Paddock Postcard from Melbourne 16 Mar 2008
There is never any doubt that something is happening in Melbourne when the Grand Prix is in town. The place rocks, quite literally. Legendary rockers KISS came in to play a gig at the race, and also to appear on stage when veteran singer Leo Sayer electrified guests at the annual Grand Prix Ball on Friday.
Elsewhere, Toyota drivers Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock were busy. The Monaco Grand Prix winner and ex-kart World Champion got together with three-time Australian rally champion Neal Bates to try the Australian Grand Prixs latest attraction - the Albert Park Go Kart circuit. The German later tried a rally car when he climbed aboard the double-championship winning TRD Rally Teams S2000 Corolla, with which reigning ARC champion Simon Evans seeks a third consecutive title in 2008.
Lewis Hamilton took his first victory of the weekend when he won the Vodafone-sponsored kayak race against opposition that included local sporting stars Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup from the V8 Supercar series and Luke Power and Adam Simpson from the Australian Football League. Kovalainen was less lucky, losing his way and finishing well down after navigational errors.
The telecommunications company also backed the new Fiat 500 celebrity race, which included stars such as surfing champions Tom Carroll & Stephanie Gilmore; ALF greats Nathan Buckley & Luke Darcy; rugby legends Robbie Kearns & Ben Elias; and tennis stars Nicole Pratt & Mark Philippoussis. They also participated in a Vodafone Pit Stop Challenge.
On a more philanthropic note, Honda assisted the Lighthouse Foundation as part of their Earthdreams campaign by providing hundreds of young people in Victoria with the opportunity to gain access to information, education and skills to enable them to be self-sufficient. Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello presented the Foundation with $100,000 at its headquarters in Richmond.