Verstappen patient while Red Bull plays catch-up

F1i 28/03/2017
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Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen was frustrated with his Red Bull’s relative lack of speed in the opening race of the 2017 season, but has vowed to be patient.

At the conclusion of pre-season testing, there were suggestions that Red Bull was perhaps keeping its true speed under wraps but Sunday’s performance clearly demonstrated that its gap to Ferrari and Mercedes is real.

While an upgrade package to the RB13 is on its way for China, Max Verstappen patiently waits, aware that catching up with the duo ahead will require time and hard work.

“The most positive thing about the weekend? The weather,” Verstappen joked when speaking to Holland’s The Telegraph.

“If it’s frustrating to have to wait so long? That’s how it is. I can’t change anything about it. The gap is big, so we’ll have to work hard.

“But I’m not really frustrated because already during the winter I noticed that the car is not quite perfect.

On the bright side, Verstappen insisted on the exhilarating thrill derived from driving the new-spec cars. He did however join the chorus of voices claiming that overtaking has indeed become very difficult.

“The cars have become more fun to drive,” he said.

“But it (Melbourne) wasn’t very exciting. I could have made two extra pitstops without endangering my position.”

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Hamilton and Vettel looking forward to F1 title fight

F1i 27/03/2017
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Hamilton and Vettel.

Recent seasons have been dominated by Mercedes with no other teams coming close. But on Sunday, Vettel demonstrated that Ferrari is a real threat this year by clinching victory in Melbourne.

Now both drivers say that they hope that continues into the rest of the season.

“For sure I would love to have a close battle,” said Vettel. “Obviously right now it looks like we have equal machinery. I hope it stays that way and then we will see how it turns out

“It’s obviously a lot of fun to race for victories and a lot of fun to race against the best.

“I have great respect [for Lewis]. He’s proven to be one of the quickest drivers on the grid,” Vettel continued.

“I think he had an amazing debut here ten years ago. I still remember his move around the outside, when he made other people look a bit silly!”

Hamilton agreed with Vettel’s view that it looked like it was going to be a hard-fought campaign this season.

“Incredible amount of respect for Sebastian and what he’s achieved in his career,” Hamilton said.

“It’s been a privilege to be racing in an era with him. And now finally at a period of time when we can actually have a real race.

“The fact that we are similar pace-wise [means] it’s going to be a very, very hard slog this season.

“It’s going to be physically and mentally demanding. But as Sebastian said, racing the best is what Formula 1 is all about. Ultimately it makes you work that much harder, having to raise the bar.

“I’m looking forward to that.”

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Tickets on sale for this year's Abu Dhabi GP

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Are you attending the end-of-season spectacular?

F1 is entering a new era with lower, wider and faster cars making this season possibly the fastest ever and most spectacular for fans to watch.

With all this excitement surrounding the new F1 season, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix continues to offer its incredible array of ticket packages available to suit fans, families and entertainment seekers ahead of the event.

All ticket categories for 2017 have been maintained at 2016 prices at locations such as Abu Dhabi Hill and the five Grandstands.

This year will see the ‘GP Parks Pass’ return and the new ‘Kids Go Free’ package introduced, providing additional flexibility and value.

With each three-day adult Grandstand ticket purchased, ‘Kids Go Free’. This means that one child under 12 will get free Friday entry to that Grandstand, as well as enjoying free access to Yas Waterworld and Ferrari World Abu Dhabi.

This option will bring the whole family together to celebrate the region’s biggest and best sporting and entertainment weekend.

The ‘GP Parks Pass’ is a three-day package that allows unlimited access to Yas Island Parks – Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Yas Waterworld – on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

This special three-day ticket package starts from AED1,120 (for Abu Dhabi Hill) and will only be available for purchase until May 31 from all ticket outlets. Please visit the website for more details of all ‘GP Parks Pass’ options.

Those booking before May 31 will be eligible for a 30 per cent discount.

Corporate clients will also be rewarded with discounts for early booking of the Circuit’s wide range of hospitality solutions available during race weekend, with new products announced.

With the 2017 Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on November 24-26 confirmed as the final race of the 2017 season, fans will not want to miss out on the climax to what promises to be the most exciting championship battle in years.

Al Tareq Al Ameri, CEO of Yas Marina Circuit, said: “Since our inaugural race in 2009, I’m yet to experience as much anticipation for a Formula 1 season. The new technical rules haven’t just changed the appearance of the cars – they have made them faster and much more challenging to drive. As we just saw in Melbourne, the new rules will mean a whole new experience for everyone attending the 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.”

Mohammad Al Bulooki, Executive Vice President Commercial, Eithad Airways, added: “As title sponsor of the Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix since the inaugural race in 2009, the F1 race has been an incredibly important event for the Etihad Airways’ brand and for Abu Dhabi as a destination.

“Etihad Airways will again activate its global marketing resources to promote this thrilling race to ensure, alongside its partners, that visitors have a truly memorable experience.”

Away from the track, ticket holders are guaranteed a packed four days of entertainment that kicks off with a return of ‘Super Thursday’ following its successful introduction last year.

In addition to the Pit Lane Walk, the day will see the first performance by world-class musical artists at the daily After-Race concert, as well as the opening of the Main Oasis area.

Tickets are available online at www.yasmarinacircuit.com and through the Yas Marina Circuit Call Centre (800 927) or +971 (0) 2 659 9800.

They are also available at all Etihad Shops, Virgin Megastores, Yas Central Express stand at Yas Mall and through the YasHUB smartphone app, as well as Facebook shop: www.facebook.com/yasmarinacircuit.

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