Daniel Ricciardo lead from start to finish yesterday to win the 76th Monaco Grand Prix. The Perth-born Australian was overjoyed with the win in front of a huge and colourful crowd and from a photographic viewpoint it was a good day to be trackside.There wasn’t a free balcony in sight. Apartments and hotel rooms aren’t cheap in the tiny principality and typically prices jump by 5 to 10 times normal rates for the grand prix. Many restaurants also jack up their prices by up to double; a special “Grand Prix” menu is a sure sign that the prices have been loaded. The internet is also attrocious during the event as the population influx severely diminishes the chance of getting service. And that ain’t cheap either.
There were celebrities in attendance like US star quarterback Tom Brady (below right).Unsure who the male on the left is but you might be able to solve that riddle?
Kris Jenner, mother of the Kardashians (left) was a guest of Lewis Hamilton’s along with Tommy Hilfiger and his wife Dee (in red). Hugh Grant was there too but I missed getting a shot of him.
Alain Prost was in good spirits pre-race responding to cheers from the crowd in the grandstands.It was great to see grid girls back at F1 after being axed at the end of last year. They wore the same outfits as last year and looked glamourous although this year they added grid guys to the mix to appease some of those who were “offended” by well presented women. The girls and guys formed a guard of honour for the drivers to walk between as they boarded the flat top truck that takes them around the track. But prior to the drivers coming out I witnessed a rather bizarre scene. The Sky Italia cameraman in the light blue shirt below wanted to squeeze between a security guy and the first grid guy. He used his considerable size to push the matter but the security guy pushed back hard. It then turned into a shouting match until the cameraman put his hand over the security guard’s mouth to shut him up.
This set security man into a rage and there was much pushing and shouting. Cameraman backed off but had another crack a minute later and was using plenty of force standing behind security man so he just smashed his head backwards into the cameraman’s lens which sent cameraman into a rage.
I thought it was going to result in fisticuffs but it stopped just short of that. The end result was no shot for Sky Italia and probably a case to answer for their pushy cameraman.
The drivers did their parade lap, retired to their sanctuaries and then returned to pit lane to go racing. Here’s Kimi Raikkonen looking super cool as he returned to his garage.The grid is super tight with a large number of people battling for space with media, teams, drivers and fast cars. Daniel Ricciardo’s helmet proved to be prophetic.And then I hightailed it to this spot to await the field on their first lap. I was warned by a couple of photographers to be aware that after the field passes, we would be showered with dust and tyre rubber kicked up by the 20 cars so I turned away after the last car and copped it on my back. Then it was off to other spots for a variety of shots.I loved the angle below with the cars heading towards a plethora of very expensive boats in the harbour. Most will tell you that this race would never get up if proposed now due to it’s short, narrow track and safety concerns but due to its history and its iconic status, it remains the jewel in the F1 racing crown.
I gave myself plenty of time to get to parc ferme but realised when I was half way back that I’d gone the wrong way. This meant I had to physically leave the track and head out onto the streets of the city, wend my way through a dense crowd and re-enter the track. I made it back in time and was there to witness a fine Australian take his 7th F1 win. Then, following his interviews in the media pen, it was up to the Red Bull Energy Station to witness the celebration which saw Dan and his crew (and even a TV presenter) in the Red Bull pool. So that’s the racing side covered. But one final story.
It was my birthday Saturday and Daniel Bois from Grand Prix Events dropped off a birthday cake to me on the boat we’re staying on. I asked one of the kitchen staff if they’d put it in the fridge so we could eat it tomorrow.
Last night while sitting on the back deck, I asked one of the hostesses for the cake. She seemed confused by the request so I asked the captain if he could arrange it.
Some time later he returned to tell me the cake was nowhere to be found. It had vanished. These things happen apparently.
Then, ten minutes later he returned to tell us they’d found the cake and although it wasn’t all of the cake, what was left would be brought out shortly.
More time followed and then the ship’s chef arrived to tell us that unfortunately there was no cake. When asked what happened, he couldn’t be 100% sure (in actual fact he couldn’t be 10% sure) but felt there probably wasn’t enough room in the ship’s fridges to store it and it was probably thrown out.
More time followed and we were surprised to see the captain return and ask if we enjoyed the cake. “What?” we replied. “Didn’t you like it?” He asked again and a very funny Brit (Tony) chimed in with, “We never had it!”
It was at this point we suggested he go and get the chef so that between the 6 of us, we might get to the bottom of where this cake might be.
Capt Clueless and Chef No Idea presented a few minutes later to explain themselves. And here was the final version of what happened to the much discussed birthday cake. “We can’t serve food that is more than 24 hours old as it is a health issue.” Chef proclaimed. This, despite the fact that we were having this bizarre discussion less than 24 hours after the cake was brought on board the vessel.
If any business ever needed Canity.com staff training, it is this one. Oh, and here is the only available photo of the disappearing cake.
More from the French Grand Prix in a few weeks time.