After Brendon Hartley’s big crash in FP3 yesterday, his mechanics (below) worked overtime to get the car back together enabling him to finish 12th in the big race.Let me start the blog though, by running through the events of the day beginning in the paddock this morning where Thomas, the young Kimi fan who last year was in tears after Raikkonen crashed out at the Spanish GP, was back as a guest of Ferrari. Here he is with Finland’s finest TV reporter Mervi Kallio. The paddock today was as busy as I’ve seen it in my short 25-race career and there was a bevy of attractive well dressed women turning heads. Spanish lawyer, politician and leader of Citizens in Catalonia, Ines Arrimadas Garcia, herself a glamour, was in the paddock. As you have no doubt read, there is some drama in this region with Catalonian’s rising up against the government and Ines is one of the movers and shakers in that movement.After a feed of typical Italian fare at the Ferrari media suite for lunch it was out onto the track for the drivers’ parade. Lewis Hamilton was all smiles wearing high top shoes.Local hero Fernando Alonso was playing it cool. And for the first time I snapped both Ferrari drivers having a laugh. A short time later I was back on the track as the cars took their place on the grid. Here Lewis alights from his Merc using a custom made step ladder.Seb’s crew pushed him down to his starting box on row two. Carlos Sainz, a crowd favourite, was no doubt excited about the day as his crew contemplated getting him through the throng of people on the grid.The drivers then presented at the start line while the national anthem is played. Standing directly behind the drivers means we can’t get a front-on shot however I was happy to get a number of shots of Lewis’ latest corn rows and ponytail hairstyle.This rear 3/4 shot of Seb with the Spanish flag above him also appealed to me. I had 10 minutes to get from the grid to the second corner. I made it with 3 minutes to spare. The field does a warm up lap and then re-forms on the grid before racing off on the first of 66 laps. Two corners later, Romain Grosjean spun and took out Pierre Gasly and Nico Hulkenberg. Normally I would move about the track a bit during a race but I decided to confine myself to just corners 1,2,4 and 5 as they are all close. I witnessed a few overtakes but nothing spectacular happened in front of me. After 66 laps, Lewis Hamilton was first past the post and raced over to his team mates to celebrate the result. He picked up the bigger of the 3 trophies on offer with Valtteri Bottas coming second and Max Verstappen third. Lewis was engaging and enthusiastic at the press conference and surprisingly humble especially when asked about breaking a Michael Schumacher record. After exiting the press conference I went down to the paddock and found Sergio Perez in his racesuit casually strolling back to the Force India motorhome AND he was in nice light. And one of my final shots for the day was the one below of the two Spanish drivers (Alonso and Sainz) honouring the flag and pleasing the crowd. I now have 3 flights over a 25 hour period to get back to Perth before heading to Monaco next week for the best race of the year. From me, it’s adios amigos.
IMAGES LIVE FROM THE TRACK
From Thursday to Sunday, images uploaded minutes after being taken.