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Partying with Diplo at the Miami Formula 1 Grand Prix

by YAR

“I don’t know anything about F1 yet,” said Diplo, the DJ and producer, who was in Miami last weekend for the city’s first Formula 1 Grand Prix, drawing celebrities, athletes and car enthusiasts to what turned into a one-day party throughout the city.

It was Sunday, just after midnight, and Diplo was in the back seat of an SUV, heading to an outdoor concert in the Wynwood district. Celebrities had gathered in Miami to watch the race, but Diplo used his time not to go crazy for fast cars, but to find the best scene.

“I don’t care about Formula 1 at all, but I do care about parties,” he said.

He spent the day watching the race at the new Miami International Speedway, a temporary track that surrounds Hard Rock Stadium just north of the city. His day began at noon in a VIP suite sponsored by Red Bull. He hated it.

“It was this bad box, like a jail,” he said. “Besides, they had no food, and all I wanted was a sandwich, so I left.”

His friends Andrew Watt, the record producer, and Charlotte Lawrence, the singer, were in the Ferrari suite, a three-story tent with a manicured garden, an espresso bar and Bollinger champagne. So he sneaked in, without paying admission. (“I saved $10,000,” he said.)

“There was a group of seven of us, and three people didn’t have passes, including me,” he said. “A woman came up to us and I thought she was going to kick us out, but she said, ‘I see you have some extra friends here.'”

“Ferrari had already tagged me on social media so I knew it would be okay,” he added.

When he got bored of that party, he made his way to a work area along the track, where mechanics rotated tires and data scientists ran metrics. She was surprised to meet former first lady Michelle Obama.

“His security guard basically knocked me down, but that was great,” he said.

By around 4 p.m., with temperatures in the 90s, he had sweat through his cowboy boots and various T-shirts. So she left before he finished the race and went back to the Faena Miami Beach hotel, where she was staying, to watch the rest on television.

“When you see it on TV, it’s so sick to watch the take, but being there live, I couldn’t get any vibes,” he said. “It was a stressful thing, like being at Coachella. It was just walking a lot for no reason.”

Diplo, a three-time Grammy-winning DJ who collaborates with the likes of Madonna, Justin Bieber and Beyoncé, had been in Miami since Thursday, working some parties and attending others. (He took a short break Friday to fly to Louisville to work a Kentucky Derby party. “We got on a plane and landed back in Miami at 6 a.m. Saturday morning,” he said. “I tried to go to a nightclub, but it didn’t work.”)

While the super-fast cars racing around the loops may not have impressed you, the hype around Formula 1 certainly did. “F1 has more high rollers than even something like Art Basel,” he said. “The parties this weekend have been crazy. They’ve been packed until 5 am, 6 am.”

“My Oura keeps telling me I’m dead,” he added with a laugh, referring to the smart ring that monitors sleep and physical activity.

The festivities reached their climax on Sunday night, after the final race.

With their racing behind them, the drivers were finally able to cut loose. Max Verstappen, the 24-year-old Dutch driver who won the grand prize, threw a celebration at Story, a bustling neon-lit dance club in South Beach, before taking the party to E11even, a nightclub near Wynwood. district.

Lewis Hamilton hosted a party at Socialista, a private Caribbean-themed club in the Brickell area operated by Cipriani. Daniel Ricciardo, the driver made famous by Netflix’s “Formula 1: Drive to Survive,” hired a private folk band to perform for family and friends at his sprawling rental home in Davie, a town north of of Miami.

And a handful of celebrities, including LeBron James, Busta Rhymes, Jamie Foxx and Lindsey Vonn, ate uni from an ice sculpture and sipped espresso martinis at Carbone Beach, an American Express-sponsored pop-up restaurant in Miami Beach, where seating for the dinner was for $3,000. Nas performed for the posh crowd, who wore sport jackets and sequined dresses.

Diplo didn’t have to work until 1:30 am, when he was DJing a wrap-up party at Oasis, an outdoor stage in Wynwood. So he got the party started early.

His first stop, around 10 p.m., was the Fillmore Miami Beach, an Art Deco-style theater where his cronies from Khruangbin, a Houston trio that fuses rock with soul and psychedelia, were playing. The trip was productive: During the 15-minute drive to and from the Faena hotel, he prepared his playlist for later.

“I literally do a DJ set for every party I do,” he said in the backseat of his private van, dressed in a white T-shirt and camo-print cargo pants. “I never do the same series twice. It is the most annoying job. Not funny at all. I have folders with folders inside of them from more games.”

Around 11pm he returned to the Faena, which Red Bull had turned into its Formula 1 headquarters. The hotel’s opulent grounds were packed with women in their twenties in tight dresses and men in T-shirts and trucker hats. “All the girls look great, but the men dress like they’re on a bus,” Diplo said. “I mean, I dress that way, but I’m a DJ, so I can wear whatever I want.”

In the hotel’s red velvet theater, the team behind Club Space, a beloved Miami techno club, had put together an immersive dance night. Diplo made his way through the crowd, taking selfies with fans and greeting regulars. He frequently draws a rabid reception, evidence of his enduring popularity despite recent allegations of sexual misconduct, which he has denied.

“Space is where you go from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m.,” he said of the nightclub. “My friend was there at 11am today. He sent me a photo of him still dancing in the daylight.”

Diplo was there for just over an hour when his tour manager, Keaton Kinnaman, a cheerful, bearded man, took him on the 20-minute drive to Oasis.

He arrived around 1 a.m. and walked into a backstage trailer where his small crew had gathered. Diplo offered everyone a shot of Tepozán, the brand of tequila he invests in, though he didn’t drink anything himself. “We don’t have shot glasses, but we can put some in garbage bags or you can drink from the bottle,” he said.

At 1:30 a.m. sharp, Diplo took over the turntables and played an upbeat mix of house, pop, and hip-hop music, including tracks from his new album, “Diplo.” Around 2,500 fans screamed and started dancing by the time he took the stage.

“When you’re DJing, you’re moving and your senses are being challenged,” he said, just before taking the stage. “You don’t get tired because there are all these sensations.”

After he played his last song, around 3am, he was surrounded by adoring fans as he made his way back to the trailer. His love of Formula 1 cars may not have changed, but he was apparently infatuated with the Grand Prix lifestyle.

“I’m going to Monaco,” he announced in his trailer. “I’m playing Cannes, then I’m doing a wedding in Nice, then on Sunday I’m playing Jimmy’z Monte-Carlo, a big nightclub in Monaco, and then I’m going on the run.”

On top of that, he wants to get to the next Formula 1 race in the United States: Las Vegas in 2023. “Las Vegas will be hot,” he said. “They are going to crush F1. I can already tell.

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