F1 returned to Europe today with Barcelona throwing on a perfect day. In the paddock, the motorhomes were magnificent with Red Bull unveiling a most striking structure that houses both Toro Rosso and Red Bull teams and is made from Austrian-sourced wood. Alfa Romeo’s suite is no less impressive,As is McLaren’s. As an F1 photographer there’s a lot of waiting for drivers to arrive and one of the first for me today was a smiling Sebastian Vettel who stood in the entry to the Ferrari motorhome talking to a journalist for some minutes, which allowed plenty of time to wait for the right moment to click the shutter. And then he made his way upstairs. Both Seb and teammate Charles Leclerc went on track walks at 10.30am. Daniel Ricciardo was looking a treat as usual as he passed by the most colourful looking signage for race sponsor Heinekin.Later I found him addressing TV reporters with eyes wide open. He went into great detail about his skincare regimen with one of the European networks.Does Dan’s teammate have the most magnificent hairdo? I say yes and he is a likeable fella.Lewis Hamilton came in via the lesser-used paddock entrance which is closer to the Mercedes motorhome resulting in fewer shots of him appearing on the net or in the press. By pure chance I wandered down that end of the paddock at the exact moment he was entering, allowing me to capture this reflection shot of him.Later in the day I snapped him going to an engineers’ meeting. And here’s his Mercedes teammate heading to the same meeting. Romain Grosjean looked like a film star in fine light as he wandered the paddock. And Pierre Gasly just looked thrilled to be alive. Pierre smiles for my lens often and this makes pics of him that much more appealing, so merci Mr Gasly. It was standing room only for all but reporters at the 3pm FIA press conference.Mr Vettel had a broad grin on his face although i can’t remember what he was talking about at the time. Later in the afternoon he was having a chat with Mika Hakkinen in the Ferrari motorhome when I caught him at a most unfortunate moment. I guess you can’t always look cool especially when the shutter is only open for 1/1000th of a second. I couldn’t help but think that Lawrence Stroll looked like a nightclub bouncer as he entered the paddock mid afternoon.And I was surprised to see Kimi arrive without an Alfa Romeo shirt. It was a pleasant surprise. I caught Sky Tv presenter Federica Masolin in nice light against a dark background and she shone! Another F1 woman, Angela Cullen, was looking happy as she traipsed back and forth between the garage and motorhome looking after the current world champion.And finally, if you follow me on Instagram (which you should @kymillman) you would’ve seen a post featuring a couple of pics of Charles’ new Ferrari press officer Mia Djacic earlier in the week. Mia (above) worked with Charles at Sauber last year and moved to Ferrari last race to again work alongside him. That post outperformed my previous best post (a pic of Charles and Seb after the Bahrain race) by 20+%. Who would’ve thought!
When she spotted me in the paddock this morning she made a beeline for me. She wasn’t cranky, more amazed by the response to the post. You see, she shies away from the limelight and was amazed that after that post appeared, she was inundated with 400+ Instagram friend requests and today, for the first time, someone in the Barcelona crowd called out her name and wanted a photo with her.
Well, I spent the whole day hoping to catch her and Charles in the paddock together. I hoped to cajole Mia into doing a two shot but every time I would spot her with Charles, she would distance herself from him so I couldn’t get the pic. But at the very end of the day I decided to ask Charles if he’d help me and get her to pose with him. He agreed and beckoned her. “No!” she responded. “Well let’s just pretend we’re talking.” said Charles but unfortunately I could only get the back of her head and his face until the pair moved away from me and by sheer fluke, I got one frame of the twosome. And both are smiling – BONUS!Adios amigos, and make sure you follow me on Instagram to see pics from the track, many posted seconds after being shot.