Bahrain Grand Prix is a catalyst to boost the spirit of achievement
and success, said the Crown Prince said.
World Focus on Bahrain as F1 fever roars to life
Manama, April 5, 2014
World focus is firmly on Bahrain as race fever roared to life yesterday. The Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix is a catalyst to boost the spirit of achievement and success, the Crown Prince said.
His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Premier, was speaking as he hosted a dinner banquet at Gudaibiya Palace in honour of F1's VIP guests.
Hosting the Grand Prix is part of landmark development strides over the last 10 years, said the Crown Prince, who earlier visited the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir.
Thousands of fans thronged the circuit to enjoy a pair of 90-minute Formula One practice sessions, alongside action from the GP2 feeder series and Porsche GT3 Cup Middle East.
In stark contrast to the first day of action at last year's event, when temperatures peaked at 45C, yesterday was much cooler with the needle dipping to the low 20s by early evening.
Security was tight as police officers manned all routes leading to the venue, but a free flow of traffic was ensured with most people getting through quickly at the checkpoints.
Once at the track, visitors to the BIC's F1 village area were treated to an array of off track entertainment from main stage acts to roaming performers.
The highlight of the day was a performance by Saudi Arabian pop star Rabeh Saqer, who was preceded on the main stage by acts including seasoned MC and DJ duo Gil and Tony, dance squads Boadicea and Peridot, and solo musician THePETEBOX.
Aside from the main stage performances, there were also plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy elsewhere around the site including the F1 Game Zone, where motorsport fans could try out a Formula One simulator, and two children's entertainment tents - one themed around popular TV character Shaun the Sheep and the other taking children on a "Island Fanta-Sea" underwater adventure.
Roaming acts also wowed crowds with a variety of circus skills, sideshow stunts, stilt walking and drumming and those with a head for heights were given the opportunity to tackle the extreme high rope course.
Behind the scenes, BIC chief executive Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa toured the Paddock Area and spoke with race team officials alongside British racing legend and long-time friend of the Bahrain Grand Prix, Sir Jackie Stewart.
On track, Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg set the fastest times, making them once again the team to beat in the race.
Bahrain's first night race coincides with the 10th anniversary of the BIC.-TradeArabia News Service