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Mallya yacht party the toast of Monaco 24 May 2013

Musician Sir Cliff Richard (left) with Force India team principal Vijay Mallya at Mallya's Monte Carlo yacht party, Monaco, May 23, 2013 Force India driver Adrian Sutil (left) with team principal Vijay Mallya at Mallya's Monte Carlo yacht party, Monaco, May 23, 2013 Former F1 driver Allan McNish with his wife Kelly at Force India team principal Vijay Mallya's Monte Carlo yacht party, Monaco, May 23, 2013 Force India driver Paul di Resta (left) with musician Sir Cliff Richard at Force India team principal Vijay Mallya's Monte Carlo yacht party, Monaco, May 23, 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

If you hold a party at the start of the Monaco Grand Prix weekend it had better be good. Force India’s Vijay Mallya knows that - he’s been doing it for years and every time it gets better. Thursday evening’s event was again high on the ‘wow’ factor, as a full moon over Monte Carlo greeted the great and the good as they were welcomed aboard Mallya’s megayacht, the Indian Empress.

The 2013 theme was the Mogul splendour of old Rajasthan. And splendour it was, as Mumbai’s hottest fashion designer, Rocky S, brought a touch of India’s finest couture to proceedings, whilst music was provided by renowned DJs Teddy O and Chico, flown in direct from India for the occasion.

First of the celebrities to enjoy Mallya’s hospitality was English music legend Sir Cliff Richard. Low key but high spirited, the Indian-born singer commented: “I was told that if you are looking for a good night out in Monaco you have to join the ‘King of Good Times’ - and here I am and enjoying every second!”

Television’s Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson - a regular visitor to the Monaco paddock - was another familiar face, while Formula One group CEO Bernie Ecclestone also dropped in for a flying visit. “We always come by when Vijay plays host in Monaco,” he said, “but briefly - I need my beauty sleep!”

Other movers and shakers from the F1 paddock seemed less concerned about sleep and many were to be seen chit-chatting into the small hours of Friday morning. McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh was absorbed in conversation with Force India’s Bob Fernley, while Pirelli’s Paul Hembery was for once able to escape talk of tyres. Meanwhile Force India drivers Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil exchanged track experiences with former world champion Jacques Villeneuve.

Amid the festivities, few of the 600-plus guests initially noticed when five escorted cars stopped in front of the yacht and HSH the Prince and Princess of Monaco - Albert and Charlene - sneaked aboard. Prior visitors to the Indian Empress, they know what to expect on a craft whose owner comes from India - the finest hot, spicy curry, of course. And that’s exactly what they asked for.

As ever, the party was deemed a huge hit by those in attendance. Now Mallya will be hoping his cars can make an equally positive impression on Sunday’s Monaco race results.

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