Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix 2016

October 03, 2016
Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix 2016






DAY AT THE RACES: FORMULA 1 MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX 2016

Sunday October 2nd 2016 • Sepang International Circuit, Kuala Lumpur



"Tengok lesen, dik*..."

It's neither the polo nor Royal Ascot but sometimes I entertain out-of-towners in Kuala Lumpur by taking them to the Malaysian Grand Prix. For the last three weeks I was in town to get my fix of all things home (the moment I land in London - tomorrow morning, actually - I'm being grounded for up to six months) and so were a couple of friends from New Zealand who also happened to be motorheads. As befitting of Malaysian hospitality, I invited them to watch the Kuala Lumpur leg of Formula 1 from the grandstands of Sepang International Circuit. 

I've always maintained that the GP would be so much more entertaining if the drivers' helmets were filled with live bees, but Formula 1 won't have any of that. Instead, I usually contend myself by complaining about the eardrum-stabbing abuse of the cars as they slice by, but even that pleasure has been taken from me ever since quieter electronic engines have been introduced.


As with every GP I've attended, the more exciting aspects of the race come afterward - whether at the afterparties (take your pick: Johnnie Walker Black Circuit Lounge, the gala dinner, or...Usher) or in the recap. Of course the highlight of the race had to happen the moment I got up from my seat and left to buy an overpriced beer - Lewis Hamilton's hopes going up in smoke as his engine caught fire (right in front of my vantage point in the Crystal Grandstand, too!) leaving Daniel Ricciardo a shoe-in to claim the top position for Red Bull. This unexpected turn certainly put the thunder in Down Under - the raucous 'kangaroo court' behind me waved their shoes and thongs (flip flops, ahem) in the style of their Australian idol, roaring: "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Oi oi oi!" 

All in all, it was a reasonably interesting Sunday made bearable by the relatively-pleasant October weather compared to the punishing humidity and heat of March. How serendipitous it was, the timing and the schedule change of this year's Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix - a nice 'bye for now' before leaving KL.


*"let's see your license, son..." Speeding, are we? Naughty naughty!


Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix 2016


The Kiwi Contingency: both first-timers to the Malaysian Grand Prix, courtesy of me.
Because friends don't let friends miss Formula 1 when its on in one's home city...





DRESSED FOR SPEED AND COMFORT


I've always enjoyed the casual vibe of the Malaysian GP - although in a country where batik shirt, shorts, and sandals are the unofficial day uniform, some take it too far. Even if I park in a VIP bay or have my driver drop my party off as close to the circuit as possible, there's still a lot of concrete to cover (because one enters and exits through the merchandise gift shop). 

I'm neither a fan of short shorts (more surface area to spray with SPF) nor the cardigan cover up that the Japanese favour, so I 


stay casual and comfortable in a voluminous maxi dress - belted for shape and with harness-strapped delicates underneath to offset the matronly ruching of my dress' neckline. A tent-like dress calls for petite accessories, so I sling my unwieldy Canon 6D on my shoulder then simply stuff cash and lipstick into one of my Louis Vuitton Almas. Slip on some sliders or espadrilles, throw my favourite Dior sunglasses on my head, arm myself with a bottle of water, and I'm ready for race day in the tropics.

SHOP MY PICKS FOR A CASUAL DAY AT THE GP:





Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix 2016

READY...

Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix 2016

STEADY...

Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix 2016

...GO!

Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix 2016

Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix 2016

Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix 2016

Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix 2016

Let's be real, most people don't watch the GP live to catch every little detail - that's what the live coverage and slow-motion playback is for. Instead, they turn out in droves hoping a) to find themselves lucky enough to catch some drama in action - in this instance, Hamilton's car catching fire right in front of my section, b) for the atmosphere, because nothing puts you in the mood like RM20 beers, and c) the chance that their team/country secures a victory (and more importantly, an exucse to thump chests then climb out to the paddock while your hero downs celebratory champagne to the national anthem).

Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix 2016

Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix 2016

Something's afoot: Ricciardo fans (or maybe just party-happy Aussies) toe the line by waving their footwear in tribute to Daniel Ricciardo's (frankly stomach-churning) post-win ritual of drinking champagne from his shoe.

Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix 2016

The hordes swarm out onto the paddock and toward the podium to celebrate - or commiserate.
 The sight of which I've always found both parts equally jubilant and unnervingly primal.

Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix 2016

Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix 2016


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