This past weekend we had the pleasure of attending the Formula One in Melbourne – an event that is unquestionably in the running to challenge for the premiere event in the Melbourne social calendar (after a little-known race that stops the nation).
But it’s not all about the racing. The event is famed for hosting a series of events from racing experiences to and pop-up’s including a vintage barbers, street art exhibitions, Parkour demonstrations from Australia’s premiere team, Jump Squad, along with an air show that would rival any in the world.
The night before the Grand Prix belongs to the Heineken Village, where attendees can take a break from the action and enjoy some world class artists.
It’s become a main feature of the races in the time since the brand was announced as a major global sponsor of the F1, and is a refuge for some of the biggest names in the sport and celebrities alike, including ambassador and F1 legend, David Coulthard, and model, Erin Holland – who reside in the Heineken House.
The crème de la crème of Melbourne society were out in droves along with some special guests that showcasing the fashionable side to the F1 (it’s not just branded polo’s and caps).
The main feature of the event is the stellar line up of artists taking to the stage which this year included founding members of the Black Eyed Peas, Apl.de.ap and Taboo, who put on an impressive DJ set, playing and mixing some of their most famous tracks, along with some new songs.
But let’s not forget about the cars.
Some of most prominent, luxury brands in the country use the F1 to showcase their latest creations in suitably luxurious settings and Sunday was the perfect day after a deluge of rain on Saturday, to venture around the village and see the best on offer.
One of the main stays of the F1, Land Rover, had its Terrapod Zone in action once more, showcasing the versatility and luxury of the Range Rover Velar and Land Rover Discovery – the only problem? You’re in the passenger seat.
Which was fine, especially when you watch as the driver navigates one of the (virtually) vertical platforms with ease, while you grip the plush leather door handle with both hands. It’s difficult to fathom where you could take either vehicle to mirror the slope of the platform – but at least you know it could handle the hills in Sydney.
Also in attendance was Bentley that, for the first time, had set up the Bentley Manor trackside giving you the best views of the F1 cars coming from the pits, on the straight and into the first corner during the big race.
The Manor showcased all of the most luxurious cars from the maker, including the new launch of its latest car – the GT Continental. Capable of doing 0-100km/h in 3.7 seconds with a top speed of 333km/h, the Continental GT would give some of the F1 cars a run for its money.
But, in the same guise that the F1 is not just about the race, the Bentley is not just about the speed – it’s a car to be seen in. It’s about the style it exudes from the hand-stitched leather interior throughout to the customisable dashboard, where you can choose wood from almost anywhere in the world (even your back yard) to have fitted into the dashboard.
Thanks to MJ Bale for matching the suit beautifully to the sequin blue of the new Continental GT!
After venturing around it was time for the big race from the back of the Bentley manor. Whilst their were high hopes that Australian Daniel Riccardo would be able to win on home soil, the story of the day went to the battle between two four-time champions Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton – With Vettel eventually taking a comfortable win. The win was Vettel’s 100th podium placement and, after the nightmare of a DNF last year, Riccardo managed to take a respectable fourth placating the local fan somewhat.
Whether F1 is you thing or not, the overall event has something for everyone. It’s a true spectacle that should be in everyone’s social calendar.