Race day is upon us! We get a bit of a lie-in today as pickup from the hotel isn’t until after 11. Much needed after the early starts and jet lag.
We arrive literally just in time for the final V8 supercars race – I mean they were on the grid, it was that close. Once the orange Vodafone car had polished off its clean sweep with its third win, we nipped out and met Arnie Webb from the Lotus 7 club for a beer and – once again, with everything clicking into place – arrived back at our seats just as the F1 drivers’ parade was hoving into view. Everything’s just working on this trip, I can’t believe how lucky we are.
Pastor Maldonado and Lewis Hamilton.
Nico Hulkenberg wonders if he can get away with pushing Fernando Alonso off the rail with all these people watching.
And then, before we know it, it’s race time! Lewis storms into the lead, Webber defends against Alonso and Grosjean comes together with Rosberg. Further back, Pic and Kovalainen tangle, letting Timo Glock take the pair of them. Bringing up the rear of an awful first lap for Force India (with Hulkenberg already in the wall), Paul di Resta loses a tyre:
On lap 2, Lewis goes wide but manages to hang onto the lead:
Whilst further down the field, Sebastian Vettel clashes with Bruno Senna sending shards of fibreglass everywhere:
Following, Nico Rosberg picks his way through the debris:
Not wanting to bring out the safety car so soon, marshals take their lives into their hands by running onto a live track to pick up the pieces:
Out of our sight, Rosberg smashed heavily into the back of Narain Karthikeyan’s ailing HRT, taking off and flying over the top of him, bringing out the first safety car. On the restart, Sebastian Vettel, who had indeed been penalised after qualifying and had started from the pit lane, steams past the HRT of Pedro de la Rosa, closely followed by the recovering Paul di Resta:
Then, oh no! Lewis’s car drifts to a halt, a gearbox problem robbing him of a surely certain victory! Tragic for McLaren, but great news for Lotus as Kimi Raikkonen inherits the lead! He would keep his position through the second safety car period and onto the end of the race, to score his first win since his comeback, and Lotus’s first win (in name at least) since Ayrton Senna’s 1987 win at Detroit.
Here he is on his victory lap. As he passes, his name scrolls across the Yas Hotel!
Ah, what a day! I’m so chuffed to have done this
Right, while everything’s being cleared away, let’s see if we can get a spot of dinner and sneak it into the main grandstand again to see what’s going on in the pit lane.
Interesting cultural difference: when offered a sandwich by a food-stall server, it completely throws them if you ask what is *in* the sandwich. They genuinely didn’t understand the question. “Well it’s a sandwich, what more do you need to know?” was the unspoken reply written on their faces. Here is a whole nation that will never understand the joy of bacon, egg and mustard lovingly hugged by two slabs of wholemeal perfection. I envy your logistical mastery but you have a lot to learn about the gustatory orgasm.
Though having said that, the vegetable wrap I ended up with was specTACular. But never mind that – there’s noseying to be done…
Ooo look, there’s Alain Prost in the winning Lotus garage.
Ooo, and isn’t that Damon Hill, with Johnny Herbert? Yes it is, and that’s Simon Lazenby the Sky guy with them.
Ah, now we’re talking. Here are the BBC lot – Jake Humphrey, Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard – recording the “red button” forum.
and now DC does a piece to camera. My camera
….aaaand now the polite security guy is ushering us away again, giving us just enough time to walk the length of the circuit for the final concert of the weekend.
I really can’t stand hip-hop, all that dastardly braggardly bigging-up and flicking your fingers like a twat. You don’t look hard when you do that, you look like a frightened little boy trying to disguise the fact that you’ve just pissed your Spiderman pants.
But despite all that, I have to say Eminem was fantastic. I don’t know how or why, he just was. I came away on a floaty high that book-ended the trip beautifully. And we casually walked onto a courtesy bus and went home. Painlessly. As we had done the entire trip.
And then we got back to Heathrow and had a half-hour queue for immigration. Welcome home