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2019 US GP PRE-RACE BLOG

When I arrived at the track at 8.30am the temp had risen to 2° C, but with the wind it felt below 0.  I was well and truly rugged up though as I’d been shopping in Dallas for essentials as I, and many others who follow the circuit, had come from Mexico with little, if any, cold weather clothing.  So what happened in the bitter cold served up by Austin, Texas today?  Well, Daniel Ricciardo showed us his new helmet, one that mimics an American football helmet and it looked schmick! And he had cheerleaders from the Texas Longhorns, although because it was so f@#$ing cold they were wearing trackies. Today was Halloween, so I purchased a plastic pumpkin from CVS last night and cut a hole in it so I could shoot drivers through it. So above is what 3 drivers saw at some point this morning.  And below is what the camera saw, first with Lance Stroll. Then George Russell stopped to see what the hell was going on.And after Lando had finished in the TV media pen, he approached me and asked,  “Can you see anything through that?”  And of course the answer was “Yes – you very clearly.”

Now, normally there would be many interviews going on in the verandahs of the hospitality suites, but the frigidly cold weather meant that all the drivers were holed up in the warmth inside the hospitality suites, making photos of them virtually impossible.

I did find Carlos Sainz Jr. giving Charlotte Sefton Sayles (lefet) and Noemi De Miguel a hug after he’d finished some TV interviews at the back of the McLaren garage. And out of the blue, he just dragged the two women in for a “super-hug”. Late in the afternoon I walked the first and second corner with the Ferrari drivers.   And a few minutes later, Sebastian Vettel was talking racing lines with safety car driver, Bernd Mäylander, in Deutsche!Normally there is a throng of photographers waiting for the soon to be 6-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton, but I was surprised to find I was the only shooter anywhere near the Brit as he entered with this minder and in an impressive Puma track suit. Kimi Räikkönen arrived all in black, just like Romain Grosjean,and later I found Kimi with half a grin as he communicated via the telephone.Towards the end of the day I got to shoot Lando Norris’ helmet for the US GP and impressive it is.  I learnt that Lando has a great deal of input into the design of his lids and the mock rust on this helmet is actually textured.  I wonder if it has any impact on air flow?

But by this stage, I’d had enough of the cold and was just about to leave when I found Haas star performer, Guenther Steiner, navigating his way down the paddock, so I took a picture of him.And that was enough for me on the coldest day of F1 I’ve ever experienced.

Tomorrow I’m, posting a driver profile of Pierre Gasly on my YouTube channel (KymIllman) and then heading out to the track where it will hopefully be a little warmer than today.

Love from Texas!


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