My Bahrain GP experience started on Wednesday evening with a welcome function in the paddock attended by several hundred people involved with the event.There was traditional music, local food, a DJ, lots of chat and even a falcon.The Bahrain GP is a night race and the circuit stands out from a distance when fully lit and because it winds back on itself, getting around the track is not as time consuming as say Melbourne. From this grand stand you can also see quite a bit of the track – they’ve done a great job here.Although the F1 cars are only on track Friday – Sunday, Thursday is a busy and important day at every GP. All of the drivers and teams are out in force and the day started with drivers doing their various media commitments. Felipe Massa fronted a throng of TV cameras at the back of the Williams garage and looked as smooth and fresh-faced he always does. This paddock is a far cry from Shanghai’s soulless offering. There are lovely palm trees with fairy lights and grassed areas to sit one. The drivers wander back and forth and when Lewis emerges, media comes from everywhere to report on his movement.Many of the drivers relax on the raised balcony of their team building like Seb is here.
At 3pm the first of 2 press conferences took place and first up it was Sergio Perez, Lewis Hamilton and Stoffel Vandoorne. They are asked a series of questions by the host who sits in front of the cameraman in the grey shirt. Then the journalists are given the chance to ask questions. Us photographers stand around the outside and snap away. At one stage I was focused on Stoffel who was answering question when I heard a cacophony of shutters going off. I pulled my eye away from the viewfinder to see Lewis and Sergio having a private chat and exchanging silly glances. This goes on quite a bit in these press conferences.In the second press conference Kevin Magnussen, Fernando Alonso and Jolyon Palmer took centre stage. The big topic was what convinced Fernando to go race an Indy car on the Monaco Grand Prix weekend. After Fernando padded away those questions he reverted to checking his mobile phone.Also out and about today were Pascal Wehrlein, Kimi Raikkonen (who rarely shows emotion), Max Verstappen and the very cool Mexican Sergio Perez.Late in the day there was a very strong rumour around the paddock that Daniel Ricciardo was definitely going to Ferrari next year. That would be a big move!But perhaps the most embarrassing thing about today was this guy.He ambushed every driver, wanting them to pose for a selfie using his shameful selfie stick. He would ruin so many shots for the media and win no friends. Really at his age he needs to take a good long look at himself.
So that’s day 1 out of the way and tomorrow we see the cars on track for 2 x 90min practice sessions; 2pm and 6pm.