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Jetsetters, celebrities and VIPs were out in force to watch the race action and party at the 2019 Monaco Grand Prix. Highlights were many – on and off the track – but Lewis Hamilton certainly wrote a new page in the history of motorsport by clinching his third Monaco Grand Prix win after a very tense race.

Monaco’s homegrown talent Charles Leclerc had a difficult weekend, first in the qualifying session, where a misjudgement by the Ferrari team resulted in him qualifying 16th, then on the big day, where a puncture put an end to his race. While the safety car was on the track to remove debris resulting from this incident, Valterri Bottas (Mercedes) Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) and Max Verstappen (Red Bull) switched to hard tyres but Mercedes put Hamilton on mediums, leading him to drive 67 laps on tyres designed to last for no more than 50. As if Hamilton’s concerns about his tyres wearing before the end of the race were not enough, Verstappen made a lunge to overtake him two laps from the end and the two cars collided, fortunately with no serious consequences. Hamilton later described the race as the hardest he’d had.

Yachts and terraces


As always, many people opted to attend the Grand Prix on a Monaco yacht charter. The Principality’s famous Port Hercules harbour was lined with yachts and many more were moored further out to sea. From elevated areas of Monaco,  tenders could be seen ferrying visitors between action onshore and onboard. Some visitors splashed out upwards of 2,450 euros for a weekend trackside yacht package to watch the best moments of the Monaco Grand Prix 2019.

Balconies around the Grand Prix circuit were packed. Tickets for “elite” VIP packages, which included panoramic views of the track, gourmet catering, champagne and cocktails with entertainment from a DJ cost around 2,850 euros for the weekend. Guests at the Formula One Paddock Club on the Rascasse corner of the harbour paid 5,802 euros for two days, which entitled them to a view of the pit entry, access to the pit area and a dining lounge, as well as a guided lap before the races.

Amber Lounge events


Events organised by Amber Lounge were, as they have been since 2003, among the 2019 Monaco Grand Prix highlights off the track. Sonia Irvine – sister of former Formula One driver Eddie Irvine and long-time Monaco resident – is the helmswoman of these ultra-glamorous pop-up Grand Prix experiences, which also take place in Abu Dhabi and Singapore.

The “Ice White”-themed Amber Lounge Charity Fashion Show on Friday 24 May at the Meridien Beach Plaza hotel set the glamour bar high for other Grand Prix events. The particularity of this show is that F1 drivers and women involved in F1 in some way take to the catwalk, as well as professional models. 

Charles Leclerc was first on the beachside catwalk, where he was joined by George Russell (Williams), Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo), Esteban Gutierrez (Mercedes), Jack Aitken (Renault), Guanyu Zhou (Renault) and Sergey Sirotkin (Renault), Nicholas Latfi (Racing Point). The drivers modelled chic menswear by Christopher Bates.

HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco attended the show, where Princess Märtha Louise of Norway, Victoria’s Secret model Josephine Skriver, Pamela Anderson – with boyfriend Amil Rami and son Brendon Lee –  Freddie Hunt, Eddie Irvine and Chachi Gonzales were also among the star-studded audience.

Alfa Romeo’s Tatiana Calderon swapped her racing boots for high heels to make her Amber Fashion debut with the “Ladies of F1” modelling Yolancris (whose clients include Lady Gaga and Beyoncé). The racing driver was joined by Lee Mckenzie (BBC TV), Natalie Pinkham (Sky Sports UK), Tamara Boullier, and “Mrs Amber Lounge”, Sonia Irvine, with her young daughter Katie. The Amber Lounge Charity Fashion Show also marked the European launch of Ladyship swimwear by Lady Victoria Hervey.

Lots at the Amber Lounge’s traditional silent auction in aid of Sir Jackie Stewart’s foundation Race Against Dementia were numerous. They included luxury jewellery, VIP travel experiences and objects such as a mini F1 helmet signed by Lewis Hamilton. When guests were asked who would be willing to donate 10,000 euros to the charity without bidding for a lot, Pamela Anderson was one of several people who raised their hands.

DJ Sigma provided the high energy soundscape at the after party, where the vibe was euphoric and the entertainment included robots on stilts.  

Amber Lounge after party guests over the weekend included NBA star Rudy Gobert, Rugby players Sam Warburton and George North, AS Monaco player Nacer Chadli, Red Bull athlete Lindsay Vaughn and PK Subban.

Victoria’s Secret model Josephine Skriver, TV star Olivia Culpo, Blaise Matuidi, Mark Cavendish and model Madison Headrick were among the guests aboard Amber Lounge’s trackside tri-deck yacht over the race weekend.

A countrywide party


Across the city-state, people partied. Restaurant terraces with live screenings of the Grand Prix were fully booked and Monaco’s famous venues pulled out all the stops. At Sunset, the beach club on the terrace of the Meridien Beach Plaza, the vibe was laid-back luxury with live bands and DJs providing the soundtrack. On the other side of Monaco, the atmosphere at the Rascasse was wilder and louder. On the rooftop of the Fairmont Monte Carlo, next to the Grand Prix’s hairpin bend, a series of parties with music by the likes of saxophonist and electro, deep, funk and freestyle house aficionado Jimmy Sax kept Nikki Beach guests entertained.

Monaco’s first Grand Prix took place in 1929 and the event became part of the FIA Formula One World Championship in 1950. According to the FIA, some 200,000 people now head for the glamorous city-state to watch the F1 each year. Many others come to party. But whatever their reasons for coming, this year’s crowd have left with their own versions of 2019 Monaco Grand Prix highlights.

Marianne Burkhardt
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