Paddock Postcard from Melbourne 28 Mar 2010
It may not have opened the season this year but Melbournes Albert Park was en fete yet again for this weekends Australian Grand Prix.
Friday evening saw world champion Jenson Button star in the annual Grand Prix Ball, while the paddock teemed with stars from racing and other walks of life, displays of historic racing and road cars.
It all helped the event maintain its reputation as one of the best in the world with a card of support races calculated to keep the huge crowd entertained throughout.
From the movie world John Travolta joined Mark Webber after qualifying to offer his congratulations, while actor Stephen Tompkinson was a visitor, as were Australian rockers Powderfinger and singer Gabriella Cilmi. Famous for her 2008 hit Sweet About Me, she sang 'Advance Australia Fair' to kick off Sundays proceedings.
From the sports world came world champions Sir Jackie Stewart, Niki Lauda and Mick Doohan, Athens Olympic gold swimmer Giaan Rooney, now a television presenter, Steve Ovett and swimmer Ian Thorpedo Thorp.
Also present were former Formula Two and Le Mans racer Kenny Acheson, Jack Brabhams world championship-winning designer and partner Ron Tauranac, and 1983 Americas Cup-winning yachtsman John Bertrand.
Miss Poland was in attendance, and former team owner Ted Toleman was on hand to offer support to Bruno Senna, whose uncle, Ayrton, drove for Toleman in his early F1 days.
Starring amid a plethora of mouth-watering cars was an Alfa Romeo Tipo B and an Alfetta 159, sundry Ferraris and Maseratis, an ex-Jean-Pierre Beltoise BRM P201 and an ex-Jacky Ickx Brabham BT26A.