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Paddock Postcard from Malaysia 24 Mar 2013

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 and Nicole Scherzinger (USA).
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 24 March 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Preparations, Sepang, Malaysia, Thursday, 21 March 2013 Giedo van der Garde (NDL) Caterham CT03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday, 23 March 2013 Heikki Kovalainen (FIN).
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday, 23 March 2013 Feature race podium and results: 1st Fabio Leimer (SUI) Racing Engineering, centre. 2nd James Calado (GBR) ART Grand Prix, left. 3rd Stefano Coletti (MON) RAPAX Team, right. GP2 Series, Rd1, Sepang, Malaysia, 21-24 March 2013. GP2 Series, Rd1, Sepang, Malaysia, 21-24 March 2013. Sunset.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Preparations, Sepang, Malaysia, Thursday, 21 March 2013

The quick turnaround between last weekend’s Australian round and this weekend’s foray in Malaysia has meant less time for the usual round of pre-race activities. There have been some of note, however, not least for Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who enjoyed his first visit to the top of the famous Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur.

On Thursday Ferrari’s Felipe Massa hosted a Shell V-Power ‘Mixology Masterclass’ for 30 guests. Massa turned lab scientist for the event alongside Ian Albiston, Shell’s Formula One trackside and logistics manager and scientist Daniel Hope, creating cocktails and talking fuel.

“At Shell, we always aim to provide our customers memorable experiences - be it through our fuels or marketing activities,” said Christine Liew, Head of retail marketing for Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Brunei. “Beyond offering high quality fuels, we also feel that it’s high time our customers see it for themselves; to truly discover the importance of Shell V-Power the performance fuel and what it can do for our car engines.”

On Thursday evening a number of stars, including many of the drivers, attended a glittering charity gala dinner at the Majestic Ballroom in the Majestic Hotel in Kuala Lumpur to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Malaysian Grand Prix and to support the National Heart Institute Foundation (IJN).

The entertainment featured Kenny ‘Babyface’ Edmonds, and the event’s theme was 'An Evening on the Eastern & Oriental Express’. Celebrities included actors Josh Hartnett, Teri Hatcher and Michelle Yeoh, Earth, Wind and Fire’s Ralph Johnson and supermodel and businesswoman Kimora Lee Simmons.

Back in the pit lane, as befits his team’s home race, Caterham’s Giedo van der Garde wore a special helmet, featuring a tiger design. Van der Garde and team mate Charles Pic also attended a Malaysian basketball game alongside team owner Tony Fernandes.

And on track, Saturday’s GP2 season opener saw Racing Engineering’s Fabio Leimer finally take his maiden victory, after race-long pressure from poleman Stefano Coletti of Rapax and runner-up James Calado of ART GP. Leimer made a great start to challenge Coletti as Calado pushed past Carlin’s Felipe Nasr before running wide and losing a place to the rising Mitch Evans of Arden International.

Russian Time’s Sam Bird and Carlin’s Jolyon Palmer had turns leading as Coletti, Leimer and Calado pitted, and Bird was later delayed by a drive-through penalty for ignoring a yellow flag. As Coletti began to suffer tyre degradation, Leimer dived down the inside into Turn 1 with four laps remaining. Calado soon followed suit, leaving Coletti to complete the podium.

Sunday’s sprint race brought a maiden win for Coletti, who had to hold off a late challenge from a charging Nasr, while GP3 champion Evans scored a podium at his first GP2 weekend after polesitter Stephane Richelmi of DAMS gifted him the place after a late error.

For more pictures, check out our Paddock Postcard gallery.

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