Paddock Postcard from Istanbul 27 Aug 2006
The Turkish race weekend got off to a swinging start on Friday, with hip hop singer Missy Elliot the big hit of the Petrol Ofisi Grand Prix Party at the up-market waterside Reina club, together with actresses Estella Warren (star of the Sylvester Stallone racing movie Driven) and Carmen Electra. Click here for more pictures.
Once again, all of the drivers present were expressing their enthusiasm for the Istanbul Park track, which Bernie Ecclestone once described as a circuit at last that sorts the men from the boys. Turn 8 is very demanding and therefore very popular, but Michael Schumacher also said: There are a lot of corners where you cant see the apex until you are on it, and Turns 3, 4 and 5 as well are really technical. Last year we didnt have a car that allowed us to enjoy ourselves. When you cannot place the car without it losing grip and sliding round it is no fun, but this year we have a car that goes where you point it, so that makes driving here very satisfactory.
Saturday was certainly a satisfactory day for Formula One hopeful Nelson Piquet, who took pole position and victory over Lewis Hamilton in the GP2 race, to move to within six points of the Englishman with only three rounds left. Hamiltons ART team-mate Alexandre Premat was third from Timo Glock, Luca di Grassi, Adam Carroll, Andreas Zuber and Piquets team-mate Xandi Negrao. They will start Sundays race in reverse order, with Negrao on pole.