Northern Europe may have been battered by the elements in recent weeks, but when the teams arrived in Valencia on Monday they were welcomed by balmy blue skies and scorching temperatures. Like Monaco, the Valencia Street Circuit winds its way around a busy harbour and it’s just a stone’s throw from the local beach – rather handy for sun-worshipers, if not the drivers.
The European Grand Prix represents the second home race of the season for local favourite Fernando Alonso. After a few years living in Switzerland, the Ferrari star is back living in Spain these days, a country in which he has God-like status. Let’s hope Ferrari have bought plenty of pens with them to Valencia because Fernando’s going to be signing a boat-load of autographs this weekend…
Racing drivers are used to horsepower, but Jenson Button arrived in town fresh from experiencing a distinctly different kind to what he’s used to. In the UK it’s Royal Ascot week and the McLaren driver and his model girlfriend, Jessica Michibata, spent a day having a flutter at the world famous horse races. Ascot is notorious for its strict dress code but, far from being put off, Jenson revelled in getting dressed up in full top hat and tails. Let’s hope he had better luck on the horses than he’s had on the racetrack of late.
F1 may be the hottest ticket in town, but there’s no doubt that football fever is in full swing in Valencia. Spain play France in the quarter finals of Euro 2012 on Saturday night, but for the German speakers in the paddock, such as MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS drivers Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg, the big game of the weekend is tonight, when Germany play Greece.
As we write, Mercedes are busy transforming the top floor of their motorhome into the perfect venue for watching the game. Games at this stage of the tournament are usually tense affairs, although not everyone is expecting a tight match. In the paddock today Nico confidently predicted a 3-0 German victory. Let’s see if he’s still smiling tomorrow morning!