29 May 2014 by

What We Learned From 48 Hours At The Monaco Grand Prix

(LOTTIE WATCHES THE GRAND PRIX AT Y.CO HQ IN PORT HERCULE/GRAZIA)

Until last week I wasn’t up to speed with the ins-and-outs of Formula One racing, nor did I have any idea what the annual, ridiculously glamorous Grand Prix race in Monaco might be like. But on Friday I embarked on a crazy fun-filled and sleep deprived 48 hours courtesy of MARTINI in the principality which involved watching Nico Rosberg controversially beat his Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton on Sunday 25 May, partying at the famous ‘La Rascasse’ street festivities and taking in the hundreds of multi-million pound yachts in Monaco’s harbour, Port Hercule, where the A-list gather to watch the race. Here is what I learned during my time there...

(YACHTS GATHER IN THE PORT HERCULE HARBOUR FOR THE GRAND PRIX/GRAZIA)

1. IT IS SWIMMING WITH A-LISTERS

With Cannes Film Festival over, all the A-listers flock to Monaco for the Grand Prix and you will be hard pushed not to spot one. As soon as I arrived at my hotel I was informed that Kate Moss and Justin Bieber were in town and had both been spotted hanging out on Sir Philip Green’s mega £32 million mega-yacht, Lionheart. Also rumoured to be in town were Leonardo DiCaprio and Benedict Cumberbatch who interviewed the winners after the race. But the real stars of the weekend were the drivers. Monaco is so small that I managed to spot both Lewis Hamilton and his girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger, who was never far from his side during race weekend.

 

(THE QUALIFYING RACE AND FIREWORKS ON THE FINAL NIGHT/LOTTIE)

2. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS OVERDRESSED

When I rocked up at Y.CO’s HQ on the Sunday afternoon to watch the two hour race in a midi-dress and heeled sandals alongside Amber Le Bon and band The Heavy, I worried that I might be a little OTT for an afternoon in the sunshine. Wrong. The Grand Prix is a big deal in Monaco, and given that the principality has the highest number of billionaires per capita in the whole wide world, the fashion on display is a spectator sport in itself. Think jewels, heels, designer dresses, hats and some women just walk about Monaco in tiny swimming costumes and heels. Each to their own.

3. A SELFIE WITH A MEMBER OF THE ROYAL FAMILY IS LIKELY

If you thought the last person you’d see while wandering the streets of Monaco during Grand Prix weekend was Prince Albert II of Monaco, then you’d be wrong. There are framed pictures of Prince Albert and his wife Princess Charlene in every shop and restaurant you visit. He is a big Grand Prix fan and when I was there he was spotted driving around the streets in his Toyota Prius and even having a selfie with several fans.

(LEWIS HAMILTON, NICO ROSBERG AND DANIEL RICCIARDO WITH THEIR 2ND, 1ST AND 3RD PLACE TROPHIES/GETTY)

4. YOU WILL NOT HAVE ANY SLEEP

Monaco doesn’t sleep when the Grand Prix is in town. After watching the qualifying races on the Saturday afternoon I headed to La Rascasse (turn 18 on the Grand Prix track in Monaco’s streets). Sitting just below the Palais Princier de Monaco, as well as being a tricky turn, it’s where, by night, revellers head to a number of bars and clubs pumping out trashy europop to carry on the party. It's all cleared up when the crowds depart at 5am in time for the big race on the Sunday just hours later. Then it all starts again once the race is over on Sunday afternoon.

(GRAND PRIX MOMENTS/GRAZIA)

5. IT IS THE LOUDEST SPORT ON EARTH

From the sound of the development drivers testing the cars on the track over the two days before the race, to the Formula One cars whizzing round the track during the race and all the yachts honking their horns in the harbour when they cross the finish line, there is nothing quite like it. Unbelievably the cars used to be louder but this year new hybrid engines ever so slightly muted the roar and scream normally associated with Formula One race cars. Earplugs still necessary.

Lottie was a guest of Williams Martini Racing


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