Paddock Cat is Back Behind the Scenes in Valencia for his Third Instalment

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Qualifying may have finished at around 3.00pm yesterday, but for Ferrari star Fernando Alonso and HRT team leader Pedro de la Rosa, the adrenalin was flowing late into the night as they watched Spain take on France in the quarterfinals of the European football championship. Much to their delight, Spain won the game 2-0 and they can now look forward to a semi-final against archrivals, and near neighbours, Portugal.

The next two teams to face-off in the football are Italy and England this evening. Alonso’s seen his country progress to the semis, but will his football-crazy Ferrari mechanics see their nation do the same?

As some of the fittest athletes on the planet, F1 drivers aren’t really allowed any vices. Drinking and smoking are (for the most part) a definite no-no, but Lewis Hamilton has a secret shame: an addiction to sweets. In the past the McLaren star would regularly scoff gummy bears and jellybeans between sessions, but he admitted yesterday that he hasn’t eaten a single sweet for a month. His dentist must be doing cartwheels!

A familiar face was welcomed back to the paddock today for the first time this season. Former Sauber star Nick Heidfeld – the man who holds the record for the most podium finishes without winning an F1 race – has flown into Spain to work as a expert pundit for Sky television. He took over the microphone from former Le Mans winner and Toyota F1 driver Allan McNish, who had to fly back to the UK for some sponsorship commitments. Nice to have you back Nick.

It’s not uncommon for drivers to surround themselves with a large entourage at grand prix weekends. Having their managers around can be useful and friends keep them entertained, but sometimes there’s nothing like having mum and dad around and one driver who appreciates that more than most is Daniel Ricciardo.

The Aussie’s parents are living with their son in glamorous Milton Keynes over the summer, as well as attending every grand prix. This weekend they’ve been fixtures in the Red Bull Energy Station and, according to the Toro Rosso star, they’ve already proved indispensable: “When you’ve qualified like I have this weekend, it’s good to have your mum around for a hug!”