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The grand prix started on Tuesday night for me with a trip to Monaco’s Stade Louis II stadium for a charity football match featuring some of the F1 drivers and a team selected by Prince Albert of Monaco.  Carlos Sainz,  Daniil Kvyat, Felipe Massa, Daniel Ricciardo, Antonio Giovinazzi, Mick Schumacher (son of racing great Michael) and past great Mika Hakkinen all took to the field.

It was a fun evening with Massa playing the most minutes while Ricciardo was subbed off 15 minutes after the kick off.

Every grand prix kicks off on a Thursday, except for the Monaco Grand Prix which kicked off today Wednesday. Although the cars are not on track until Thursday, it was a busy day with some drivers walking the track, teams putting the finishing touches to their work/hospitality areas and the regular press conference held at 3pm. Some of the day was taken up just loitering around the paddock, which unlike other events is somewhat removed from the pits and starting straight.  It is right on the water and god knows how they get those huge trucks into such a confined space. Spectators can walk on the harbour-side of the mesh fence and beg for autographs from that spot. Some of the drivers walked the track but given the roads are still open, they had to contend with traffic and autograph hunters. Poor Romain Grosjean and Sergio Perez were almost mobbed.Inside the confines of the paddock though, things were more civilised with drivers and team bosses looking relaxed, and why wouldn’t they be, Monaco is simply gorgeous.Some of the autograph hunters are extremely well organised like this woman who was at the paddock entrance for most of the day.One of the great pluses of working as a photographer is being able to use the Red Bull Energy Station. And nowhere is it more impressive than here in Monaco.  This facility is double the size of that which was used in Spain 2 weeks ago and has a roof top pool.  If a Red Bull driver, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Kyviat or Sainz does well in a race, it’s a fair chance he’ll end up in the pool post-race.With Jensen Button returning for this race, his car was of interest as it sports his name, well half of his surname.I missed Lewis Hamilton today, but he did arrive on his customised motorbike which looked pretty swish and was left outside the Mercedes hospitality suit for the day.

I popped into the Fairmont Hotel today and had a look at the most famous hairpin on the F1 calendar and then found a well tanned Hungarian woman who was most happy to pose for the camera.

There were plenty of other beauties lapping up the sun as they wandered the track.

This woman had gone to some effort with this piece of Lewis art. The thing that sets this GP apart from all others is the stunning backdrop of the Monaco skyline. Shooting with wide lenses is definitely the go here!

Many residents of this quite remarkable town leave for the F1 weekend to avoid the disturbance of 150,000+ people flooding a city with a normal population of around 30,000! There is such a buzz around the town, with people from all over the world descending on this place in expectation of something special.  It’s worth remembering that this track is the shortest on the F1 calendar and as such, the cars do 70+ laps so spectators get to see them pass some 20 times more than other circuits.

Oh, and on a side note, Lewis Hamilton certainly wears some impressive jewellery. Often he looks more like a rapper than an F1 driver and this weekend he will certainly be in great demand. Tomorrow sees the cars on track for the first time so expect to see some close-up pics in my blog at day’s end.  Au revoir from Monaco.