SUNDAY NIGHT ABU DHABI STYLE

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Abu Dhabi is fast setting the party standard on the F1 circuit. Monaco and Singapore, be afraid.

In addition to performances this weekend by Jay Z, Muse and Depeche Mode, plus smaller gigs around the Emirate by Ludacris, Akon and Nelly, among others, there were parties every night everywhere you looked. Even the most seasoned campaigner (yours truly) had to pace one’s self.

It didn’t help matters that I was staying in Dubai. Thanks to the ferocious pricing of hotels on Yas Island I have been forced to retreat an hour and a half’s drive away. Not ideal.

Instead I chose to check out of my hotel on Sunday morning and set myself the challenge of blagging a free room in Abu Dhabi on the night. Or else sleep in my car at the circuit.

The marina at the circuit was pumping to the music of competing parties but the three main bashes were on dry land: The Code 20, Amber Lounge and Podium Lounge.

Hot foot from seeing Dave Gahan strut around the dU Arena stage I made a bee line for Code 20, which was at the swanky Rush lounge in the connecting bridge of the Yas Viceroy Hotel, actually straddling the track. There I ran into Alexander Rossi and Giedo van der Garde, who was being molested by a very large and unhappy-looking baby. Quite unnerving. The Code 20 had teamed up with Cirque le Soir to bring a freaky burlesque element to the proceedings. Given F1 parties have a habit of being a bit vanilla, Code 20 founder Elena’s creative twist always makes it the go to place if you want a night to remember.

The grande dame was also in town. Amber Lounge was a short walk away at the Yacht Club above the F1 powerbroker’s dinner staple, Cipriani. Whereas the danger with Amber Lounge tends to be that you could be anywhere in the world, in Abu Dhabi they chose a stand-out venue with fantastic views across the track and marina and stunning ceiling architecture. They also booked Far East Movement, famous for their suitably bling hit ‘Like A G6’, who got the crowd jumping. In addition to drivers including Nico Rosberg and Felipe Massa, Sir Chris Hoy and David Haye were also spotted.

Part 3 was back at Yas Viceroy, on the roof terrace this time, where celebs included Diego Maradona and a bunch of royals. It was the Boujis-partnered Podium Lounge, and scene of Red Bull’s post-race celebrations. DJ Erok, who had done the early shift at Code 20, jumped in the lift to the top floor to play out the GP weekend, with Sebastian Vettel and the whole team there till closing.

As for my sleeping arrangements, the car wasn’t needed for thanks to the generosity of a chum – and the overbooking of their team – I secured the keys to a very swanky hotel not far away. The only trouble was I left my passport with my luggage in the car, and they wouldn’t check me in. Shunt. After some fairly explicit vocabulary on my part, which doesn’t go over very well in this part of the world (the police were nearly called; what a twat of a concierge), I had to go back to the circuit, then back to the hotel only to get two hours shut eye before I had to drive all the way back to the airport.

Still, the threat of paralysing exhaustion and a not inconsiderable hangover did little to dampen the fact that Abu Dhabi was probably the biggest party of the year so far. Austin, Sao Paulo, the gauntlet has been thrown down.

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Amber Lounge

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Amber Lounge – Far East Movement

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Boxer David Haye at Amber Lounge

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Nico Rosberg and fiancee Vivian Sibold

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Cirque le Soir at The Code 20

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Cirque le Soir at The Code 20

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Cirque le Soir at The Code 20

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Cirque le Soir at The Code 20

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Alexander Rossi at The Code 20

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Race winner Sebastian Vettel and party organizer Robbie Hoyes-Cock at Podium Lounge

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Fashion show at Podium Lounge

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Fashion show at Podium Lounge

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Mystery guest at Podium Lounge

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