AUTOSPORT brings you its regular column of life inside the paddock. This week: Istanbul
Istanbul Park remains Hermann Tilke's best track to date - with the brilliant Turn 8 an amazing place to see Formula 1 cars gunning for it flat-out at the very limit of adhesion.
The only problem is, Istanbul Park happens to be near one of the busiest and cramped cities in the world - making the logistics of the weekend a bit of a nightmare.
More and more people have abandoned staying in the main part of Istanbul town - especially with many enduring more than two-hour journeys from track to hotel due to the sheer weight of traffic on the packed roads of the city.
With the Asian side of Istanbul now bustling and expanding, and more F1 personnel decamping there, the weekend has become a bit easier and a bit more popular - and it was even quite encouraging to see that fans actually bothered to turn up on race day this year.
And those that made the trip were treated to one of the best races of the season - an absolute corker of a battle between Red Bull Racing and McLaren, a controversial collision between team-mates and the tantalising prospect of heightened tensions in the world title battle.
For Red Bull it may be a nightmare, but for the fans and media, it is great news.
Karun Chandhok may be one of India's biggest sports stars right now, but his step up to Formula 1 has not seen him lose any of his bubbly personality - or ability to have a laugh.
Just a week after emailing some journalists pictures of what he claimed were the new media shuttles for the Indian Grand Prix - some elephants that he snapped while on a recent visit to his home country - Chandhok arrived in Turkey last weekend with a new lucky mascot.
After his fortunate escape in the Monaco Grand Prix, when Jarno Trulli launched himself over the top of his HRT in the closing stages of the race, some of Chandhok's friends in England reckoned he needed an extra boost of luck for Turkey.
So, taking inspiration from one of Chandhok's favourite films - the bobsleigh masterpiece 'Cool Runnings' - they gave him a new mascot.
"I was given a lucky egg," smiled Chandhok, posing with his new charm in the HRT motorhome. "My friends in Brackley said I needed one, like the Jamaican bobsleigh team in 'Cool Runnings'. I brought it here with me and hoped it would help me a bit - but it didn't seem to bring me much good luck."
Chandhok unfortunately qualified last and had to come into the pits a few laps from home with a car problem - leaving him down in 20th overall in the classification.
After the social whirlwind that was the Monaco Grand Prix, things operated at a bit more of a leisurely place in Turkey - as teams simply got on with their business of a fairly normal race weekend.
With traffic into downtown Istanbul being as bad as ever - and some people complaining of it taking nearly two hours in rush hours to get across the Bosphorus bridge and back to their hotels - it was little wonder that there was a lot of hanging around in the paddock.
Sauber took the opportunity to entertain the British media on the Thursday night - but that did not provide the best story of paddock hospitality at the Swiss team over the weekend.
Instead, over the Turkey weekend, a special chef was on hand to cook dinner for a few VIP guests - which included senior team figures. His name? Kamui Kobayashi...
As a way of saying thank you to the efforts of the team during what had been a character-building start to the season, Kobayashi put some of the culinary skills he learned from his father's sushi restaurant to good use - as he took over the Sauber kitchen to show that he does not just have a talent for driving racing cars quickly.
Lewis Hamilton had a high-profile supporter cheering him on for his first victory of the season in Turkey, when long-time girlfriend and Pussycat Doll Nicole Sherzinger made her first appearance at a race this season.
And it was quite fitting that she was on hand to see her man win - just a week after Hamilton had been in the United States to see her on her way to taking a top honour.
Sherzinger triumphed in the American version of 'Dancing with the Stars', and Hamilton had turned up in Istanbul buzzing when asked to talk about what a great experience it had been
"I'm going to get dancing lessons soon," said Hamilton, whose recent trip to Los Angeles saw him get some earrings. "Derek [Hough, Nicole's dancing partner] has offered, although I've told him I'd prefer his sister to give me lessons because she is more attractive! But Nicole is perfect for me right now. She can teach me.
"I saw her in the semi-final, and then I went out the following week and saw the show this Monday, and then her first dance on the Tuesday, so I didn't get to see her win. But I got to see the most incredible performance she put on of the Argentine tango, under all that pressure. It was unbelievable, so unreal.
"She got a standing ovation and I was just incredibly proud. It's cool to be able to go and support your partner and see them succeed."
Of course the big question, with IndyCar front-runner Helio Castroneves having triumphed in the show in the past, was whether Hamilton was considering entering the show himself?
"Hell to the no! Definitely not," he smiled. "After seeing how tough it has been for her, and how time consuming it has been, I could never do it. I'll leave the dancing to the dancers, and I'll just continue with the driving."
Hamilton and Sherzinger were not the only winners picking up their spoils in Turkey, because Heikki Kovalainen also had a bit of a result.
Kovalainen has blossomed in the Lotus environment this year - enjoying life and being far more relaxed than he ever appeared to be alongside Hamilton at McLaren.
In Monaco, he even accepted a bet with well-known Portuguese journalist Luis Vasconcelos - that he could achieve something that no other team-mate of Jarno Trulli had managed to do at the principality.
"Luis told me in Monaco that Jarno had never been outqualified by his team-mate in Monaco going back to Formula 3 in 1996," said Kovalainen. "I didn't know that and said it's interesting. So he said that if I beat him he would buy me a good Portuguese wine. I said that's a deal! I did it, and now he has given it to me."
The presentation of the nice Portuguese was soon talked about in the paddock, but did cause a slight bit of confusion when someone misheard that the 'Luis' Kovalainen was referring to was 'Lewis.'
A few minutes later, Mr. Hamilton was looking slightly baffled when getting asked about why he had bought a bottle of wine for Kovalainen.
"Did I?" said Hamilton, before the name confusion was cleared up.