Michelle Obama leads starry weekend in Miami for inaugural F1 as Lewis Hamilton compares track to ‘B&Q car park’

Former First Lady shares warm embrace with Lewis Hamilton as celebrities flock to the Miami International Autodrome

Bevan Hurley
Saturday 07 May 2022 23:54 BST

Michelle Obama led a star-studded crowd at the inaugural Miami Grand Prix on Saturday, as Hollywood A-listers mingled with sporting royalty at the Miami International Autodrome to watch the qualifying action.

The former first lady, 58, enjoyed a warm embrace with seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton before watching the action from his Mercedes team pit.

“Fabulous to see the Former First Lady Michelle Obama here,” the official Formula 1 Twitter account posted.

Star Wars creator and longtime Formula 1 fan George Lucas was also in attendance, watching on from the Mercedes garage.

And actor Michael Douglas, 77, presented Ferrari ace Charles LeClerc with a commemorative tyre after the Frenchman won Saturday’s qualifying race to take out pole position for the Grand Prix on Sunday.

Golfer Greg Norman, former NFL star-turned TV presenter Michael Strahan and four time Nascar champion Jeff Gordon also watched Saturday’s qualifying action.

Late night host James Corden has been in the paddock three consecutive days, and Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen was hanging outside McLaren hospitality to meet up with his friend, the Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo.

Reality TV star and W Series team owner Caitlyn Jenner cheered on as her Jenner Racing team won its first race in the women’s competition on Saturday.

“We won our first race,” tweeted Jenner, after a drama-filled last-lap saw British driver Jamie Chadwick take the checkered flag when rivals Emma Kimilainen and Alice Powell crashed.

Among the celebrities expected to attend Sunday’s Grand Prix are Serena and Venus Williams, Michael Jordan, Wyclef, Dan Marino, Pharrell and Tom Brady.

Away from with the racing circuit, the party circuit has been in full swing during a week of events leading up to the Grand Prix.

Corden was pictured hanging out with pals David Beckham and Lebron James at the American Express Presents Carbone Beach party on Friday.

The Miami GOP has been held on a new circuit that wraps around the Miami Dolphins NFL stadium, and not everyone was impressed with its layout.

After practice on Friday, Hamilton compared the track to a carpark at the British retailer B&Q.

“The track’s quite nice to drive except for the chicane,” he said.

“It’s so tight. It reminds me of being in a B&Q car park when I was six years old, seven years old, in a go kart, going in between cars.”

Hamilton finished sixth in qualifying and will line up on the third row of the grid for Sunday’s racing.

Around 240,000 spectators are expected to attend the three days of racing action, with approximately 83,000 tickets sold for Sunday’s Grand Prix which starts at 3.30pm EST.

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