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Friday postcard from Monte Carlo 30 May 2003

(L to R): Helena Christensen (DEN) wears a Steinmetz diamond at a Jaguar dinner at the Hotel de Paris with Mark Webber (AUS) Jaguar.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, 29 May 2003

Traditionally Friday is a day of 'rest' in Monte Carlo, nestling between the unusual Thursday of practice and qualifying, and the habitual similar sessions on Saturday.

Any team mechanic or engineer, however, will tell you that the word rest is a misnomer, as the cars are endlessly prepared and re-prepared.

Not surprisingly, the paddock is pretty busy today, and Bernie Ecclestone was on hand to greet Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo when he arrived.

Yesterday there was a smattering of luminaries too, as Naomi Campbell was seen heading to Renault as Flavio Briatore's guest. Fellow supermodel Helena Christensen joined actor Wesley Snipes, Mark Webber and Antonio Pizzonia around the James Bond Jaguar XKR in Casino Square for the launch of the Steinmetz Pink, a 59.60 carat internally flawless diamond. To celebrate, Jaguar painted the famous leaping cats on its cars' engine covers pink.

Veteran racers Sir Jackie Stewart, Niki Lauda and Patrick Tambay have been rubbing shoulders with former team owner John Coombs, and footballers Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid) and James Beattie (Southampton), together with rugby's Ryan O'Driscoll, are expected on race day.

On the glamour front, Ivana Trump is staying on her appropriately named yacht, Ivana, and Heidi Klum will be a visitor on Sunday.

There has been some on-track action. Sweden's Bjorn Wirdheim annexed pole position for tomorrow's F3000 race from Austrian winner Ricardo Sperafico and Giorgio Pantano, though the sensation of the session was Red Bull rookie Tonio Liuzzi, the former world karting champion, who was very little slower and only lost his chance to improve through heavy traffic and another driver's last-minute accident.