Paddock Postcard from Monte Carlo 16 May 2010
Monaco is always a hotbed on the social side and 2010 was no exception after luminaries such as Sir Jackie and Lady Helen Stewart, and Nigel and Rosanne Mansell (supporting son Greg who was racing in World Series by Renault) attended a Mumm/Total champagne reception at lHermitage on Thursday to celebrate the 60th birthday of the FIA Formula One World Championship.
That was followed by Vijay Mallyas now traditional pre-Monaco party onboard his super yacht The Indian Empress, which attracted a plethora of VIP guests, including former Renault team boss Flavio Briatore and FOM CEO Bernie Ecclestone, who commented: I have never missed out on any of Vijays Monaco events. It's always a great evening and a relaxed get together of Formula One - thanks to Vijay.
Earlier in the week, the HRT team spent Wednesday in the company of the 131-strong Monaco Fire Brigade as part of their fitness training for the Monte Carlo race. Drivers Karun Chandhok, Bruno Senna, and testers Christian Klien and Sakon Yamamoto met with Monaco fire brigade commandant Varo and his men, climbing long ladders, learning the mechanics of fire trucks, and dealing with fire and smoke fighting.
McLaren team mates Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton brought some Monaco glitz to their cars with individually crafted Steinmetz diamond crests on their steering wheels. The crests celebrate the respective world championship successes of Button in 2009 and Hamilton in 2008. Both drivers also showed off special helmets featuring similar Steinmetz crests.
Other famous sporting faces in the Monaco paddock included Keke Rosberg, Rene Arnoux, Jean Todt, Flavio Briatore, Stephane Sarrazin, Sebastien Loeb, Alex Wurz, Pedro Lamy, Tom Walkinshaw, Randy de Puniet, Boris Becker and Manchester City and Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given.
Showbiz visitors included Jennifer Lopez, Mick Jagger, Paris Hilton, Pharrell Williams, Michael Douglas, Liz Hurley and David Furnish, many of who attended Friday evenings Amber Lounge Fashion Show to raise money for the Elton John Aids Foundation. Lotuss Heikki Kovalainen was among the biggest bidders in the charity auction, while Lewis Hamilton, Adrian Sutil, Jaime Alguersuari, Tonio Liuzzi and Nico Rosberg were among the F1 drivers-turned-models for the night. Elsewhere Virgin had a rather apt guest for Monaco, World of Poker winner Chris Ferguson.
On the track, the wins in GP2 went to Sergio Perez for Barwa Addax on Friday and Jerome dAmbrosio for DAMS on Saturday. The Mexican now leads the championship from Pastor Maldonado and Dany Clos.