Valtteri Bottas’s victory is clearly the biggest buzz from Albert Park this weekend, but there was a whole lot of other cool things on show you probably didn’t see on TV. 

I was on the ground on Friday afternoon as a guest of Mercedes-Benz in the brand’s Star Lounge hospitality oasis, but as much as exotic cuisine and an open bar situated metres from the exciting Turn 12 is an opportunity to be embraced, I wanted more. 

And more I got, with the infield converted into more of an outdoor Geneva motor show than an inner-city parkland for the weekend. 

Highlights included a Ferrari SP1, McLaren Senna, the new Lamborghini Huracan Evo, a Jaguar Project 8, the new Alpine A110, a Mustang GT4 racer, a Hyundai i30 TCR racer, and a DJRTP sticker car that showed what the race Mustangs should look more like

On the outside of the circuit opposite pit lane, the Royal Australian Navy had landed a MH-60R helicopter with hellfire missiles loaded, but there was also two Brabham BT62 prototypes, Jack Brabham’s BT19 and BT23A-1 racers, and the Hyundai i30N that embarrassed lots of expensive machinery at World Time Attack in October. 

Among dozens of exotic historic racers was a Ferrari Daytona racer, a classic Fiat Abarth 500 and a Porsche 956C.

And then there were the club displays, the star of which by far in my eyes was the actual Aston Martin DBS used in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, which is otherwise known as the Bond film Aussie George Lazenby did.  

It was joined by classic Porsches, recent Porsche legends like the Cayman GT4, a Renault Clio V6, an original Alpine A110, a rare MG ZR 190 hatch, a precious ‘50s Continental, ‘59 Caddy, numerous Lotus Esprits, an early Elan and the last (FWD) Elan. 

The lesson: If you ever score a corporate ticket to the F1, think outside the box.

Did you head to the Grand Prix over the weekend? Tell about your highlights in the comments below.

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