The India Grand Prix: a birthday gift from my wife and mother-in-law. But due to family illness – everyone was laid flat by the flu – I had to attend race day alone. Nonetheless, I got quite excited about this. It is F1 after all.
A Grand Prix is an exciting day out, a festival of speed, air displays, celebrity spotting, a bonanza of overpriced but quite cool merchandising, lots of bad-for-you-but-tastes-good food, and a tremendous atmosphere for such a spread-out open-air event. You never quite know what to expect.
But the India Grand Prix has been suffering from well documented problems, and this whole experience was none of those anticipated things.
It was eerie, misty, cool, strange and vacant when I arrived. The heat grew quickly and the smog deepened, and a listlessness spread over the circuit. This was day three of the event but it was still being put together, as if I had come the day before it all started.
Eventually the scorching midday sun passed into a breezy afternoon and the race got closer, and my trackside position benefited from the massively undersold grandstands and empty green knolls, on which one could (and many track & circuit workers did, alongside the guests) lay back and doze in the smoggy sun.
I did not join those sleeping on the grass. I scouted out the best places for the action, drank galloons of water and a beer or two. The first hint of anything happening for real arrived in the form of the driver’s presentation lap. I got to see close up some familiar famous faces.
Then it was Lights Out, and the Grand Prix race itself was edge of your seat stuff: being this close made you appreciate the speed and danger of the drivers in their cars, the forces at work, the engineering. Now the day came alive - and the crowd was enthusiastic, punching way above it’s weight. Roaming the entire south side of the circuit I got the camera into some nice positions.
Not as nice as some…
Boy, I forgot how loud these cars are.
The local hero…
Separated by tenth’s of seconds…
There were drivers I have followed for years, great teams, famous marques…
It was an added bonus to see a Wolrd Championship decided here as well.
..and is rapidly becoming the racing legend his potential claimed he would be.
There were smoking doughnut’s on the home straight before he jumped out of the car and saluted it and the crowd. He got fined heavily for that.
And cheers & tears all round. By the end of the day the sun set orange and early through the smog and the mosquitoes came out as if sensing their brief existence was coming to an end, so we just fled the circuit and came home. An interesting experience. The title of the post was inspired by my son’s reaction to looking at the photos. As usual, double click the image for a full size experience!