After enjoying the Land of Valencia, the big weekend was getting closer...
The Formula 1 Grand Prix in Valencia!
I've never attended a F1 race, so I was really looking forward to that experience. But it should get even better by visiting the F1 Lotus box! Can you believe it? I still can't!
But let's start with the first impression! A huuuge party!
Our hotel was situated in the centre and when we arrived there, we saw ladies dressed in Ferrari outfits at the reception. I would say, that we were booked in the right hotel.
At the moment we got out of the hotel, we were able to hear the formula one cars in the distance and at the corners of the streets, you could buy shirts, flags and everything else a Formula One fan needs... As I'm more into watching the Formula 1 at home in front of the TV, while ironing or falling asleep watching the race (after a long night out), I had no need to buy any fan articles. ;-)
But there was one thing I needed! Ear plugs!
„The most important a Formula One fan needs, are ear plugs!“ everyone told me. I already found it a bit strange... but ok, I bought some, just in case. When we got to the qualifying on Saturday, we realized that our seats were at the straight, right opposite of the pit lane! Wow!
You could see and hear how everyone was checking their cars and how they started the engines to have a quick test to see if everything worked like planned. The engines screamed and just waited to finally start the race and get out on the track.
Then the qualifying started and after about 30 seconds... I used my earplugs!
The first cars left the pit and with the first run on the straight just in front of us, my ears were close to explode! At least that's how it felt. I've never stood next to a jet, but I guess it won't be different.
The F1 qualifying got 3 steps and after each step, the slowest cars drop out. In the end there is Sebastian Vettel on the pole position. That's the way it should be and how it actually even was in Valencia. :)
Luckily there are huge monitors, where you can follow the times of each driver. Otherwise you would have no clue who is in which position. After one hour of Qualifying the first fun is over and you just wait that the next 23 hours pass quite quickly until the race begins!
Sunday 11am – Race Day!
We still had a couple of hours until the race started, but my personal highlight was just minutes away!
We got Paddock Passes from the Lotus F1 Race Team!
My new best mate ;-) @VelvetEscape ran into a friend the evening before, who was in the same restaurant as we were in. He was sitting together with some guys from the Lotus F1 team. One of them was Tom Webb who does the PR work for Lotus F1. He runs the Lotus Twitter account and we travel tweeters soon had a nice topic to talk about. Even better... he invited us to an experience, which no one ever believed to have!
So the next day Tom showed us how it looks behind the scenes of a Formula 1 team. While walking through the Paddock completely fascinated, we were suddenly right in the middle of the box of the Lotus F1 Racing Team! @AdventureGirl & @InsideTravelLab even had the chance of giving instructions to the drivers & which tactics they should follow... if they wouldn't have had forgotten to plug in the headphones.
Uuups what happened then? We were suddenly on our own... right next to the cars... Tom just had to leave for a couple of minutes and asked us to enjoy the atmosphere. Nothing easier as that! @viajarcondiego rocked the house and used the time to produce a short video. I was close of using the chance not being watched and having a test run in a real Lotus. But the many buttons on the driving wheel irritated me and my nervous and shaky hands wouldn't have been able to handle them. I guess it would have been also hard to convince the mechanics to put the tyres on, which hadn't the needed temperature at that moment I liked them to have... Uuupps... you got me daydreaming...
Back to the Paddock and to the race!
After completing our tour, we were ready for the actual race! The cars left their boxes and I had a new favorite race team to support!
All the cars were lined up right in front of us, the drivers gave the last interviews and the cars were checked again. Here and there you could see a Michael Schumacher, a Fernando Alonzo, a Felipe Massa or a Sebastian Vettel.
5 minutes to go! The cars left for their warm up round and the teams rushed back to their boxes!
Then the cars appeared again and lined up for the start... The next seconds were crucial... the red lamps disappeared and the race started! The sound was massive and just a few seconds later it was all quite again! The cars were gone!
About 2 minutes later they passed by again and luckily I had my earplugs! Then stillness for another 2 minutes! This went on for the first couple of minutes until the cars were all over the race circuit and then it happened... Everyone watched the huge TV screen! An accident! Oh no! The Lotus F1 team was involved... everything happened in a few seconds and you just saw how a car drove into another one and how it got thrown over the first one.
Luckily the F1 race cars got much safer over the years and nothing really serious happened to the drivers in the end. Very soon the race ran at its usual speed again. If there wouldn't have been screens everywhere, which showed the fans the latest results, you would have had no idea which driver lead the race... Wait! There is another detail you could figure that one out! Mr @JohnONolan captured the famous Vettel finger, which showed you that he just won the race!
Excellent shot, which I would love to see much more often! ;-)