King of Malaysia, King of Malaysian GP and…Bivouacs?

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Our eye on the inside, the Paddock Cat, brings us all the latest from inside the F1 paddock on a day when nothing could rain on Fernando's parade

Anyone getting a sense of déjà vu? Diesen Spruch konnte man in der Formel-Eins-Boxengasse überall hören, als ein heftiger Regenguss den Grand Prix von Malaysia nach acht Runden zum Stillstand brachte. Something similar had happened at Sepang in 2009, but, unlike three years ago, no-one got that wet in 2012.

The reason for the newfound dryness was simple: bivouacs. All of the front-running teams brought makeshift tents to the race to keep their equipment and team personnel dry in the event of a race stoppage due to rain, and that’s exactly what happened. As soon as the race was red flagged Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes got building.

These shelters were enough to keep a majority of the drivers on the grid during the 45-minute lull. The only ones to do leave were McLaren’s Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, who nipped back to their rooms in the team’s paddock hospitality unit. Jenson was halfway through a cup of tea and a bowl of pasta when his race engineer Dave Robson summoned him back to the grid for the re-start!

At least the two-part race gave the celebrities present two chances to witness the excitement of a race build-up. Nicole Scherzinger, one-time Pussycat Doll and now girlfriend of Hamilton, watched both getaways with Lewis’s mum Carmen in the McLaren garage. They then retired to the McLaren hospitality suite, where they were joined by British boxer David “The Haymaker” Haye.

Elsewhere in the pitlane, British comedian Jimmy Carr enjoyed the sights and sounds of F1, as did American actors Owen Wilson of Cars fame and Adrian Brody from The Pianist. Die beiden Letzteren waren die ganze Woche vor dem Rennen in Malaysia und schüttelten viele Hände. On Thursday evening they were introduced to the King of Malaysia and Fernando Alonso, the king of the Malaysian GP.

Fernando’s was a brilliant victory, make no mistake, but one of the reasons why Ferrari loves him is down to his utter commitment to winning the world championship. Sobald das obligatorische Siegerfoto am Sonntagabend im Kasten war, machte sich Fernando mit den Mechanikern und Ingenieuren auf den Weg zum Flughafen. They were going straight to the Ferrari factory in Maranello to congratulate everyone and to encourage them to even greater feats of brilliance.

“We still have a lot of work to do before the next race,” he said. “We have to keep pushing.”

Anyone getting a sense of déjà vu?