Emma E. Rouge’s The Silverstone Diary (Part 2)
After dinner with Red Bull Racing on Thursday, Friday and Saturday saw some track action.
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Friday of the British Grand Prix and although it looked like sun this was because a positively Arctic gale was blowing across the track and pushing the clouds away.
But me and the other badgers braved the cold (some in shorts!) and headed to the track to see the new Red Bull nose and our first glimpse of the Brawn car in the flesh, well in the carbon fibre if we’re being technical. And whilst the Red Bull impressed all with fastest and second fastest lap going to Vettel and Webber respectively the Brawn failed to set me on fire, whilst there’s no doubting it has a striking livery and Jenson’s smooth driving can be spotted a mile off, it wasn’t particularly quick and didn’t seem to have the pace or the grip of the Red Bulls. In fact it was here that we learnt Jenson’s smooth driving style was going against him as he simply couldn’t get the tyres up to the right temperature whereas Rubens ‘the plough’ was all over the place enough to rough up his Bridgestones and get some grip out of them. FP1 also saw unlucky Piquet further outcast himself from his team when he ‘pulled a Piquet’ and spun out for no obvious reason.
For FP2 we left Luffield and headed over to Becketts, an incredible double corner that saw the drivers whip through it like ping pong balls. I find practice at the Grand Prix is not just a chance for the drivers to practice for race day but also the spectators, it certainly always gives me the chance to learn the helmet or antennae colours properly so come race day I know who I am looking at.
Within two practice sessions I could pick out Button and Vettel at high speed and therefore by default Barrichello and Webber.
A wander round the track saw F1 Badger’s official photographer Ciaran Buttonham use the most precious of all photography accessories – the wheelie bin!
And it amused me to see Brawn merchandise stalls mobbed whilst tumbleweed blew across the Ferrari stalls and employees twiddled their thumbs.
Most hilarious of all was this blatant example and affirmation of Badger’s previous article regarding Flavio’s mistreatment of Nelson Piquet Junior, because whilst all the other team merchandise stalls were named after the teams, Renault chose to name theirs after Flavio’s beloved Fernando Alonso, hmm.
Saturday looked more promising and, clad in shorts and flip-flops we made our way to Luffield terrace, parked our chairs to the sound of the Porsche Supercup qualifying, which with such a close pack due to all the cars being the same and overtaking left right and centre, was actually quite exciting. A quick ham roll and some tasty sour cream and chive pretzels later and it was time for the F1 qualifying. Now I really enjoy qually; its fast paced, small mistakes cost big and watching it live with a leader board that only gives you one to eight with no hope of hearing the Silverstone radio due to the constant stream of cars means only a sketchy idea of what’s going on and your main clue to who’s been knocked out in Q1 is to spot who doesn’t rock up for Q2! I have to say I was disappointed with Button’s position and right until the end, was kinda convinced he would pull something out of the bag, but as in practice he just couldn’t get heat into his tyres.
A relaxing late afternoon back in our palatial tent to give our eardrums a rest and because although I enjoy the Porsche’s, sadly GP2 and Formula BMW just don’t do it for me and it was back to Luffield for some well deserved (and highly over-priced) beers and the Historic Sports car qualifying (which I will be honest, after maybe a few too many Swedish pear ciders previously, we all thought was the Historic Sports Car race and didn’t notice it wasn’t until the next day!) This was great, there were cars of all different eras, sizes, colours….! A couple were so small they appeared to just come up to the driver’s waists and these competed against 80s monstrosities that were larger than some people’s flats!
Some people hate the old cars, loathing their slow and quiet persona’s but I think they’re fabulous and a great back-drop to a few chilled out drinks before sunset in what is otherwise a pretty hectic weekend. In high spirits and looking forward to watching Button claw himself up from 6th to the top of the podium we raucously watched the sun set over grandstand before a couple of very polite security men informed us nothing else would be going round the track that day and it was time to head back to the Sett, where after several hours of putting the world of formula one to rights and having sorted that moving onto the actual world we fell into bed, thinking 4 hours sleep before we get up to nab good spots…..that’s enough right?