Abu Dhabi F1: And they're off! Pit lane walk marks the start of the big event

Thousands stream into Yas Marina for the traditional curtain raiser

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Thousands of Grand Prix enthusiasts piled into Yas Marina Circuit on Thursday for the pit lane walk, a tradition that starts the Abu Dhabi F1 race weekend for those here for the whole event.

It's a chance for the early arrivals to get up close and personal with the Formula 1 teams and see the cars in the mid-stages of construction, under the watchful eyes of a heavy security presence.
The crowds, many of whom had been through the gates at 10am sharp, took the opportunity to shoot stills and record live footage, with the occasional technician being encouraged to pop up to the barrier for selfies, armed with whatever tool they were using at the time.

Some of the crews openly carried on their work in full view of the passing crowds, but certain teams, Ferrari included, kept their branded boards up, giving their technicians the chance to operate in relative seclusion.
Punters hoping to get a glimpse of any of the drivers were out of luck though as the stars with their faces emblazoned above the pit slots were keeping out of sight.
The walk was followed by what's known in F1 circles and 'initial scrutineering', which is a set of inspections carried out by the FIA geared towards ensuring each team is conforming to technical regulations.
This year, the walk featured groups of school pupils from around the world, who were here for the F1 In Schools initiative, now in its 15th year. Just prior to everyone entering the pit lane, youngsters and teachers gathered on the track, chanting and brandishing an array of flags to celebrate the culmination of the competition.
F1 in Schools involves groups of students designing and manufacturing miniature cars using the official F1 model block.