80,000 fans celebrate as Qatar delivers riveting three day F1 race weekend
DOHA, Qatar - Fans in Qatar and around the world celebrated Lewis Hamilton’s dominating performance at the FORMULA 1 OOREDOO QATAR GRAND PRIX 2021 that saw new attendance records over the weekend.
A total of 80,000 fans attended the three days of racing held at the iconic Losail Circuit Sports Club (LCSC) that welcomed the F1 family for the very first time.
The Amir HH Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani graced the race weekend twice to watch the F1 drivers in action. Prime Minister H E Sheikh Khalid Bin Khalifa Bin Abdul Aziz Al Thani also watched the proceedings along with FIA President Jean Todt and FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
Global football star David Beckham was at the venue on the final day while French World Cup star Marcel Desailly, Danish soccer star Peter Schmeichel, former Australian player Tim Cahill and Italy’s Marco Materazzi were also among the attendees at the three-day event. Qatar’s track and field champion Mutaz Barshim waved the chequered flag on Sunday.
Hamilton powered his Mercedes to yet another Grand Prix win on Sunday as noisy fans at LCSC witnessed a historic chequered flag for the British F1 star.
Hamilton, who started the race from pole position, on Sunday outpaced archrival Max Verstappen of Red Bull to take his 102nd career win that was celebrated wildly by a capacity crowd at LCSC. Former world champion Fernando Alonso also made it to the first ever podium in Qatar with a third-place finish.
Just seven weeks after being confirmed as hosts of the 20th round of the World Championships, the organisers put together a memorable show that was a hit with the ticket holders and the drivers.
Seven-time world champion Hamilton said: “It is my first time racing here. So good to see so many fans. It is an amazingly fast track. It is fun to drive here. This is our first time in Qatar so thank you to all the fans who have come here.” Verstappen said: “It’s been a lot of fun to drive to be honest. I think it's a really cool track.”
QMMF President Abdulrahman Al Mannai lauded the efforts of the stakeholders and organisers who put together such a successful race weekend at LCSC.
“Since signing our agreement with F1 in late September, all involved have worked tirelessly to deliver this spectacular event. I want to thank everyone involved, they can feel very proud of their achievement,” Al Mannai said on Monday.
“My congratulations to Lewis Hamilton. We saw 80,000 fans enjoy the pinnacle of motorsport for the first time in Qatar. The event was the first in our 11-race agreement with Formula 1 and it is a magnificent curtain-raiser for the races and excitement to follow,” he said.
“I would like to thank all our fans who came to celebrate with us this week. It was a wonderful sight to see the Grandstands full to capacity,” he concluded.
Away from the track, the visiting fans were entertained in the 3 Fan Zones set up alongside the grandstands of the 5.38kms circuit. Live music and popular DJs added to the excitement across the venue on all three days of the event. The organisers also wowed fans with air shows throughout the weekend.
F1 merchandising outlets at LCSC were one of the busiest spots for F1 fans. The food courts – offering a wide variety of cuisines – remained packed. The “Driver’s Photo” and “Winner’s Podium” along with the areas dedicated to F1 simulators were also popular with ticket holders during the race weekend.
After the grand success of the first ever Grand Prix, Qatar will welcome F1 back in 2023 to resume its 11-race agreement that was signed last September.