It was so looking like Charles Leclerc would score his maiden win and Ferrari would take the top two spots but once again, Lewis Hamilton destroyed that scenario with a sparkling drive. But my highlight of the weekend involved no F1 personalities, it was the arrival of David Beckham in the Ferrari garage. I had no idea the Brit was going to be there but after spotting 6 or 7 photographers in front of the garage I headed over and heard someone say, “Here’s David now.”. When I turned around I was floored! I’m a big David fan and it was great to observe, shoot and be in his presence for 10 or so minutes. He spent time with past F1 great Gerhard Berger. The lovely Federica Masolin snuck in for a quick interview and had a broad grin on her face being so close to him. Nigel Hope, the popular Red Bull mechanic grabbed me at one stage and asked, “can you grab a pic of me with him?”.Even seasoned F1 shooters like Mark Sutton, who was shooting his 501st F1 race, snared a selfie with the English football legend.
Catherine Zeta Jones was also a grid guest. The grid was busy, real busy and Charles Leclerc, who normally sits on the grass next to his car prior to the start, was mobbed by a ring of photographers and cameramen all keen to snap the youngster “chilling out”.When the race started, I was on the inside of turn 1 about 100m before the first corner and it was electric being so close to the field as they roared past. I shot at a few spots during the race, spent a little bit of it back in the media centre posting images and then queued for parc ferme where I got some pleasing shots of both Lewis and Seb congratulating and consoling Charles after he came 3rd. Then I raced to the airport to catch my flight home where I was sat near Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri (who loved this shot I took of him and Michael Schumacher’s wife Corrina) and Ross Brawn. And did I mention David Beckham was at the track?While there are many hundreds of people on the grid, there are few in the pit lane so I decided to wait for the drivers who’d snuck out for a toilet stop to return, allowing me to shoot with reasonably clean backgrounds as in these cases. Lewis was sporting a cornrow braided hairstyle this race which necessitates the inside of his helmet being altered slightly to accommodate the extra height as Angela Cullen confirmed.Daniel Ricciardo, a big Los Angeles fan who last year purchased a fairly nice pad in Beverly Hills, was wearing his Gucci LA backpack as he made his way into the Bahrain paddock. It was one of the most popular Bahrain shots on my Instagram feed.As was this shot of Nigel Hope from Red Bull spending some time with old teammate Seb Vettel. And hey, that David Beckham sure is a snappy dresser huh?I was lucky to be able to position the large Daniel Ricciardo mural on the Renault garage behind him for this shot as he exited the garage after one of the practice sessions. Mark Arnall is Kimi Raikkonen’s trainer and right hand man and when he spotted Ferrari mechanic Ciga, the chap Kimi ran over after a pit stop at this race last year and broke his leg, there was time for a warm hug.The Bahrain paddock by night is unequalled. The beautiful lights and mild temperatures combine to make it a marvelous place to photograph. That Nico Hulkenberg is quite a character! I spotted him approaching the stairs up to the Renault hospitality suite so I positioned myself low to get a wide angled shot I had wanted. As he approached, I moved my camera up to my eye and waited and waited for him to come into view. Taking my eye away from the camera I realised he’d stopped a few metres short of the stairs and once he saw me not looking, he sprinted up the stairs with a wry a grin on his dial. It was all in good spirits and he got me on that occasion. And in closing, here are some of my favourite images from the Bahrain GP, any and all of which you can own by heading to www.prostarpics.com and searching under individual race days or drivers’ names. Next race, Shanghai. Oh, and here’s one more shot of David Beckham!