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2019 CHINESE GRAND PRIX PRE-RACE BLOG

Things started out dull, grey and cold here in Shanghai but by the afternoon the clouds had cleared and we had a rare touch of blue sky!  Yes, it is true, blue sky, as this picture attests. So, where to start? Let’s lead with Kimi Raikkonen…… smiling!  He was his normal dry self during a TV segment with David Croft and Rachel Brookes in the paddock, however, there were glimpses of humour and enjoyment as the Alfa Romeo driver piloted a remote control car around some cones. Carlos Sainz recorded a “true or false” segment for Dutch broadcaster Ziggo Sport with the affable Jack Plooij and Olav “Ollie” Mol.  There were many laughs and funny faces.

Late in the day, Renault had a photo opportunity with their drivers in the paddock where both Nico and Daniel displayed their special 1,00th GP helmets. Dan’s retro look features mock stone chips above the visor and he was well chuffed with the result by the extra large smile on display to the small crowd.The local security staff were well officious and well drilled as they presented on the track late in the afternoon. They take their job very seriously, standing to upright and to attention in their allotted spot for hours.

I was surprised to see this sponsorship.  A Bathing Ape, for those over 30 who don’t have kids, is a fashion brand that is obviously turning over plenty of cash as they’ve done a sizable 1,000th race sponsorship deal with F1 and today they were milking that association in the paddock.  I snapped some tight headshots of drivers including this cheeky one of Red Bull driver Pierre Gasly.  Here’s Mr Hulkenberg in golden light.And Esteban Ocon was all smiles as he navigated the ridiculously wide paddock.About 40 metres across the paddock are the hospitality suites.  These are set among lovely gardens with bridges across lakes. It’s picturesque and this is where I found Seb’s trainer Antti Kontsas chatting with Pierre’s trainer Pyry Salmela.  They  are both Finnish.  I missed Lewis while on the ground but shooting from the upper level of the stand this afternoon I spotted him and Angela Cullen heading out from their hospitality suite which required the Mercedes driver to clamber over some pallets after which he acknowledged the workers shuffling them about.  One of the first drivers to arrive this morning was Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, here looking relaxed but focused as he headed to the garage to do a TV segment.    And in closing, if we ever need to clarify the track layout, all we need do is look down, as the manhole covers that are scattered around the track, all feature the layout on them.

In closing let it be noted that getting anything happening over the internet in this place is hard work.  The internet in our media centre is horrendously slow, unless a king’s ransom is paid in which case it speeds up significantly. We can’t upload to facebook from a laptop but strangely we can if it is done from a phone and after getting a number of pics on line using my normal method of uploading to Dropbox, that avenue was shut off mid way through the day for some reason.  It appears the government is not fond of Dropbox.

That said, solutions were found and you’re now reading this.

Buy digital copies of all my images at www.prostarpics.com and see Instagram (@kymillman) for regular posts over the weekend.

 


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