Well, It’s not actually Day 2 of the British Grand Prix anymore, but going to these huge events take up a lot of your day, and after walking the whole circuit on the Friday, taking in the sights and sounds of both F1 practise sessions, the 50th Anniversary Heritage Pits and both the Porsche Super Cup and GP2 practise sessions, you get pretty tired.
We walked approximately 8 kilometers, were on our feet from about quarter to 9 in the morning, and didn’t get home again until about 8 in the evening, but was it worth it?
For those people who think the Grand Prix is a bunch of expensive rubbish, watching cars fizz past for a couple of hours, think again. It was an incredible experience.
Of course it’s not going to be everyone cup of tea, but both my good lady and myself thoroughly enjoyed watching F1 Live, in the flesh, and all the other stuff that goes with it. Here’s what we got up to;
First up, first practise at 10am. We got into the circuit at about 9, went and bought some souvenirs and then proceeded to the first grandstand we could find to take in some of the action on track.
Having roaming grandstand tickets, we took full advantage of our ability to get into any seated area that we could, so made a beeline for Woodcote and the view of cars ripping up the national pit straight.
The camera was going like a machine gun, as hero’s hammered past – until Massa decided to put his Williams in the wall and bring out the Red flag. We didn’t see it, as it happened over the other side of the circuit, but it gave us and everyone else the opportunity to move viewing locations in the break, so we quick marched up to Copse, and used our Heritage tickets to get into Centre North.
Centre North is the internal part of the circuit, which you normally can’t access. With the passes, we were able to mosey about in the national paddock, peek in to the garages of the GP2 and Porsche teams and take in the 50th Grand Prix displays, but that wasn’t before we finished watching first practise.
After about 20 minutes, the cars came back out and began lapping again. We took position on a hill of the Copse bend, to watch the cars blast past at about 100 mph. We got chatting to a marshall who gave us a few tips of what to go and see, and again the camera was working over time.
I shot over 300 images during first practise – most of them rubbish. I love digital photography!
Images from Woodcote and Copse:
Next, the heritage display, which I’ll write about in another blog, and made our way down to Maggots and Becketts for the second practise.
We had read about Maggots and Becketts before we bought our tickets, as this part of the circuit is one of the best positions to watch the racing, and boy those reviews weren’t wrong. Seeing the cars speed through that river of tarmac is an incredible sight, whether you are watching from the grandstand, or from behind the fence on either side. Nothing short of spectacular. The way the cars lean into the corners under the forces that are at work is brilliant – especially as you wouldn’t think an F1 car would actually change it’s attitude that much. How they actually stick to the tarmac is magical. Wonderful machines.
Moving on from Becketts and following the cars down the Hanger Straight, where you are stood watching them hammer past at full throttle almost 1,000 metres into Stowe Corner.
At this point of the circuit, you are about 10 meters away from the cars. Which is another incredible sensation. I’ve watch RB8’s blast down the streets of Milton Keynes during a street display, after the team won their first championship back in 2010 – that was close quarters and impressive, but just not the same as this.
This was real racing not some showoff session.
And finally, that brings me onto the noise. There had been a lot of hoohar about the noise of the new F1 cars this season; plenty of opinions about them being to quiet and not loud enough and that F1 should be about the noise. Even the mighty Bernie Eccelscake has made numerous comments on how he want the cars to return to their 2013 volume…but I like the noise.
Put it this way: Who wants to wear ear plugs when you go to see your favourite band?
Not me. I want to hear and experience the band playing naked, not through some sponge stuffed in my lug holes, and the volume of these new cars is just about bearable with no acoustic protection.
It’s not quiet, it drowns out the noise of the crowd and the commentator on the tannoy, but more importantly, you can hear whats going on. Tyre squeal, kerb vibration, lock ups, power slides, cheering. And as a bonus, it doesn’t make you feel ill.
I didn’t wear any earplugs for the GP2 race the following day, and felt a little queezy towards the end, due to the noise mashing my eardrums for an hour. I’m not keen on that.
Instead, We got to enjoy the meaty sounding growl of the 2014 F1 and couldn’t wait to get back for more the next day!
Images from Maggots, Becketts and the Hanger Straight:
Images not for use without prior permission.