After a triumphant but draining Spanish Grand Prix and with the the next race looming large, this might have been a good weekend to take the foot off the gas – but that isn’t the way we roll at Red Bull Racing. While the race bays are full of RB12s being prepared for Daniel and Max, our Live Demo team were away this weekend, performing in front of 20,000 fans in Lebanon.
The best thing today was how much everyone really got carried away by the show.
Against the backdrop of the Beirut waterfront, Carlos Sainz cheerfully wrung the neck of the double championship-winning RB7, performing a dazzling array of speed runs, burnout and donuts, while very smooth asphalt allowed him to demonstrate the sort of four-wheel drifting F1 hasn't seen since the 1960s. The low grip could have been a bit of a problem but Carlos has very safe hands.
"The best thing today was how much everyone really got carried away by the show," said a pumped-up Carlos afterwards. "From the beginning of the first run 'til the very end of the last, the spectators were really, really engaged: with the show, with the noise. I think we nearly had a track invasion at the end there, everyone was so excited! It's great to be in the middle of that."
Carlos did three runs in total, starting at 4pm, by which point the temperatures had dropped to 30°C. He was supported by an impressive array of entertainment. Musical accompaniment was provided by Ragheb Alama and Maya Diab while Red Bull athletes, includes rally driver Abdo 'Dado' Feghali doing some frankly ridiculous drifting, kept the party going all afternoon. The show ended with BASE jumpers descending from the top of the Four Seasons hotel to hand Carlos a Lebanese flag for his hero lap on board an Aston Martin Vanquish.
Lebanon marks the end of an extended Middle Eastern tour for the Live demo team that has seen them run in Muscat, along the shore of the Dead Sea, at the splendid Roman hippodrome in Jerash, in Wadi Rum and amid the magnificent ruins of Petra. Today the team, wonderfully supported by local organisers, once again took Formula One to a new audience that otherwise simply wouldn't have the opportunity to see and hear these cars up close. And now the RB7 is back in its shipping container and on the way home to the race bays in Milton Keynes, and our attention turns to a place and an audience rather more accustomed to Formula One. We're off to Monaco.