, all cars rev up to their rev limiters and the entire field is just screaming. When the lights go out, they launch, heading towards what is usually the most dangerous part of an open wheel race: the first corner. Too much wheel spin and they’ll be passed. Too little wheel spin and they risk stalling and again will be passed.

Here two Formula 2 driver are practicing starts, both with slightly too much wheel spin, which is slightly slower, but perhaps more exciting.

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Four-time Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel in his Ferrari number 5 during the first F1 practice session of the weekend.
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Catch Fence
Between practice sessions we walked around the Yas Marine Circuit a bit. This is a catch fence at the end of the Yas Drag Racing Circuit so cars don’t land in Yas Marina.
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Fire Trucks
A number of fire trucks and emergency vehicles were standing by at the circuit.
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Steering Wheel
As we returned to our seats along the pit lane, the Renault team brought out a steering wheel to show a spectator. for spectators to take a photo. This is a backstage view into an aspect of driving complexity that you just don’t see when watching the cars from a distance. Through the wheel, the driver has control over break balance, energy recovery settings, hydraulic settings, control for DRS (Drag Reduction System), pit lane speed limit, short-term extra power for overtaking, different engine power/fuel consumption mappings, and even even deliver a drink inside the helmet. And all this while trying to fight off Lewis Hamilton in a high-speed corner.
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F1 Practice
Watching the second F1 practice from the lounge above our seats with a view to the F1 garages. The session runs from 5pm to 6:30pm, and by 6pm it’s already getting dark. More spectators arrive when the F1 cars are on the track, but its only Friday, so still not very busy.
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Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen’s car number 33 on the track for practice. The Dutch driver became the youngest Grand Prix winner when he won the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix at age 18 in his debut with Red Bull racing. Max has had an incredible season, where he started the year as an extremely promising driver and is visibly growing into becoming one of the stars of the sport.
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McLaren Racing
Outside the McLaren Racing paddock at the end of the practice session.
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McLaren Racing Paddock
Here we are inside the McLaren Racing Formula 1 paddock area a few minutes before the cars arrive. While inside the paddock area we can’t take pictures of the cars once the body work is off, and it will be quickly. The team has extensive changes planned for both cars prior to qualifying for the final race of the year tomorrow.
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Mark Norris
James with Mark Norris, Race Operations Director for McLaren Racing, in front Alonso Fernando’s partially-disassembled F1 car. The McLaren team is busying changing engines Friday night for practice and qualifying tomorrow.
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Kevin Magnussen
Kevin Magnussen, driver of Haas car number 20, being interviewed behind their garage.
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Renault drivers Carlos Sainz, left, and Nico Hulkenberg interview with the press after practice.
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Looking across Yas Marina under the evening lights to the grandstands above the paddock as we return back to the hotel area.
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Yas Marina
The Yas Marina Formula 1 track actually wraps all the way around Yas Marina, making it a pretty exotic place from which to watch the race. It’s Friday night before the big race weekend and the marina is starting to get crowded.
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Dinner on the patio at Amerigos Mexican restaurant in the Park Inn hotel near our Abu Dhabi hotel.
Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.


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