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Paddock Club Diaries - 2018 Belgian GP - Day 2

Spa - Francorchamps is one circuit where a spectator loves the early mornings. I love the mist that settles around the Ardennes offering a cold yet blissful view. I headed out from Aachen at 630 in the morning to behold this.

Enroute to the Circuit :


The Sun breaking through the morning mist...this is the Beauty of Spa!


I missed the early morning Pit Lane Walk thanks to the traffic coming into the circuit.

The Paddock Club opened its doors for the guests and it was time to look forward to an exciting day ahead of Practice and Qualifying!

Coffee and Croissants to start the day :


I decided to head down to the F1 Village for some shopping and had a chance to meet Paddy Lowe briefly.

Paddy Lowe of Williams Martini F1 Racing Team :


The F1 Village, one of the Best Villages in the year. There is such buzz about the place :


I returned from my shopping spree and I had the privilege of being on the F2 Tour and visit the MP Motorsport Garage.


MP Motorsport F2 Car Systems check ( Video Link ) :



Some more shots of the F2 Paddock, a lot more access and easier to meet drivers and team personnel :


I also had the chance of meeting fraternity from GP3.

Callum Illot, Scuderia Ferrari Academy Driver in GP3 :


Jean Alesi, ex Ferrari F1 Driver :


The tour ended and I rushed back just in time for FP3.

Shots from Free Practice 3. 


Sebastian Vettel topped the timesheets from Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton. FP3 ended and it was time for the second pit lane walk of the day.

The second Pit Lane walk of the Day :


I also got a Paddock Pass thanks to Ferrari and went for a stroll in the Paddock.

The local hero and McLaren F1 Driver Stoffel Vandoorne :


Toni Vilander, Cmore F1 co-presenter and a close friend of Kimi Raikkonen :


Felix Rosenqvist, Mahindra Formula E Racer and Porsche GT Racer!


Belgian Air Force practicing for the Fly Past on Sunday :


Lunch :


It was soon time for Qualifying. I was able to capture shots only from Q1 since I spent the next two sessions in the garage.

Kimi Raikkonen was fastest in Q1 while Sebastian Vettel topped Q2. However the weather changed drastically and it started pouring in Q3. Shockingly Ferrari fueled Kimi for only one timed lap and as the rain eased off towards the end of the session, the Iceman was stuck in the garage and dropped from P2 to P6 on the grid! Lewis Hamilton took pole from Sebastian Vettel and Esteban Ocon! The latter was a huge surprise as Racing Point timed it right with their lap. Kimi was livid, distraught and going through a range of emotions. Ferrari had messed it up again :(


Post Qualifying, Ferrari's Reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi came for a quick Q&A :


The Interview ( Video Link ) :



Kimi Raikkonen followed soon after. He was not in a very good mood and understandably so..


Kimi Raikkonen Q&A ( Video Link ) :



Formula 2 Feature Race follows soon after qualifying and is one of the most exciting support races of a F1 weekend.

Time for the Formula 2 Feature Race :


Feature Race Start :



I decided to walk back to the Taxi Stand and as I passed through the Support Races Paddock, I saw a couple of interesting things.

Now that is one way to deck up a Segway! 


Tadsuke Makino, Russian Time F2 Driver :


Time to head back to Aachen :


It was a great day at the Belgian Grand Prix. There was immense disappointment with the strategic error made by Ferrari with Kimi Raikkonen but all was not lost. Sunday is what mattered...

Once again thank you to Scuderia Ferrari and Edge Global Events for the amazing hospitality. The Sunday Experience follows soon!

Paddock Club Diaries - 2018 Belgian GP - Day 1

The second race I had the opportunity of attending in 2018 was the Belgian Grand Prix. Its become like an annual pilgrimage to be at Spa - Francorchamps simply because of how beautiful and amazing the track layout is. The weather is always impeccable not to mention the history of racing at this circuit.

Here is a small recap of how the weekend unfolded, starting with Friday.

My friend invited me over for dinner at the Radisson Blu in Spa on Thursday night. Scuderia Ferrari Team personnel stay there as well and my race passes were ready for pickup.

The Race Passes for the weekend :


I also had the opportunity of meeting 2 drivers at the hotel.

Sergio Perez, Racing Point Force India F1 Team :


The Professor! Alain Prost :


Friday morning was an early start from the Pullman in Aachen ( Germany ), a different destination to travel from. 

Enroute to the circuit. Friday Morning was really cold in Spa :


The Taxi service drops you a fair distance from the Circuit entrance, so be prepared to walk a bit : 


The Pit lane walk is the first event of the day for the guests since the Paddock Club doesn't open until 930 in the morning.

Shots from the Pit Lane Walk :

Scuderia Ferrari F1 Garage during the Pit Lane Walk :


Some teams also indulged in Pit Stop Practices.

McLaren F1 and Haas F1 Team Pit Stop Practices ( Video Link ) :




Racing Point Force India F1 Team Pit Stop Practice ( Video Link ) :



The Pit lane walk done and it was time to enjoy the sessions from the comfort of our suite :


The Motorhomes neatly arranged on Friday morning, ready for the weekend!


Free Practice 1 underway :


Scuderia Ferrari F1 during FP1 :


Sebastian Vettel was the fastest from Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton in FP1. Kimi Raikkonen was P4.


The lunch menu!


Lunch is served!


Desserts! The Mousse is unbelievable!!


Marc Gene visits us in the Ferrari F1 Suite for a quick rundown of the session and the experience gained from it by the team.


Soon it was time for the 2nd Pit Lane Walk of the day!


I got a chance to meet Renault Sport Academy and Russian Time F2 Driver Artem Markelov!


Time for some GoPro Action in the Pit Lane!


It was then time to head back and get ready for Free Practice 2 :


Kimi Raikkonen was the Fastest in FP2 followed by Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.


I was down in the garage for the second half of FP2 and had an opportunity of taking in the sights of the Paddock :


I was loitering around the Paddock when I suddenly spotted Kimi Raikkonen walking towards me! I requested for a selfie..this was followed by a pause and then an "OK" My Day was made!!!


It didn't end there. I met many other famous figures from the Racing world.

Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing F1 Team Principal :


Mika Salo, ex-F1 Driver and now a FIA Steward :


Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal Williams Martini F1 Racing Team :


Karun Chandok, ex-F1 Driver and Presenter for Channel 4 F1 :


Juan Pablo Montoya! The Legend!


I made it back to the Paddock Club and was admiring these racing beauties until it was time to head down for the Paddock Club Track Truck Tour!


bShots from the Track Truck Tour! 


Some more selfies with the GoPro!


It was then time to head back to Aachen Germany and the comfort of the Pullman! 

It was a great day at the Belgian Grand Prix and Ferrari looked strong for the rest of the weekend. 

Thank you to Scuderia Ferrari and their Hospitality team for a great Friday. Thank you to Edge Global Events for their flawless service as always.

Saturday and Sunday Experiences to follow soon!





A Gallery of Memories - Part 16

The 2018 Belgian Grand Prix was the second race of the season that I had the opportunity of attending. The Circuit is in the beautiful town of Spa nestled in the Ardennes. The 3 day experience starts with the "Gallery of Memories" :

Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India F1 Team :


Alain Prost! 4 Time F1 World Champion and the man whose nickname is the "Professor" :

Artem Markelov, Renault Sport F1 Reserve Driver and Russian Time F2 Driver :


KIMI RAIKKONEN!! The weekend is made!


Juan Pablo Montoya! Ex F1 and Nascar Driver from Colombia. He was one fearless racer!


Karun Chandok, Ex F1 Driver from India and now with Channel 4 for F1 broadcasting :


Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal of Williams Martini F1 Racing Team :


Mika Salo, now a FIA Steward :


Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing F1 Team Principal :


Paddy Lowe of Williams Martini F1 Racing Team :


Callum Illot, Scuderia Ferrari Academy Driver in GP3 :


Jean Alesi, ex Ferrari F1 Driver :


Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren Renault F1 Team :


Toni Vilander, Cmore F1 co-presenter and a close friend of Kimi Raikkonen :


Felix Rosenqvist, Mahindra Formula E Racer and Porsche GT Racer!


Tadsuke Makino, Russian Time F2 Driver :


Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team :


Antii Kontsas, Sebastian Vettel's Physio and Trainer :


Carlo Santi, Kimi's Race Engineer and Carlos, a part of Kimi's crew :


Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing Team :


Pierre Gasly, Scuderia Toro Rosso F1 Team :


Charles LeClerc, Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team :


Marcus Ericsson, Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team :


Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team :


Romain Grosjean, Haas F1 Team :


Jolyon Palmer, ex GP2 Champion, ex F1 Driver and co-presenter for Channel 4 :


Mark Webber, ex - F1 driver and Channel 4 Presenter :


Sir Franz Tost, Scuderia Toro Rosso F1 Team Principal :


Noemi de Miguel of Movistar F1 :


There is a lot to write about the Friday, Saturday and Sunday Experiences. I shall be posting about these soon! Apologies for the delay.