Cover Daniel Ricciardo, Lando Norris and Martin Brundle

Ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix this weekend, Richard Mille held a private meet-and-greet session with its Formula One teams, Ferrari and McLaren, as well as some surprise guests

The energy buzzing through the city this week has been palpable, as Formula One fans gear up for the return of the Singapore Grand Prix this weekend. 

Many of the teams and drivers have already arrived for events and appearances around the island before the first practice session on Friday, including Richard Mille's Formula One (F1) teams, Ferrari and McLaren.

The Swiss luxury watch company held a private meet-and-greet session with drivers from both teams at the legendary Long Bar in Raffles Hotel Singapore. As F1 fans ourselves, we were thrilled to get up close with Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc as well as McLaren drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris

Read on to see how it all went down. 

In case you missed it: What to Wear to the Formula One Races in Singapore: A Style Guide

The event was set up on the upper level of Long Bar, which was temporarily closed off to the public.

And did you really go to Long Bar if you didn’t have a Singapore Sling? While waiting for the drivers to arrive, we enjoyed the fruity and refreshing gin-based cocktail that was first created over 100 years ago in this very bar. It was so good that it remained our drink of choice for the rest of the evening. 

We were also served savoury and sweet canapes, including satay, croquettes and chocolate tarts. 

Read more: 5 Drivers to Watch at This Year’s Formula 1 Singapore Night Race

Hosting the session was British former racing driver and current Sky Sports commentator, Martin Brundle, who wasted no time in getting the crowd pumped up for the arrival of McLaren drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris. 

As the senior driver, Ricciardo has raced in nine Singapore Grand Prix throughout his career, finishing on the podium four of those times. 

“I remember the first year I came, I wasn’t prepared for the heat and I was new to F1 at the time so my body was still adjusting to the physical side of the sport. The humidity was something else," Ricciardo recalled. “I learned quickly after that though and I’ve always enjoyed it since then.”

Norris, on the other hand, has only ever raced here once in 2019. But the 22-year-old was just as enthusiastic about the track and seemed to be well prepared, sharing that he had trained for the specific conditions of the Singapore night race. 

After answering a few more questions from Brundle, both drivers stuck around to take photos with guests, before being whisked away to their next appointment.

In addition to the F1 drivers, there were other special guests in attendance, including Olympic champion for high jump and Richard Mille brand partner, Mutaz Essa Barshim. Those who spotted the Qatari athlete were mingling with him and also had their pictures taken together. 

Another surprise guest was former F1 driver, Felipe Massa. Seated together with Barshim, the Brazilian used to race for Ferrari and is also a Richard Mille brand partner.

Seizing the opportunity, we grabbed the two sportsmen for a photo. 

Soon after, Brundle declared it “Ferrari time”, as he welcomed Charles Leclerc into the room. The Monégasque Ferrari driver is currently second in the 2022 driver standings, behind championship leader Max Verstappen. 

Leclerc shared with the crowd about his relationship with Richard Mille and how both the founder and brand have supported him in his career since his early days in karting: “Richard has always believed in me since the beginning so we really have a special connection.”

Brundle also invited Massa up to join the chat and to revisit his eventful race here in 2008, where he started on pole position but lost a chance at the podium after troubles in the pit lane. 

Leclerc too has had some misfortunes in recent races this season, but Massa was quick to give him a confidence boost. The former Ferrari driver affirmed Leclerc that it is clear that the Monégasque has been doing “an amazing job and very consistent” but pointed out there are many factors that have to come together to produce a great result. He encouraged the Ferrari driver not to doubt himself, adding: “You’re really doing the best.”

On that warm note, the session ended with Leclerc posing for photos and signing autographs, rounding off a memorable experience for all. 

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