Paddock postcard - welcome back GP2 15 Apr 2007
Bahrain always gets into party mood for the Grand Prix, and despite a brief rain shower on Thursday night, things got into full swing and the GP2 circus was welcomed back by the Formula One fraternity.
On Saturday afternoon Italys Luca Filippi turned pole position into his first series victory, in his Super Nova International machine, after a great start kept him ahead of iSport duo Timo Glock and Andi Zuber. Behind them, debutant Bruno Senna took fourth, Lucas di Grassi fifth and rookie Adrian Zaugg sixth.
There were several incidents, particularly at the start. One saw front row starter Xandi Negrao collide with Glock, damaging the latters front suspension. Kazuki Nakajima was also delayed, but set the fastest lap for Dams, but after qualifying well, in 10th place, Britains Mike Conway didnt get beyond the first corner. There is a second race on Sunday morning.
At midday two lucky fans who have entered a BIC Fan TV/Vodafone McLaren Mercedes ticket draw will discover that they will get paddock access to meet Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, and Bahrain International Circuit CEO Martin Whitaker reports: "There is a remarkable buzz about this year's Grand Prix. Tickets sales are up by 17 percent and we are looking forward to the most successful Bahrain Grand Prix on record. We are anticipating the biggest-ever crowd."
Circuit designer Hermann Tilke will be relieved just to be present, after languishing in a police cell for an hour on Thursday evening. The German was pulled over for speeding.
Making an appearance in the paddock were the Crash Test Dummies (no, not the Canadian band), as part of an FIA Institute/UN road safety campaign launched here this weekend. Also seen were Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, international jazz star Jamie Cullum and fellow musician Jools Holland.