British GP 2011 – Saturday

I decided ages before the race that I wouldn’t go to Silverstone for the British GP, but two weeks before the event I found myself scouring eBay for bargain tickets. I couldn’t find any good deals for race tickets but a twitter friend found a general admission ticket for qualifying for £60 including parking so I decided to go ahead and get it. When the ticket arrived I was slightly dubious about the authenticity of the ticket as it stated general admission with central admission and corporate hospitality. I was amazed to see that you get general and central admission on the same ticket! There was a dress code printed on the ticket, which presented a dilemma. I’m used to packing as many layers as possible all to be topped with a Kimi t-shirt & cap, so compromised with putting comfy trainers and a cap in my bag for whenever I wasn’t in the suite!

A few days later I found myself driving around the perimeter road on the Saturday morning of the grand prix. I still thought the ticket might be a fake but at least I didn’t have to walk far back to the car as the parking was just behind the old pit straight! I needed have worried as the ticket was real and got me straight through into the circuit and under Copse tunnel towards the centre.

The next hurdle was getting into Brooklands hospitality, so I decided to go straight there to see if I would be let in or not. And low and behold, I got straight in without the security giving me a second thought! Result 🙂 As it turned out I was the first person into the hospitality suite and was the only person until quite a bit later.  The suite was lovely, with a goody bag including radio and programme for every guest. A tv on the wall showed the action as well as interviews by the commentators, and there was a table with loads of food & drinks. I had a lovely breakfast before going out onto the balcony to see what kind of view the suite had.

Well the view turned out to be one of the best round the circuit, I’m sure of it! The suite was a couple of floors up so no fences were in the way, and the angle of the building meant that people on the surrounding balconies did not block the view either. To the left, cars could be seen thundering down the Wellington Straight and to the right a great view of the complex from Brooklands, through Luffield and Woodcote.

I stayed in the suite watching the support practices/qualifying and the third F1 free practice, before going for a wander down to the little bit of general admission between Becketts & Aintree. I watched the Porsche’s from here which was actually quite a good place as you saw them so often at one side or the other. Unfortunately I don’t find the Porsche’s particularly exciting and I was right by the road going to the new paddock so I did a bit of celebrity spotting. I was amused by the Stagecoach buses taking people to the paddock, but there was also a fleet of Audi’s taking VIPs up and down. I even saw a Range Rover with JYS on the number plate so I’m taking that as I saw Jackie Stewart 😉

I headed back to the suite for the F1 qualifying, by which time the other guests had arrived. Dinner had been served so I sat down with a plate of gorgeous food, to chat with the other guests. The food was really nice, there was even caviar (I didn’t like that though!), so I would have hated to pay the full price for one of these tickets. The other guests didn’t really have a clue about F1 so I told them a bit about what happens in qualifying and who drives which car. I tried not to sound condescending, but I really couldn’t believe that some of the best seats in the house were being taken up by people not really interested! I imagine the Paddock Club is quite similar, and it’s just a shame that the real fans don’t get to enjoy the finer side of the sport that they love.

Qualifying was amazing, the sound of the cars was so loud and it was great to see the cars going into Brooklands. I only wish I had more than iPhone with me at the time to take some good photos. Next year I will!

The day didn’t end with that chequered flag, as after qualifying I went to meet up with the lovely @Kazb711, who I have spoken to a lot on twitter but had never been able to meet in person before. She was with her friend Korin and we all met up with Dom (who used to post his adventures here occasionally before setting up his own blog)  before having a good look around the merchandise stands. We also bumped into Heikki Kovalainen!

To finish the day off I watched some of the GP3 from Luffield before heading home. The only negative of the whole day was the lack of signs in the car park to the exit and I ended up going the wrong way out of the circuit, compared to where I wanted to be. I should have gone back the way I came in but I thought signed exits would be the better way to go. I know for next time!

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