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2019 ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX PRE-RACE BLOG

My day started out following Lando Norris on his track walk on what was a sensational day in the UAE.
A while later I fluked finding Lewis heading out of the paddock.  The Mercedes driver was about to get into a van to go to an autograph session, when Leila McKay from Melbourne, Australia grabbed his attention.  The youngster is well known in F1 circles having been in the paddock in the past and has posed for pics with many drivers.   Lewis spent a minute or two in conversation with her while her proud parents Lisa and David watched on.   In the pit lane, Red Bull had gathered their entire team for a large shoot with the drivers out front.  Shooting at a low f/stop allowed me to separate Alex Albon from the team behind him. As you can see, it takes a lot of people to run two cars in this comp and remember there are more than this back at the team’s headquarters in the UK.  Pierre Gasly was grabbed by Sky TV when he entered the paddock this morning and talked at length about his maiden podium finish last race.  He did not really get a chance to celebrate his 2nd place finish after the Sao Paulo race, but with his brother joining him at this race and it being the last one of the year, it’s fair to say the chances of him letting his (freshly cut) hair down on Sunday night will be very high.

The drivers adhere to a strict diet over race weekends and someone like George Russell would have his food intake laid out on a schedule. I found him at “eat a banana” o’clock.
And he was happy to confirm it was a good banana.   Nico Hülkenberg entered the paddock for the final time for what looks like at least a year and was in good spirits.  His social media manager Raoul Spanger (directly behind him in the pic below) told me that while Nico would have liked to be driving again in 2020,  “he is not sad about leaving”.  His many followers will be though. And have a look at his Gucci shoes.  Here’s Christian Horner telling a fishing tale.I got an interesting look from Fred Vasseur after the sun had gone down.  He was chatting with one of the most amiable and likeable guys in the paddock, Esteban Guttierez. And just before I left, Charles Leclerc was opening his secret Santa present from another driver.
He picked the gift-giver immediately.  Can you?But the thing that got my attention was the watch on Charles’ wrist.  It’s a Hublot with mega-bling.  It wouldn’t look out of place on Lewis’ wrist. And with that I called it a day.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting a new driver profile pic on my YouTube channel so make sure you’re subscribed.


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