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 FORMULA ONE GULF AIR BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX IS ON!!!

 Live entertainment all day long at F1 Village

20-Apr-2012
Hamilton and Rosberg top Formula One practices
Valsecchi claims GP2 feature race pole; Azzam grabs WGA Supercars double pole;
Ammermuller sets pace in Porsche Supercup
McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes and Toro Rosso autograph sessions Saturday
Live entertainment all day long at F1 Village 
 

BIC, Sakhir – The deafening roars of Formula One engines signaled the start of this year’s Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix on Friday at Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir.

Thousands of race fans from Bahrain and overseas made their way to “The Home of Motorsport in the Middle East” – the only desert race track in Formula One – and cheered on as the sport’s brightest stars put on a show.

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes’s Nico Rosberg shared the honours of being the fastest drivers on the opening day of the weekend-long event.

Hamilton set the pace in the day’s first practice session around a very dusty 5.412-kilometre track. Rosberg then topped the timesheet in the afternoon.

It doesn’t come as a surprise that both drivers excel at the Sakhir race track. Back in 2004 when both were competing in the Formula Three Euro Series, both Hamilton and Rosberg were on the BIC podium for the Bahrain F3 Superprix exhibition event. Hamilton was the victor while Rosberg finished as the runner-up.

Friday’s practices officially kick started the Kingdom’s highly anticipated Formula One weekend, which marks the fourth round of the 2012 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Action continues Saturday (April 21) with a third practice session and qualifying, to be followed on Sunday by the long-awaited mega event, the 2012 Formula One Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.

Hamilton stole the show in Friday’s opening practice with a best lap of one minute 33.572 seconds. The Briton led double World champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull Racing who was 0.305 seconds off the pace, while Paul di Resta of Force India was classified third 0.578s behind.



Rosberg was fourth (+0.677s), Jenson Button of McLaren fifth (+0.705s) and Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg sixth (+0.772s). Mercedes ace Michael Schumacher (+0.911s) and Red Bull Racing driver Mark Webber (+0.980s) rounded out the top eight.

Practice two saw Rosberg rise to the top after clocking a fine mark of 1:32.816. Rosberg, who was the winner of the season’s previous round in Shanghai, China, was marginally quicker than Webber, who trailed by 0.446s. Vettel was third 0.709s back.
 
Hamilton finished in fourth (+0.931s), Schumacher fifth (+1.046), Button in sixth (+1.430s); Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi seventh (+1.595s) and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso in eighth (+1.633s).
 
 
Also as part of Friday’s Formula One events, six of the 12 team principals took part in the official FIA Friday Press conference. Among them were Lotus boss Eric Boullier, Ferrari chief Stefano Domenicalli, Force India ‘s Bob Fernley, McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh, Red Bull Racing’s Christian Horner, and Mercedes motorsport president Norbert Haug.
 
PLENTY OF EXCITEMENT IN ALL THREE SUPPORT SERIES
 
This year’s Bahrain Grand Prix is being supported by three top-class racing categories, including the GP2 Series, the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup and the WGA Supercars Middle East Championship.
 
Italian Davide Valsecchi of DAMS shone brightest in Friday’s GP2 sessions.
 


With the season’s second round taking place in support of the Grand Prix, Valsecchi claimed pole position for the weekend’s feature race after setting the pace during practices.
 
In qualifying, Valsecchi captured the leading starting position with a quickest lap of 1:41.200. Mexican Esteban Gutierrez of Lotus GP followed 0.279s behind, while Valsecchi’s Brazilian teammate Felipe Nasr was third 0.585s off the pace.
 
Valsecchi’s top mark in practice was a lap of 1:41.417.
 
The Porsce Mobil 1 Supercup, holding its opening round of the 2012 season in the Kingdom, saw Austrian Michael Ammermuller of Veltins Lechner Racing setting the pace during their lone session of the day – a 45-minute practice. Ammermuller clocked a fastest lap of 2:04.141, just 0.080s ahead of teammate Norbert Siedler.
 
Germany’s Rene Rast of Lechner Racing Team, the series’ defending champion, was third on the timesheet just 0.845s off the pacesetter.
 
 
In the WGA Supercars Middle East Championship, Canadian Ramez Azzam clinched a double pole to register a perfect start to the final round of the 2011/2012 season.
 
It was a good day for Batelco on Friday as Azzam will be joined in the front row for race one by Batelco teammate Mohammed Mattar. For race two, Azzam will lead a Batelco one-two-three for race two.
 
Azzam clinched pole for the weekend’s opening sprint with a best lap time of 2:23.640 during Friday’s qualifying. Mattar was 0.058s slower, while Mustafa Al Khan of ALBA Racing Team finished third 0.150s behind.
 
Faisal Raffii of ALBA (+0.188s), Alban Varuttii of Batelco (+0.510s) and Raed Raffii of VIVA Racing Team (+0.641s) were fourth through sixth, respectively; while Mohammed Al Baharna of WGA Racing Team (+1.635s) and Tarek Elgammal of VIVA (+1.715s) rounded out the top eight.
 
Azzam was able to clinch the leading starting position for race two after his second best lap time was also the quickest amongst the field. Azzam clocked a mark of 2:23.809, which was a mere 0.006s quicker than Mattar.
 
Azzam had also topped the timesheets for practice held earlier in the day.
 
MCLAREN, FERRARI, MERCEDES AND TORO ROSSO STARS TO SIGN AUTOGRAPHS
 
Fans’ autograph sessions with Formula One’s star drivers continues Saturday with another four pairings meeting the public.
 
On Friday, the first two tandems met with fans. They were HRT’s Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan along with Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean.
 
On Saturday, drivers from Toro Rosso, Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren will be meeting with fans and signing autographs.
 
Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo will be available between 4.20pm and 4.40pm, Mercedes’s Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg between 4.50pm and 5.10pm, and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa between 5.20pm and 5.40pm.
 
These autograph signing sessions will be located near the Kids’ Entertainment Tents.
 
Meanwhile, McLaren’s Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton will be meeting with fans at the exclusive McLaren exhibition tent showcasing 10 of the team’s classic cars. They will be there between 4.30pm and 5pm.
 
Fans must line-up as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. The other teams will be holding their autograph sessions on Saturday and Sunday.
 
GRAND PRIX BRINGS THE TRUE FLAVOUR OF BAHRAIN
 
Visitors to this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix can look forward to the best of everything from one of the world’s most talked-about sporting events.
 

For the thousands of VIP guests and Gulf Air Club pass holders attending BIC over the course of the event, that includes to savour including a culinary tour de force that comes from the heart of the Kingdom's farmers, fishermen, traders and chefs.
 
There is a range of opportunities to taste the best produce and preparation available in Bahrain, both in the 35 hospitality suites in the Main Grandstand and the fabulous Gulf Air Club, where regular ticketholders can savour the full VIP experience.
 
“We are extremely proud to be increasing the home-grown and home-prepared aspect of the catering in 2012," says Gesche Willers, of Bahraini catering firm Eatcorp.
 
"We have a talented young Bahraini lady, Noor Murad, who graduated from culinary school in New York and, after getting experience in the USA, is now in the main operations team handling the logistics for the biggest catering activity in the Kingdom."
 
  
The Bahrain Grand Prix places heavy emphasis on supplying from local farmers and suppliers across the Bahraini community. At each of the seven previous grands prix in the Kingdom much of the produce was imported, but in 2012 a stunning 90 per cent of all the food and equipment comes from within Bahrain, investing in the people, products and services of the country.
 
It is expected that the team will serve approximately 25,000 meals to guests in the Hospitality Suites and Gulf Air Club, plus a further 3,000 meals for media, staff and officials. To meet such demand, the orders placed with suppliers include: 8,000 kg of ice; 18,000 pastries; 1.9 tonnes of beef; 1.8 tonnes of chicken; 1.3 tonnes of vegetables; 1.2 tonnes of pasta; 1.2 tonnes of rice; 12,000 bread rolls; 18,000 eggs; 12,000 flat bread; 800 litres of cream; 650 kg of butter; 280 kg of Arabic mezze; 600 kg of hammour; 500 litres of tomato sauce; 400 kg of chocolate; 1,200 litres of fresh orange juice; 350 kg mixed nuts; 15,000 cans of soft drinks; and 5000 litres water.
 
In order to prepare and serve this vast banquet across the three days of the Grand Prix, a total of 250 chefs and kitchen staff have been recruited, together with 400 waiting staff to offer the highest levels of service. Between them, the staff must get to grips with a vast inventory, including: 20km of cables; 12,000 cut flowers; 12 cooling rooms; 4,000 flowering plants; 42,000 glasses; 400 green plants; 80,000 pieces cutlery; 32,000 plates; 19,000 cups and saucers; 300 large pieces of kitchen equipment; and 30,000 other crockery items.
 
MCLAREN TENT DRAWS IN RACE FANS FOR LOOK INTO TEAM’S F1 HISTORY
 
The much talked-about McLaren Tent featuring 10 of the team’s most popular cars was officially opened to the public Friday at the Formula One Village vending area.
 
The exhibition not only tells the story of the British team's 46 years of Formula One success, but it also gives an insight into its dramatic campaigns in the Indianapolis 500 race.
 
The full collection consists of the 1970 McLaren M15 in Indycar and the 1972 McLaren M21 in Formula Two; along with its Formula One cars such as the 1982 McLaren MP4/1B, the 1984 McLaren MP4/2, the 1988 McLaren-Honda MP4/4, the 1989 McLaren-Honda MP4/5, the 1993 McLaren-Ford MP4/8, 1998 McLaren-Mercedes MP4/13, the 2003 McLaren-Mercedes MP4/17D and the 2008 McLaren-Mercedes MP4/23.
 
ENTERTAINMENT CONTINUES LIVE AT FORMULA ONE VILLAGE!
 
Entertainment off the track continues all day long on Saturday at BIC’s Formula One Village vending area. Stretching from the BIC Welcome Centre all the way to the VIVA Karting Track, this year’s F1 Village is the biggest ever in the history of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
 
The Main Stage acts are set to be the stars of the show, but there will also be plenty on offer by the roaming acts, the three children’s entertainment tents, and at the extreme area where fans are looking to test the Sky Coaster, which combines the thrills of hang-gliding and bungee jumping.
 
Saturday’s schedule of performers at Main Stage:
 
Urban Intro cover band: 9.20am, 2.10pm, 5.10pm
The Red Hot Chilli Pipers: 9.50am, 11.14am, 12.45pm, 4.40pm
Michael Jackson tribute band Navi: 10.20am, 1.15pm, 2.40pm, 4.10pm, 5.35pm
The Vegas Showgirls: 10.40am, 1.35pm
The Shaolin Warriors: 10.45am, 12.15pm, 1.40pm, 3.40pm
The Phonics cover band: 11.45am, 3.15pm
 
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS FOR SATURDAY, APRIL 21, AT THE BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX
 

SATURDAY 

02:00    08:00
FORMULA ONE
TEAM PERSONNEL CURFEW
07:30    08:30
FORMULA ONE
TEAM PIT STOP PRACTICE
09:45    10:15
PORSCHE MOBIL 1 SUPERCUP
QUALIFYING SESSION
09:45    10:45
FORMULA ONE
PADDOCK CLUB PIT LANE WALK
10:20   
FORMULA ONE
MEDICAL INSPECTION
10:20    10:45
FORMULA ONE
PADDOCK CLUB PIT LANE WALK
10:30    10:45
FORMULA ONE
TRACK INSPECTION - MSTT
11:00    12:00¹
FORMULA ONE
THIRD PRACTICE SESSION
12:05    13:30
FORMULA ONE
PADDOCK CLUB PIT LANE WALK
12:25*   13:00²
PORSCHE MOBIL 1 SUPERCUP
FIRST RACE (12 LAPS OR 30 MINS)
13:30    13:40
FORMULA ONE
TRACK INSPECTION
14:00    15:00
FORMULA ONE
QUALIFYING SESSION
15:30
GP2
PIT LANE OPEN
15:35
GP2
PIT LANE CLOSED
15:45*   16:50²
GP2
FIRST RACE (32 LAPS OR 60 MINS)
17:15*   17:45²
WGA SUPERCARS ME CHAMPIONSHIP
FIRST RACE (7 LAPS OR 25 MINS)
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