Celebrity spotting at the German Grand Prix 31 Jul 2006
It was probably one of the hottest races so far this year with temperatures climbing towards the 35 degree mark, so one might have expected the well-known and famous to be elsewhere. But on the contrary - VIPs kept flocking into the paddock at the German Grand Prix. Here is what just a few of them had to say.
Hollywood actor Joseph Fiennes is about to star as Arthur Roy Brown, the nemesis of Manfred von Richthofen, aka WW1 fighter pilot the Red Baron, in the film of the same name. In town attending the Hugo Boss-McLaren 25th anniversary bash, he was keen to get a closer look at some machines that fly a little bit closer to the ground: Unfortunately my time was limited, but from what I saw during my brief stay - the paddock with these amazing motorhomes, the professionalism of the people involved, the emotion that is attached with it, and, yes, the cars - it convinced me to come again and spend much more time.
Playing the grid girl for McLarens Kimi Raikkonen was a fascinating experience for Julia Stegner, one of Germanys top models: You see those guys get dressed with their overalls - in 38 degrees. It so much reminded me of my own job - wearing winter outfits at a photo shoot in midsummer and pretending that it is the most normal thing to do because it is part of the job. I have the highest respect for these guys being under enormous physical stress and yet acting 110 percent professional.
A few years back, dancing man Leo Sayer was a frequent visitor to the German paddock and he was back at Hockenheim for 2006: I have a long friendship with Bernie (Ecclestone), so when the circumstances allowed me to come to the German GP I grabbed the opportunity with both hands. To refresh all those great memories - gee, it felt good. I promised myself not to let years go by again before I am back.
Three-time Olympic silver medallist, German biathlete Martina Glagow was a Formula One first timer at Hockenheim and was overwhelmed by the experience: The sharpness of the people; the highest concentration; no unnecessary movements that could spoil things - individuals become a smooth operating unit here. I am so thankful to have been given the chance to be here. I will take the experience with me as a motivation boost.
Three-time world champion Nelson Piquet has his son racing in GP2 this season. He does not attend every race, but the Hockenheim round was too good to miss: I still love the smell, this mixture of high tech, rubber, gasoline, ambition and sweat. I admire what Bernie (Ecclestone) has made of this sport and I am thankful that it became so safe. Its still the best sports show on earth.