The Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix celebrates its 10th anniversary, and 11th edition, this weekend, and slowly over the years, the four-day event has built up a solid catalogue of memorable moments that many visitors to the UAE capital have been lucky enough to experience.
From hanging out with celebrities, to getting entry into VIP lounges, chances are you’ve heard many of them, probably from that one Forrest Gump-like friend who seems to always be in the right place at the right time.
Here are a five standout moments you can name-check to show you know your Yas Marina Circuit heritage.
Stars flock to Skylite rooftop (2009)
Oh, thinking about that first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, we were young and wild and free. After Beyonce had kicked off a decade of Yas Marina concerts on Thursday, October 29, 2009, Jamiroquai, Kings of Leon and Aerosmith, kept the party going for the rest of the weekend.
On the eve of the first Grand Prix Sunday race, Jay Kay and the members of the American band could be found mingling freely with those who managed to make it to Skylight rooftop bar at what was then Yas Hotel.
Thankfully, selfie sticks were not quite as popular back then.
Prince plays du Forum (2010)
Prince’s Sunday night performance at du Arena at the fourth edition of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is widely considered to be the best of all post-race concerts over the last decade. But even that was arguably topped when he played a smaller, more intimate gig at du Forum the day before. Only a few hundred were there to witness a storming performance, though since then it seems like thousands more seem to have been there. Be one of them.
Diego Maradona drives through Paddock (2013)
Behind the Paddock Grandstand you'll find the villas the house the Formula 1 teams over the Grand Prix weekend, and there member of the media and VIPs can walk among the real stars of the show, the drivers. Until that is, the most famous sportsman of all time decides to show his hand. Argentine football legend and then UAE resident Diego Maradona left fans stunned when he went for a wander around the Paddock before being whisked away on a golf cart while waving to the mere mortals in his wake.
Abu Dhabi Hill Opens (2013)
Here was a whole new way to watch the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix live; more relaxed, more accessible, more affordable.
In 2013, Abu Dhabi Hill opened to the public and for around $100, hardcore and casual fans could sit on the lawn with picnic baskets and enjoy spectacular views of Yas Marina Circuit, especially as the sun sets during the race.
Party Time (Every year)
The parties at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix have become legendary over the last 10 years.
The all-day yacht parties, were you can watch the race and carry on the celebrations into the night, have turned Marina passes to gold dust. All the hotels on Yas Island, and even those that aren’t, will have their own after-race celebrations. Last year, Lewis Hamilton threw his post-victory party at the then newly-launched Abu Dhabi Edition.
But for the ultimate bragging rights, nothing comes close to getting into Amber Lounge, where you can party the night away with celebrities, VIPs, team executives and, above all, many of the drivers themselves.
Good luck getting an invite though.