This had been my first attendance to watch a F1 GP race live in person. Many times before I wanted to attend but I don’t really have a strong enough urge to give it a full commitment. There was a pulling factor though this time, and that pulling factor was Lotus Racing.
I bought an uncovered hillstand ticket for RM100. The ticket allowed me to attend for two days, Saturday qualifying and Sunday race, but I could only attend the Sunday race. The race was scheduled at 4.00 pm in late afternoon and there were other programmed events for the fans which began at 11.00 am. Obviously some were for VIPs and the privileged. They got to walk around the pit lane. Grand stand ticket holders got to see the happenings on the grid before the race, one of which was the drivers’ track parade. Hillstand? Well, we had the palm trees.
There was an autograph session by the F1 drivers from 12.00 pm to 1.00 pm at the circuit Welcome Centre. Drivers attended the session in a group of eight (4 teams). One group after another. Each group had about just 20 minutes with the fans. So many people so little time, only those who were early and managed to get near the tables were the lucky few. I managed to stand next to a line that cordoned an area where the cars ferrying the drivers parked and got a few clear unblocked snaps.
Once the session over, I went straight to the hillstand. There was an aerial display put up by the RMAF pilots in their Mig-29s. I had always admire Russian aircrafts, they are awesome in aerial manoeuvres. I remember seeing a Sukhoi performing a cobra manoeuvre many years ago at an aerospace exhibition in Singapore.
As usual in every F1 race, there was a warming-up lap around the circuit prior to the race start. The engines sounded kind of rough and sputtered on braking after the long straight for the sharp corner. But that was just a warming-up, the real screeching and screaming sounds was during race time, which, after more than an hour of bombardment to my eardrums, did cause me a tad bit of discomfort. Both of the Lotus cars had somehow managed to rough it out with the Virgins, touching one another in the early part of the race. Anyway both Lotus cars completed the race albeit Heikki Kovalainen was ten laps down after being in the pit with hydraulic problem. Only Jarno Trulli got a classified finished at 17th behind the other new teams, still not so bad for the Lotus team. The race was a breakthrough for Hispania Racing. Both of their drivers, Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna drove to the chequered flag finishing 15th and 16th respectively, theirs and the team first finished since the start of the 2010 season. Same goes to Lucas Di Grassi of Virgin Racing who finished 14th for the team first complete race. Timo Glock, the other Virgin driver, had a DNF. Overall there were 7 DNFs which include Michael Schumacher for having a wheel nut problem. The full race result is here:
More photographs on my flickr account here. Not so good panning though except for one or two.