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Paddock Postcard from Monte Carlo 26 May 2013

Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari at the Nazionale Piloti Football Match.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Preparations, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Tuesday, 21 May 2013 Force India team principal Vijay Mallya (left), his girlfriend and mother are joined by HSH Prince Albert of Monaco (right) and his wife Charlene, Princess of Monaco at Mallya's Monte Carlo yacht party, Monaco, May 23, 2013 (L to R): Sonia Irvine (GBR), Jessica Michibata (JPN), girlfriend of Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren, and Catherine Hyde (GBR), girlfriend of Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Caterham reserve driver, at the Amber Lounge Fashion Show.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Friday, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, 24 May 2013 The helmet of Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 23 May 2013 The Francois Cevert (FRA) tribute helmet livery worn by Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 23 May 2013 (L to R): Cameron Diaz (USA) Hollywood Actress and Leonardo di Caprio (USA) Hollywood Actor at a TAG Heuer 50 Years of the TAG Heuer Carrera celebration aboard the Super Yacht Delma.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Dougie Lampkin (GBR) Trials Bike Rider jumps over Johnny Herbert (GBR) Sky TV and Simon Lazenby (GBR) Sky TV.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 25 May 2013 Podium (L to R): Second placed Adrian Quaife-Hobbs (GBR) MP Motorsport, race winner Stefano Coletti (MON) RAPAX Team and third placed Mitch Evans (NZL) Arden. GP2 Series, Rd4, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, 23-26 May 2013.

Motorsport obviously owns the limelight this weekend in Monaco, but proceedings traditionally open with a charity football match on Tuesday night. This year the annual game - the 20th to be held - raised money for the Princess Charlene Foundation in the Stade Louis II. Ferrari team mates Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa and McLaren’s Sergio Perez were amongst the Formula One stars in action on the pitch but their team was eventually defeated 3-2 by Star Team Monaco, which featured tennis player Novak Djokovic.

Another tradition was fulfilled on Thursday night when Force India’s Vijay Mallya hosted a party on his megayacht, the Indian Empress. The 2013 theme was the Mogul splendour of old Rajasthan. English music legend Sir Cliff Richard, Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson, Formula One group CEO Bernie Ecclestone, McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh, Force India drivers Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil, former world champion Jacques Villeneuve, and HSH the Prince and Princess of Monaco - Albert and Charlene - were amongst the famous faces in attendance.

Friday evening saw the return of the Amber Lounge charity Fashion Show, which raised funds for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. McLaren’s Jenson Button, Caterham’s Charles Pic, Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez and Force India’s Adrian Sutil were among the Formula One drivers taking to the catwalk for the night. Guests enjoying the show included former F1 driver Eddie Irvine, actor Liam Cunnigham, Tamara Ecclestone and model Rachel Hunter.

Back to cockpit and many drivers have opted to use specially-designed helmets this weekend. Merecdes’ Lewis Hamilton has updated his yellow colour scheme with new graphics featuring girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger and dog Roscoe, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso - two-time winner here in Monaco - has adorned his helmet with gold and Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne has paid tribute to French racing legend Francois Cevert on the 40th anniversary of his death.

“I didn’t want to do the usual, glitzy, shiny Monaco helmet and this seemed like a nicer idea,” said the Frenchman. “For me, Cevert represented ‘La Belle Epoque’ of Formula One.”

Also sporting a new lid this weekend are Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen, whose new-look helmet has a James-Hunt inspired red design, and Force India’s Adrian Sutil, whose helmet now features a Uruguayan flag in honour of his father. The change to the German’s helmet isn’t Monaco specific, however, but will be included on the design for the rest of his career.

As ever, the Monte Carlo paddock was teeming with the rich and famous. From the movie world came Cameron Diaz, Leonardo di Caprio, Michael Douglas, Rush director Ron Howard and George Lucas. From the motorsport world came FIA President Jean Todt, drivers Alain Prost, Keke Rosberg, Jacques Laffite, Jean Alesi, Kamui Kobayashi, NBC’s David Hobbs (whose last visit was back in 1963 as team mate to Formula Junior race winner Richard Attwood), Gerhard Berger, Francois Mazet, Patrick Tambay, Maria Teresa di Filipis, Howden Ganley, Tim Schenken, Giacomo Agostini, Andrea de Cesaris, Jean-Louis Schlesser, Bradley Smith, and VW WRC contender Sebastien Ogier.

Other renowned racing faces included former Williams’ technical director Patrick Head and his wife Monica, former BRM team manager Tim Parnell, former McLaren stalwart Jo Ramirez, VW motorsport boss Jost Capito, former IOC and FOM consultant Michael Payne, artist extraordinaire Michael Turner, former Renault engine guru Bernard Dudot, and current Renault bosses Carlos Ghosn and Carlos Tavares. Tony Fernandes and Riad Asmat also made welcome appearances at Caterham. Former Marlboro sponsorship guru John Hogan celebrated his 70th birthday.

Down at the ever-effervescent Red Bull Energy Station there was action aplenty. Freerunner Ryan Doyle, twice a winner of the Red Bull Art of Motion freerunning competition, entertained guests on Saturday afternoon with antics which included leaping off a balcony, sliding down a speaker tower and vaulting the swimming pool. He was joined in his stunts by Flatland BMX triple world champion Matthias Dandois and trials champion Dougie Lampkin.

On track, the GP2 races were a dream for local boy and series leader Stefano Coletti, who was sixth for Rapax in the first and won the second. Mitch Evans also had a good weekend for Arden International with third behind winner Sam Bird of Russian Time and Trident’s Kevin Ceccon in race one and third again behind Coletti and MP Motorsport’s Adrian Quaife-Hobbs in race two on Saturday afternoon.

Carlin’s Felipe Nasr was fourth in both, while ART’s James Calado took a brace of fifths. It wasn’t such a great weekend for Arden’s Johnny Cecotto Jnr, who triggered a race-stopping multi-car shunt at Ste Devote in race one, and was subsequently banned from race two.

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