Seriously, it's true, all of it
Monaco... It's cliché, but there's really no place quite like it. If you're an F1 fan, then you will have heard all about the glitz and the glamour of Monte Carlo, where the streets are paved with gold and pounded by the world's rich and famous. But seriously, it's true, all of it. Well, except the bit apart the gold paving...
Fresh off the high of Barcelona and a relaxed weekend back home, we packed up and headed for Monaco on Tuesday morning to catch up with the rest of the team - some of them have been here since last Thursday! Nestled down on the French Riviera, it's just one quick flight to Nice and then a short ride to get into Monte Carlo. Once you break light through the tunnel connecting Monaco to the rest of France you're greeted by a one in a million view of the tiny Principality.
If the Formula One paddock is still a bit of a mess on a usual weekend, then Tuesday in Monaco is something else entirely. Forklifts skim through the paddock, motorhome roofs are still going on, and the pitlane is full of shiny Mercedes trucks as the team finish unpacking. While this organised F1 chaos all goes on, the Monte Carlos streets are open, so keep an eye out for supercars as well!
'Monaco baby, yeah!'
Considering that the Italian border is just a few kilometres away, there's no excuse but to try out some Italian grub on the Tuesday night - once the motorhome roof is on, of course. With the first two free practice sessions shifted to a Thursday in Monaco, everything kicks off properly on Wednesday with Media Day as the drivers face the international press.
You've got to be mentally strong to get through the pressure cooker that is Monaco, but our boys are ice cool, so they ease their way through interviews and signing sessions and Lewis even brought his bike along for some burnout fun. All in all, it's a well-natured day, as the atmosphere and excitement builds up ahead of Thursday and the first look at the new 2017 beasts on track.
We genuinely can't wait. As that great philosopher and World Champion Jenson Button one famously said "Monaco baby, yeah!"