Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Visit to Germany...

As many of you know I have had some time off over the last couple of weeks, and I am currently in Karlsruhe, Germany enjoying the last of my time before I have to head back to work (where is that lottery win when you really want it?)
So, why Karlsruhe? Well, as we have no children until the middle of August Ben and I thought we would spend some time doing things that we want to do, and it just happened that the Hockenheim Grand Prix was this weekend, so obviously we had to get ourselves along to this fabulous event J
We flew back from the UK on Friday and drove from Zurich airport directly to Karlsruhe (there was no hope of booking a hotel nearer, but this has worked out well for us so all is good), arriving at the hotel about 1am. Luckily for us, although there is a pretty full programme throughout both days (starting at 8:35am on Saturday, yeuch!!!), the F1 stuff starts at a much more civilised time.
Breakfast on Saturday consisted of bagels from Coffee Fellows at the station, before getting a direct train to Hockenheim station. There were shuttle buses running from the station to the Hockenheimring and the service was excellent, quick and easy.
We watched the qualifying rounds and it started raining in Q2 and then seriously chucked it down in Q3 so the times for Q2 and 3 were much slower than in Q1. Thankfully we were in the covered area of the Sud-Tribune so didn’t get wet (although it was windy and a bit chilly). We watched part of the GP2 racing, by which point the track had dried up again, but didn’t stick it out for too long and missed the GP3 racing as we were both shattered and wanted to be sure to be up for the main race on Sunday. I think the grid girls were very pleased that the rain had stopped before they had to come out, it can’t be much fun for them if it’s raining. Much fun was had on the way out where we spent some time at the merchandise stands deciding what to get. I wanted to get a Maclaren top of some sort, but wasn’t that keen on any of them. However, Ben and the boys all have tops now – check out the one for the munchkin that doesn’t support Maclaren – Ferrari for Marcus, can you believe it?!!!
Lewis in the wet - Q3

Merchandise and mementos
               After a particularly bad nights sleep on Saturday (partly due to injuries from Centerparcs) we couldn’t face rushing to get to the track in time for  the final GP2 and 3 races, but did make it there in time to see the Porsche racing. They looked like little Matchbox cars, and with all the different liveries they had they looked very pretty.

And they're off!!!
First corner carnage... :o)
The winner...
The weather was fantastic, although the wind picked up again over the course of the afternoon so it was a bit cool in the stands at times.
The build up for the F1 race was great, first we had the drivers parade, in which all the drivers get on the back of a lorry that takes them round the track. Ben took photos and was very disappointed that he couldn’t see Lewis Hamilton (we eventually spied him on the photos – obscured by the giant F1 flag).
Jenson's head poking up on the right in the red cap :-)

Lewis hiding at the back behind the flag...
This was followed by the grid presentation, which we missed part of as we thought it a good time to get a bit of sunshine, ice-cream and stretch the legs a bit before the two hours of racing to follow.
Then it was time for the national anthem and the main race. We had a big screen to our left, so we could see what was showing on the TV, and we had a pretty good view of a few sections of the track. We had a great view of the guys going into the pits as well, so saw the state of Hamilton's tyre when he came in towards the end of lap 2. We didn’t hire Fan Vision, as I figured we’d just get totally distracted by it, and to be honest with the noise of the cars as they go round I doubt we’d have been able to hear the commentary anyway – we certainly couldn’t hear the commentary that was being broadcast around the track (German or English).
Grid girls happy with the better weather on race day
Ready to go...
Mr Hamilton has a touch of tyre trouble lap 2
OK, so Button was a lap ahead, but it made a good photo :o)
Alonso on his lap of honour
Schumacher on his way back in
All in all, a fabulous weekend – and definitely worth doing again. Would I do anything different next time? Probably not – other than maybe design some tops for Maclaren so there would be one that I would wear more than once.

Oh, and Ben and I also went for dinner on the Monday evening at the hotel - complete with a candle, so that's one to cross off my 101 list :o)

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