TENS of thousands of motorsport fans packed Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) yesterday for an exciting Formula One race.
Sebastian Vettel marked his 200th F1 race with a thrilling and brilliantly-judged victory for Ferrari in yesterday’s dramatic Bahrain Grand Prix.
The four-time champion crossed the line with Valtteri Bottas on his tail and the Finn’s Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton in third in a nail-biting finish to an intriguing contest.
As the weekend drew to a close, BIC chief executive Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa said the “thrilling finish” at the F1 race was a “fitting end to a remarkable weekend at the BIC”.
“(A total of) 33,000 fans packed the stands to watch one of the closest fought races in living memory,” Shaikh Salman told the GDN exclusively.
“We congratulate Sebastian Vettel and the Scuderia Ferrari on a remarkable win, together with all participants in the race weekend.
“Bahrain has yet again enjoyed a superb weekend of racing and entertainment.
“I thank all those who made it happen, not least the team at the BIC whose many months of work has delivered an event which the whole of Bahrain can be proud of.”
He added that the Paddock Club’s layout and design this year was a huge success, along with the children’s tent.
Spectators from all corners of the globe could be found at the BIC yesterday, including Australia, South Africa, Holland, England and India, among others.
The excitement was palpable among crowds as they eagerly awaited the evening race, while enjoying the day with an array of entertainment in the vending area, along with an autograph session.
Some fans waited for more than three hours to meet their motorsport heroes at the Drivers Autograph Session and there were some clear team favourites with the longest queues for Scuderia Ferrari and Red Bull Racing.
A Dutch national who came to Bahrain especially for Formula One waited for more than two hours in the Ferrari line to meet the drivers.
“I’m a Kimi fan and while I would like to meet other drivers, you can see the lines are long and so I chose my favourite driver to get an autograph,” said 28-year-old Majero.
Another Scuderia Ferrari fan, Jalene Miller from South Africa, added that she had been in Bahrain the entire week to experience the country, culture and the race.
“We live in Riyadh, but have been here the whole week for the full experience but mainly for the Grand Prix,” she told the GDN.
“It’s our first time and it’s brilliant, we’ll definitely come back another time.
“The entertainment was amazing and the racing was great.
“I sat in front of where the Red Bull car crashed during the qualifying which was really exhilarating.
“Ferrari is the only queue I would ever stand in.”
Red Bull Racing fan Ken Luke travelled to Bahrain to share the Grand Prix experience with his grandson.
“I came all the way from Australia for this,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to the race and on a day like this in Bahrain, what can you say but the best person wins.”