British Grand Prix - 6th, 7th and 8th July 2007

I've already written about the Friday practice below so I will now tell you about Qualifying on Saturday and the Race on Sunday.

As we only decided to attend the Friday practice last week we did not have a hotel room booked so we drove to Silverstone and back in a day. This meant an early start for us on Saturday morning and we left the house at about 7am. It's normally only a 1.5 hour journey to Silverstone but 10 miles from the track we hit traffic and were queueing for 2.5 hours before we parked. We were at this point annoyed and frustrated but once we got to the track that all vanished.

We had missed the morning practice session due to the traffic but we got there to watch the Porsche Supercup qualifying followed by the Blue Eagles helicopter display team. The helicopters were a bit rubbish to be honest. It was impressive to see a helicopter do a loop and a barrel roll but to be honest that was about all they did. The Porsche qualifying was much better.

At 1pm the F1 qualifying started. Three sessions of 15 minutes where all the drivers get the opportunity to do their fastest laps, with the slowest drivers being eliminated until there are just 10 left for the final session. The last session is the one that counts and all the drivers really push the cars. It looked like Raikkonen was going to get pole position and Hamilton (our hero) was only going to be 4th, when 30 seconds from the end of the session he did the fastest lap. It was very exciting and I think all 95,000 people there cheered at once. There were air horns and cheers following Hamilton round the track after the lap and he seemed very happy with his performance.

After qualifying we left the track to find our hotel which was in Bicester, about 15 miles away.

As we had experienced traffic jam hell getting to the circuit on Saturday morning we decided that an early start was required for the Sunday. For this reason we set the alarm for an unhealthy 05:30!! It's a good job I didn't have much to drink on the Saturday evening or it could have been ugly!

We arrived at Silverstone at about 06:30, went round the roundabout and were directed away from the circuit to a field about 2 miles away!!!! We didn't realise they would be filling the far distant car parks first and now had a 2 mile walk to the track!!! Not a good start!!!

Once we reached Silverstone we grabbed a bite to eat and found a place to watch the race. We were at the end of Club corner and raised up enough to see over the fence so I could get nice photographs without the fences getting in the way. It is here that we sat from 07:30 until the race started at 1pm. We had to do this as if we moved our place would have been instantly filled by someone else. It's a good job we were early!

You may think that it would have been boring to sit there for so long but no. There was plenty to watch. First we had the GP2 race. These are the class below Formula 1 and although they are very fast they smell like fireworks. The racing was good though and one of the drivers was Bruno Senna, nephew of the late great Ayrton Senna.

Next came the Porsche GT Supercup. Again, very exciting racing which was won by a Brit. All good stuff.

We then had a display by the Red Arrows. I have not seen the Red Arrows since I was a small boy and Victoria and I were really impressed by them. It was very exciting and much better than the Blue Eagles.

At 11:30 we had the drivers parade lap. All the drivers stand on the back of a lorry and get driven round the track. It's about the only time you get to actually see more than their helmets and gloved hands.

The time waiting for the F1 race also flew by because of the great atmosphere. There were people from different countries, supporting different drives and teams and all getting on really well, taking the piss out of each other in a good natured way and just generally enjoying the experience.

Finally, 1pm arrived and the start of the race. After the warm up lap......Massa stalled on the grid so we had another warm up lap, but after that the race was off.

Unless you have even actually heard an F1 car for real you can't possible understand how loud they are, and when you hear 22 of them all going past you at full speed on the first lap you will be in much pain unless you have earplugs in. It's an amazing experience. You first hear a distant whine which gets louder and louder as the cars get closer. When they pass you the ground shakes and even though you are wearing earplugs you can feel you clothes and your body vibrate because of the noise. Even with earplugs the cars are loud. Probably as loud as you would imagine they are if you had only seen them on TV. They are of course much louder than you think.

Hamilton lead the race until his first pit stop, after which Raikkonen got past him and went on to win the race. Personally I think they used the wrong types for Hamilton's car. It would have been nice if Hamilton had won but it didn't really spoil the day. The experience of being at Grand Prix can't be spoiled just because your favourite driver does not win.

We left after the Grand Prix. The journey home took approx 3 hours which was not too bad really.

Victoria and I really enjoyed the whole weekend. If Victoria was not pregnant we would have already booked our seats for next year. We can't leave a six month old child with our parents though so we will be going the year after. We think we will go for the grandstand seats next time. You don't get to see as much racing but you do get the start, finish, pit stops and the podium.

Going to a Grand Prix is an amazing experience. Even if you do not particularly like motor sport (and don't mind spending at least £99 on a ticket!!) I would recommend you go at least once in your life. I guess it's like going to a world cup final except F1 is more fun!! :-)

I took 587 photographs over the weekend. The cars go past so quickly that I was firing off 3 or 4 every time one went by just to make sure I got a good one. I have since whittled them down to 167 which is more reasonable! I they are all on Flickr and you can see them here.

I also uploaded four short videos to YouTube which you can watch here, here, here and here.

Oh yes, I forgot to say, I'm so lucky to have a wife that loves Formula 1 as much as I do. :-)


David Callaghan said…
Beep beep chuga chuga BIG RED CAR

(anyone with Kids will know this phrase)

Popular Posts