After a 33-hour trip from Perth it was good to arrive in Brazil last night and it was straight to the Interlagos track today. Many of the drivers arrived in plain clothes instead of team-wear today. This is due to the dodgy nature of the area around the track. Over the past few years there have been numerous holdups and incidents involving teams and drivers, so many teams advise their personnel to not identify themselves as being involved in F1.
Pierre Gasly and his trainer Pyry wore black.Antonio Giovinazzi looked like an Italian runway model.Romain Grosjean was looking comfy in Jack and Jones gear. While Charles Leclerc was sporting a Burberry t-shirt.I found the youngest paddock-goer packed neatly in front of Kelly Piquet. Penelope Kvyat, Daniil Kvyat’s first child, was enjoying her first day of F1, and mum was her radiant self.I walked half the track with Lando Norris and his crew with light rain falling. I’d brought a Hulk action figure to the track and and as Nico Hülkenberg approached I snapped this shot. And then I gave it to the Renault driver. He studied it for a bit then posed for a pic. I shot Alex Albon coming into the paddock, and as he walked away from me, I was focused on him just in case he turned around, which he did, and I was rewarded with this lovely shot of the young Red Bull driver. I spent a little time with this quadrella of Brazilian F1 fans. For 3 of them it was their first time in the paddock and they were lapping up the experience. I was lucky to spot a snazzy looking Lewis Hamilton entering the paddock late morning.He stopped outside the Mercedes hospitality suite to shake hands and hug Ferrari’s Jock Clear. I did ask a few people how the two knew each other but no one could tell me. Perhaps you have an idea?
And how about these 7 young women? Do you think they colluded? I thought I’d missed shooting Daniel Ricciardo as he arrived, however, as he turned to go into the Renault hospitality suite I foresaw a reflection shot and was happy that it turned out, And then late in the day I spotted Max Verstappen in the paddock for the first time. And that was my last pic of the day.
There is no doubt that this track is situated in a pretty rough area of São Paulo which is the reason why all of the teams are extra vigilant about security. Some drivers when asked for a selfie at a restaurant for instance, will ask that it not be posted until after they’ve departed so as not to divulge their whereabouts. It should be remembered that Jensen Button was the victim of a near kidnapping some years ago and the Mercedes crew were held up at gunpoint last year.
Apart from that though, the people in general are warm and generous and there is much to like about the place.