Paddock Postcard from Shanghai 19 Oct 2008
Jean Todts fiancee, the actress Michelle Yeoh, is a familiar face in the Formula One paddock, but her latest visit was enlightened further when she brought along action film star and martial arts guru Jet Li, who showed an avid interest in all things F1. The pair was last seen on screen together in The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor earlier this year.
Li is keen to link Formula One with his One Foundation, which he set up with the Chinese Red Cross to raise funding for disaster relief.
Also visiting the Chinese Grand Prix was Canadian former Formula Atlantic champion and BRM Grand Prix driver Bill Brack, who enjoyed a warn welcome at Renault.
On Saturday Spaniard Roldan Rodriguez claimed his first GP2 win in the first round of the Asia Series in a race which featured two safety-car periods. Dams driver (and Toyotas Formula One reserve) Kamui Kobayashi was set to win, but slid off the road as the second period ended and had to be content with second place as the Piquet GP driver swept by.
Former F1 driver Sakon Yamamoto took his first GP2 podium for ART Grand Prix after passing Xavier Villas Super Nova car on the first lap, but perhaps the most impressive performance came from rookie Earl Bamber. Fresh from a brace of podium finishes on his recent A1GP debut in Holland, the 18 year-old New Zealander qualified his My Qi-Meritus.Mahara car ninth, pushed Barwa Internationals Vitaly Petrov hard initially, and finished a strong sixth behind the Russian and well ahead of fellow rookie Chris Van der Drift of Trident Racing.
In the Formula BMW Pacific race the win went to Meritus driver Simon Moss, with Gabby Chaves second and Ross Jamison, also of Meritus, third. That podium was enough to make Welsh-born Hong Kong resident Jamison champion. Britains Ollie Millroy led the race for Motaworld at one stage, but eventually finished a fighting fourth.