Sunday at Silverstone
The final part in our columnist, Emma E Rouge’s British Grand Prix Diaries.
After 4 days of camping and looking forward to the main event, it’s time for the Sunday afternoon of racing…
An early start and a dash to Luffield stand for a good spot to unfurl our camping chairs found us not to, in fact have not been early enough with the stand already packed by 9am. Finding a good(ish) spot, we settled in with bacon sarnies and crisps for the 4 hour wait until the race start with the Porsches (yay) and the GP2 (yawn) to keep us ‘entertained’. As time passed the stand filled and filled, the marshals became ever increasingly more annoyed at people ‘trespassing’ on the grassy area at the front of the stand to get in and out and by 11am we were starting to get restless and people were complaining to the security guards about overcrowding. Rumours then began to rip through the crowd that Silverstone had oversold the stand by almost double and the gates to it were now closed, a war-time feeling of solidarity settled in at this point and after some shuffling about directed by a very harassed looking crowd official we all had our 10cm square spot from which to watch the race and the drivers parade began.
The parade was great, a predictably mumbled interview with Kimi Raikkonen, a buoyed up Vettel and a realistic Jenson being told he could do it and not to be negative by an obviously psyched Lewis Hamilton who seemed to blossom with every cheer and standing ovation he received. Whilst there was no doubting the support for Jenson Button, it would appear there is still al lot of love amongst the British fans for Lewis Hamilton, as there should be – the guy’s the world champion! For every brand new shiny Brawn cap or t-shirt at Luffield, there was a beloved McLaren one and I would fathom support was at fifty fifty between the two of them. But seeing Lewis smiling and genuinely looking happier than he has at a race all season was great, and he rewarded us with a doughnut at the end of the race, stating later he could handle the fine! Most hilarious was Nelson Piquet photographing the crowd, it makes me worry he feels this could be his last F1 season, but lets hope not!
Suddenly with a roar the Red Arrows were above us and they put on a spectacular display, having never seen them before I was gripped and the crowd oohed and ahhed as they dipped and dived making shapes in the sky and flying directly towards each other at high speeds only pulling away at the last minute.
The race was gripping and I spent much of it willing Jenson to go faster but it was a no deal, and whilst Vettel happily slipped into the Button role building up insanely huge leads at the front of the pack, much of the first half of the race I was focused on Barrichello. Rubens ‘the plough’ had a good start but then began losing time and with an eager Rosberg behind him who was being chased down by Massa himself. It looked as though the Brazilian wanted to have a tough fight to the podium. Radio contact from BMW told Rosberg to ‘stop making mistakes and get past him’ and I can only assume this was passed onto Rubens who after this point took off and seemed to show some of the un-catchable Brawn flair that had previously been missing from the weekend.
The last 10 laps and not only had Rosberg been unable to catch Barrichello he had also conceded a place to Massa and was sitting in 5th with Button behind him who on soft tyres started to gain on Rosberg. At Luffield we became gripped to Silverstone radio and our eyes scanned the horizon for Button and Rosberg’s appearance out of bridge and into priory. Each lap Jenson appeared sooner after Rosberg smashing the gap between them from 6 seconds to 0.4seconds in just four laps, one lap from the end they were tail to nose, my feet hardly touched the ground as I jumped up and down squealing like a loser in the hope Button would overtake, and it was that age old adage of ‘well if the race had been just a few laps longer he’d have taken Rosberg.’ But he didn’t, mind you 6th isn’t bad and he’s still top of the championship. And lets not take anything away from Vettel, who drove an amazing race with the new and much improved Red Bull ‘platypus’ shaped front nose and wing.
After the race there were more historic cars and a display from the RAF typhoon (Eurofighter) which was incredible, we could actually see clouds appear across the wings as it accelerated through the sound barrier!
The British Grand Prix then, it was a great day out, not just the races or just the F1, the aero displays, the brass band parade, the historic car racing it all kept us entertained and we even developed affection for the Silverstone radio presenters and their calls of CHAMPAGNE every time a podium happened, it was certainly nice to have a break from Legard! And best of all was cheering up Lewis Hamilton!
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Ps. Trains may not have been present at Silverstone, but Barrichello created a metaphorical one with Rosberg and Massa behind…