Day one of the Hungarian GP and we were spoiled with clear skies and a warm 30 degrees of heat. Normally half or more of the drivers walk the track on a Thursday, but today I only counted 3 walking it before lunch. Sebastian Vettel was out there, looking at me with the camera almost on the ground shooting blind, i.e. without looking through the viewfinder.
The other Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc was not far away from his teammate and after last week’s off at Hockenheim, he was paying close attention to the kerbs at the Hungaroring track. The third driver I saw was Lando Norris, the teenage Brit who loves milk. In between drivers coming past me on their track walks, I found Johnny Herbert having some fun doing a piece for the weekend’s telecast. Here he puts two wheels onto the grass resulting in a virtual safety car.One driver who I have never seen walk the track, although he did ride Paul Ricard on a bike, is the man below. The son of Grace and Joe Ricciardo was fresh off a plane, dragging his luggage behind him on his way to the Renault suite. He was wearing some pretty loud Stance socks and as a couple of Instagram followers noted, was without a neck today. The design of the Hungaroring dictates that the drivers and media need to pass through a tunnel to get to the paddock. In the tunnel there are portraits of every driver who’s won the Hungarian GP. A number of drivers have signed their winner’s pic including Lewis Hamilton, who added a succinct and complimentary comment. Daniel Ricciardo was more succinct and typically Daniel.Do you recognise the fella on the left below with the loud glasses? Well I didn’t either but there was a small entourage around him and he looked like he could be important. F1 commentator and presenter Will Buxton set me straight; he was ASAP Ferg, Armed with that information I was still none the wiser, but after some investigation I was enlightened as to the fact he’s quite a prominent rapper and part of the ASAP Mob. ASAP Ferg was a guest of McLaren and was heading out to do a lap or two in the passenger seat of a McLaren road car. Lucky him.
There were attractive women happy to smile for the camera. Here are two key Red Bull ladies, Jessica Clayton (left) and Lisa Glen. And these two university students, Cassy and Emily, stood out in blue as they experienced the Hungaroring paddock. While walking pit lane I found Pierre Gasly having a crack at photography. He was doing a shoot with seasoned (grumpy) Getty photographer Mark Thompson and for some reason, he ended up with Mark’s Canon 1dxMk2 camera with a 70-200mm lens on it. I can’t tell you how the shots turned out but it was the second-most popular post on my Instagram page today (@kymillman). Later in the day, he and Max Verstappen headed to the fan zone to meet some locals, both carrying a can of Red Bull. Of course there’s no Red Bull in those cans, it’s all for PR but it pays the bills and obviously works a treat for the energy drink company. And for a record third time, here’s the photogenic young driver without the harsh shadows caused by the sun and caps. I was talking to a young F1 fan last night who told me about Lewis’ Loyalty tattoo on his left forearm. Here’s a close-up of it.He’s not the only one to have that tattoo; his physio Angela Cullen has it too (below) along with a nice IWC watch. Late this afternoon someone commented on my Instagram post about the tattoo, saying that more members of the Mercedes inner sanctum also have it.
And while we’re on the topic of tatts, here’s a close up of his right leg featuring Muhammad Ali.
There were other drivers doing their bit for the fans including Alex Albon,Sebastian Vettel,Valtteri Bottas (chewing gum), and Charles Leclerc.And that pretty much ends a quiet Thursday in Budapest, so in closing feast your eyes on this happy cameraman. Hungarian Szilard Szabo-Biczok (no idea how you’d pronounce that) is quite a character and today he turned on all his charm for me so I thought that the least I could do would be to include it in this pre-race blog given he’s a local. In closing, I want you at my table for one of my F1 dinners coming up soon. There’s one on the Saturday evening of the Italian GP in Monza, the next one is on the following Thursday in Perth, Australia and the third is on the Wednesday prior to the US GP in Austin. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.