She is one of the biggest pop stars in the world, but Rihanna still likes to mingle.
Rumours swirled throughout the F1 VIP Lounge – an invite-only party space behind the du Arena – that RiRi would be paying a visit to unwind after her race-day performance on Sunday.
The lounge had already had its share of celebrities. Paris Hilton strolled around with a helper as she surveyed the latest kicks from New Balance.
We were able to find out how she always manages to take the perfect selfie.
When a gushing fan approached the heiress – and sometimes DJ – for a picture, Hilton helped by producing what looked like a portable purse-sized lamp and placed it on top of the fan’s phone – so, the trick is to come armed with your own lighting rig.
R&B star Akon was also in the house. He was not hard to miss – clad in white, swanning around the space as he mingled with his crew.
Then news of Rihanna’s impending arrival broke. Side doors opened and a mini army of security guards arrived and formed a semi-circle around a set of couches reserved for the pop queen.
Bemused, Rihanna’s muscle man ordered the battalion to turn around so they had their backs to her.
The back door, which leads to Rihanna’s green room, opened and she entered with her entourage.
Dressed in a dazzling loose-fitting top, Rihanna seemed horrified at the human ring surrounding her throne. After chastising one of her security officials, she slipped out on her own and strolled around the lounge unaccompanied.
It was a sight to give any bodyguard a cold sweat. Even more shocked was the crowd; they created a path for Rihanna as she made her way to greet Akon.
After 20 minutes, she had had enough and exited the lounge accompanied by her entourage.
One person rolling with the pop princess stood out for all the wrong reasons. He was wearing an obscene fur coat, gilded sunglasses and was guided by a security guard as he was too busy filming himself on Snapchat to know where he was going.
“Yo, is that Omarion?” I asked as he walked past. The R&B singer looked up and grinned: “Hey, man what’s up?”
The last surreal encounter happened about 2am. The F1 Lounge had closed and myself and a friend were heading for a taxi outside a virtually empty du Arena. Almost like an apparition, strolling down Yas Leisure Drive was a man dressed all in white.
It was Akon. Flanked by his crew, he walked down the road heading away from the clubs and hotels. It seemed like he was planning to head into the city on foot.
A fan asked for a picture, but unfortunately Akon smiled and shook his head. Almost apologetically, his friend added: “He is just walking.”