Abu Dhabi GP diary - Vettel misses media day for birth of third child

UniqueThis 129 November 27, 2019
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YAS MARINA, Abu Dhabi -- The Formula One paddock is a busy place that hosts a lot of serious business over a race weekend, but this blog will aim to bring you some of the more colourful moments from the Spanish Grand Prix weekend.

The longest question in the world...again

In 2014, a journalist named Walter Koster became a viral sensation for his long, slightly rambly question on the Thursday press conference ahead of that year's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. On that occasion, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Nico Hulkenberg were among those trying to hide the smirks.

At the end of that occasion,Vettel cheekily said: "Can you repeat the question?"

Koster has become known for doing the same in subsequent years, and this year it was no different. This time the men on the panel where Charles Leclerc -- who his long question was aimed at -- sitting alongside an amused Max Verstappen and Kevin Magnussen.

Welcome to another episode of Walter Koster asking F1 drivers long questions: pic.twitter.com/s1TCl30ht3

— ESPN F1 (@ESPNF1) November 28, 2019

Someone has since worked out that the question was longer than Leclerc's pole position lap at the Austrian Grand Prix earlier this year.

A new Vettel in the world

Sebastian Vettel was absent from media day on Thursday ahead of the race, having welcomed his and third child into the world this week. Vettel, the only driver on the grid without any social media presence, is famously guarded about details of his private life, with the names of his two daughters never published. Vettel and long-time girlfriend Hanna were married in a private ceremony last year.

The news meant Vettel was able to miss what could have been a tense appearance in the Thursday press conference alongside Ferrari teammate Leclerc. The pair collided in the closing stages of the Brazilian Grand Prix and both hinted the other was to blame - both were called to Ferrari's HQ in Italy to explain their actions between the races.

Red Bull's Hump Day

Notoriously stubborn and prone to wondering off, camels and F1 drivers may have a thing or two in common.

To find out, Red Bull invited media and its two drivers, Max Verstappen and Alex Albon, to take part in a day of camel polo in the Arabian desert. The media were split between the two teams, given jodhpurs and, after a minute-long briefing on the rules of the game, invited to mount their camels to go head to head over four seven-minute "chukkas". Albon's team went 2-1 up in the first chukka, but it was downhill from there as Verstappen's team took hold of the game to win 9-4.

There was a scare soon after half time when Verstappen's camel stopped and knelt down in the middle of the pitch. Fortunately, the animal was uninjured and it was, in fact, Verstapppen who had strained a muscle in his upper leg as he overstretched reaching for the ball with his mallet. Despite being subbed off for ex-F1 driver Johnny Herbert, Verstappen had fully recovered by Thursday's media day in the Abu Dhabi paddock.

This article will be updated throughout the weekend...

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