Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen has won The Etihad Airways F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with Fernando Alonso coming second place – less than a second behind, and Sebastian Vettel taking third place.
Vettel fought back and finished third behind title rival Alonso during the enthralling race at Yas Marina.
Meawhile McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, who started from the pit lane, and Red Bull’s Mark Webber retired from the incident packed race.
Commenting on his victory, Raikkonen explained: “I am happy for the team, it’s been a hard time so hopefully this gives them more belief. I hope this can turn around the tables and give us many more.”
Following a thrilling race, Abu Dhabi F1 ticket holders will enjoy legendary rapper Eminem perform at the du Arena – in a stunning climax to the weekend’s events.
Now in its fourth year, the Sunday finale concert has become a landmark event for Abu Dhabi and a fitting finish to one of the most eagerly awaited sporting events in the region.
Eminem is one of the most popular artists in the world, selling more than 90 million albums worldwide and being recognised as the best-selling artist of the 2000s.
The F1 Grand Prix is the latest coup for the Abu Dhabi, which has achieved record hotel guest numbers in the first nine months of this year with figures just released by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority showing some 1,741,330 people stayed in the emirate’s 131 hotels and hotel apartments during the period.
This is a 15 per cent increase on the same period last year.
Together the year-to-date hotel guest tally has translated into almost five million hotel guest nights – which is up ten per cent on the first nine months of 2011.
“This is an encouraging performance given that the same comparative period has seen a significant increase in hotel and resort inventory,” said HE Mubarak Al Muhairi, director general, TCA Abu Dhabi.
“We are well placed to achieve our yearly target of 2.3 million hotel guests, particularly as we have a busy quarter four ahead with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Abu Dhabi Art, the Mubadala World Tennis Championships and the opening of the Yas Waterworld still to look forward to.”
A strong September showing contributed to the year-to-date growth trend with 189,442 people checking into Abu Dhabi’s hotels last month – a 14 per cent rise on the first nine months of last year.
They accounted for 566,404 guest nights – an increase of 16 per cent on the comparative period.
“Of particular significance is the upward move in average-length-of-stay.
“It has expanded by two per cent, which is a slight shift – but nevertheless a move in the right direction. It seems that our messaging that there is now much more to see and do in Abu Dhabi is taking hold, albeit gradually,” added Al Muhairi.
Average-length-of-stay during September achieved 2.99 nights – although it remains down, by four per cent for the year-to-date.
While occupancy levels for the first nine months recorded a dip of seven per cent to 63 per cent, overall revenue grew by three per cent to AED3.15 billion.
Food and beverage returns continue to play a significant revenue generation role, it has accounted for AED1.245 billion in the first nine months of 2012 – an 11 per cent growth on the same period in 2011.
During the first nine months of this year, growth has been recorded in all of Abu Dhabi’s key markets with the strongest coming from Asia, the GCC and the Europe.
Domestic tourism continues its upward growth rising 11 per cent to 669,890 hotel guests to the end of the third quarter.
“We have our sights firmly focused on the Indian market and hope to have on-the-ground representation in place very soon to nurture further trade and media relations,” explained Al Muhairi.
“We have significant air accessibility from India to Abu Dhabi which will be further enhanced next month when Etihad Airways begins daily flights from Ahmedabad – its ninth destination within the Sub-continent.”