Bits from the Pits: Amoory, Mumford & Sons, Gordon Ramsay and more turn up for Abu Dhabi GP

Reem Abulleil 27/11/2017

Sunday's race may have been a boring affair on the track but the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix paddock was certainly not.

Yas Marina Circuit was buzzing with activity as celebrities flocked to the venue for the final F1 race of the season.

British chef and TV personality Gordon Ramsay was spotted in the Mercedes hospitality villa while UAE and Al Ain star footballer Omar Abdulrahman was seen strolling down the paddock.

Mumford & Sons, who performed the night before at du Arena, hung out at the Red Bull Racing garage, while Liverpool legend Sami Hyypia was a guest of Mercedes.

Be it the brilliant air performance from the Aermacchi MB-339 jets of UAE's Al-Fursan display team, or the spectacular fireworks that following the race, Sunday was a day to remember on Yas Island.

A new era: For F1. A new era: For F1.

Meanwhile in the press conference room, the drivers seemed unanimous in how they felt about the new F1 logo that was unveiled Sunday night.

When the race's top-three -- Valtteri Bottas, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel -- were asked about their thoughts on the logo change, the following exchange unfolded.

VB: I kind of like the old one. I only saw it very quickly.

SV: Just say you don’t like the new one!

VB: What’s wrong with the old one? I don’t know. I think it’s quite cool.

SV: I liked the old one better.

LH: The problem is logos… I think the one that we already had was an iconic logo I think. Just imagine Ferrari changing their logo, or Mercedes changed their logo. I don’t think the new one is as iconic but maybe it will grow on us.

Later at the Mercedes hospitality area, team boss Toto Wolff gave one word when asked about how he felt about it.

"Mind-blowing," the German said sarcastically.

The was more comedy in the post-race press conference when Hamilton suddenly put his hand on Bottas while the Finn was answering a question.

Bottas actually thought he was saying something wrong until Hamilton clarified: "Sorry, there’s a fly on you."

Well at least that was cleared up.

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Carlos Sainz feels settled at Renault and is optimistic about their future

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It may not have been the season finale he was hoping for but Carlos Sainz is not letting his crew’s disastrous mistake that ended his Abu Dhabi Grand Prix prematurely sour his feelings about his 2017.

The front left tyre of Sainz’s Renault was mounted incorrectly during a pit stop early in the race and it almost came off as he drove off into the tunnel and nearly hit the wall.

But the Spaniard, who finished ninth in the drivers’ championship after a year that saw him get dropped from Toro Rosso and picked up by Renault in October with just four races left in the season, feels positively about 2017 and is optimistic about what’s to come.

“It was coming a really nice race, very good pace, so I cannot be disappointed by the outcome,” the 23-year-old told Sport360 on Sunday night at Yas Marina Circuit.

“I think it’s just a human mistake that things happen in Formula One, we all do mistakes once a year. No hard feelings.

“We just need to be very pleased about how we prepared this last race, the pace that both cars had in the race and during the whole weekend and be happy about that.”

Both Renaults were indeed in good shape over the weekend and Sainz’s team-mate Nico Hulkenberg secured an impressive sixth place on Sunday, despite receiving a five seconds penalty for running off the circuit to pass his ex-team-mate Sergio Perez of Force India.

Sainz scored a P7 in his first race with Renault at the US Grand Prix last month and his best finish of the year came with Toro Rosso when he finished fourth in Singapore.

The Madrileño feels he has got a decent head-start on 2018 thanks to the four races he got with Renault in the last few weeks.

“It’s given me a big advantage to have these four races, to know the car, to know the systems, to know the team, my engineers. It’s been fundamental for next year,” he had said on Saturday.

“That means that in testing we can start focusing already on car performance and not so much on me adapting to a car or to a team. So that’s going to be encouraging to know that and it’s going to give us a big advantage for next year.”

He’s also proud of his top-10 finish in the championship and is raring to go further in 2018.

“I think that first of all to finish P9 in the drivers’ championship shows that this year has been a very positive year for me,” he added. “It also wasn’t easy because I had to switch teams three quarters into the season and I think we adapted very well.”

Sainz admits though that it will still take him some time to get completely comfortable with the car.

“With so many changes we do through laps, qualifying, with so many different characteristics that each car has, with torques, etc… I haven’t found my baseline yet,” he confessed.

“Brazil was a good step forward but I haven’t found exactly what I need to do to drive this car. I’m still thinking doing a qualifying lap what I need to do to go faster through this corner, through the other… it doesn’t come naturally yet. So until we do a bit of testing and a good consecutive tyre sets this will come so I’m not worried.”

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Nico Hulkenberg's risky move pays off hugely for Renault in Abu Dhabi

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Fine finish: For Hulkenberg.

Nico Hulkenberg may not have won Sunday’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but his pragmatic drive for sixth secured increased championship prize money and a controversial post-race row.

The German driver ran off circuit and gained an advantage when he passed Sergio Perez’s Force India early in the race — a move that resulted in a stewards’ investigation.

Most observers expected him to be forced to hand his place back to Perez, but instead he was handed a five seconds penalty and went on to finish sixth.

It was a result that was good enough for his Renault team to leap ahead of Toro Rosso and take sixth place in the constructors’ championship.

That success, estimated by paddock experts to be worth at least an additional 7.2 million, left Force India boss Otmar Szafneuer enraged.

He said: “It makes a mockery of the sport to have it so inconsistent. Hulkenberg cuts a corner, the FIA don’t do anything about it and guess what? They gain a place in the constructors’ championship, which means more money and more competitiveness next year.”

Renault chief Cyril Abiteboul said: “There was a penalty decided and we served the penalty…”

Hulkenberg said he felt the penalty was fair.

“It’s always different car, different perspective. I saw he was locking up and running wide. I had nowhere to go… I think the five seconds was fair.”

The two drivers were team-mates at Force India last year.

Renault had started the race with a four points deficit to Toro Rosso, but finished it in front by four.

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