The Bahrain circuit is a 30 minute drive from the city and surrounded by sand. The paddock, the area where all of the media, teams and officials spend much of their day, is one of the best, with palm trees covered in fairy lights running right down the middle of it. The media centre is swish and the canteen is fantastic with a lavish hot and cold food buffet that includes dessert. Food aside, a Thursday sees no cars on track so it’s all about the drivers and some limited action in the pits. The day started with a lot of standing around waiting for the stars of the show to arrive. And arrive they did; here’s Fernando Alonso arriving with girlfriend Linda Morselli. Of course here’s wearing a Lat_56 backpack, one of the team’s sponsors.
This shot of Kimi Raikkonen smiling made me smile as he doesn’t often do that, well certainly not when the cameras are about.And here he is entering the Ferrari suite, a photo that pleases my eye owing to the amount of lush greenery in it (remember we’re in the desert here) and the absence of other humans.Pierre Gasly showed up with the makings of a trendy beard and was happy to smile at my lens.And Sebastian Vettel arrived with his briefcase, something I’ve not seen him with too often prior.With a lull in paddock action, I wandered the pits and straight in search of something interesting to shoot. I liked the red and white paint on the edge of the track.The start line is always interesting especially when it has just been painted. It’ll look markedly different at 8pm on Sunday.I had to lie down on the tarmac to get this shot. The numbers represent 10 centimetre gaps and ideally the driver should stop the wheels in a pit stop right on the zero. Williams’ Lance Stroll played a game of darts for one of the TV networks which will no doubt appear sometime on air over the next 3 days.As is typical on Thursdays, a number of drivers were doing interviews around the paddock which allows us plenty of time to get a shot. Here Daniel Ricciardo was positioned in front of a nice plant making for a pleasing background.And for Fernando Alonso I used a plant in the foreground to conjure up something different.Shooting Lewis Hamilton’s dark skin in the shade today required letting in more light than normal which blew out the rest of the frame. At 3pm many of us adjourned to the press conference room for the drivers’ press conference. This one was an amusing affair simply because Kimi was in it. He had no time for one journo who asked what changes he’d like to see in F1. Kimi responded gruffly after being quizzed a second time about it, “I don’t have the power so what’s the point to wasting… even thinking about it because I don’t understand why you… what’s the point for me, to give you a list, because in the end I have zero power? I can’t. You understand? We can’t, we don’t make the rules, that’s my point. What’s the point of even making a story out of it.” which made Matteo Bonciani (standing) chuckle.
After the sun set, Ferrari practiced their pit stops.Then it was out onto the track under lights to catch a few drivers walking it. Not everybody walked it; here Robert Kubica (in black) jogged it along with Federica Masolin from Sky Italia (I find her quite the glamour) and three others.If you watched my video this morning you would’ve heard me make mention of a fire at the track last night. It turns out a a storage container caught fire under the main grandstand but it was extinguished in short time.
A couple of days ago I found a memory card I had failed to download from the Melbourne race and came across a cracker of a pic that I felt compelled to share with you. It shows a very happy Sebastian Vettel on his way up to the podium with Ferrari Race Strategist, Inaki Rueda . The pair are heading away from the majority of media who are in pit lane and as a result are more relaxed given there were few cameras there. I have no doubt both Seb and Inaki will appreciate the A3 prints of this shot that I will drop off to them in China next weekend. Tomorrow sees the cars on the track in the afternoon and evening and if it’s as comfortable temperature-wise tomorrow as it was today, I and most of the others at the track will be well happy.
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