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LIVING THE DREAM - DAY 1

I WOULD NOT DO JUSTICE TO THIS DREAM IN ONE POST! SO THIS IS PART 1 !!

We all have dreams. Many of us strive to fulfill our dreams. I got to live my dream! A Big Thank You to God, my Wonderful Dad and www.exclusivegp.com for helping this dream come true.

So whats the dream?? READ ON.....

 

 

I have been a follower of Formula 1 since the Mika Hakkinen Days.

However it was the arrival of another Finn into Formula 1 that changed the way I followed the sport.

The Man was KIMI RAIKKONEN.

I had seen him perform for Sauber in 2001. Then the switch to McLaren Mercedes & finally the World Championship year in 2007 with Ferrari.

I always wanted to meet the man I had grown to respect and admire over the years that I had been watching Formula 1. So when Kimi Raikkonen made a return to the world of Formula 1, I knew this was my chance to meet my favourite athlete!!

I could see my dream finally being fulfilled!!

The plans were drawn, then executed and I patiently waited for the day.

The 2012 British Grand Prix at Silverstone was the Venue.

I got the Opportunity of being a guest of the Lotus F1 Team at the 3 - Day Extravaganza!

So the fun was doubled!! - LOTUS F1 Team Paddock Club Hospitality and a chance to meet Kimi Raikkonen!! - Too good to be true.

 

 

FRIDAY :

I reached at the Hospitality Suite early on Friday Morning and was ushered in by Mr. Matt Johnson ( Lotus F1 Team )

The Team Suite :

 

The Ambience was perfect. Lotus F1 had many car components on display and the components were like art-work. Carbon - Fibre made components ( World's Strongest and Lightest material ) were awe-inspiring.

No sooner had I settled into the Suite and it was time for the First PIT - LANE Walk of the Weekend ( The FIRST OF MY LIFE!!! ).

It was a very familiar site however. The Engineers of every team were busy with their Car - Setups for the weekend. Some were busy gathering track & weather information and some others explained their guests the complexity of Formula 1 as a Sport.

Engineers preparing for the weekend :

 

The Helmet & The Steering Wheel : EXQUISITE PIECES OF ENGINEERING!

 

The Man at the Helm :

 

I thought I must try my hand at the simulator and I must say its very tough

I returned to the Suite and then had the opportunity to meet Jerome D'Ambrosio ( Lotus Reserve Driver )

 

Some Captures of the Boxes of teams during Friday Free Practice 2 :

 

 

The Icing on the Cake was the time spent with Sir JACKIE STEWART!

He Explained his role at GENII EXCHANGE, The Company's association with the Lotus F1 Team, a quick recap of the season so far and his experiences at Silverstone!

A MOMENT WITH THE LEGEND!!

 

BATAK : An Exercise for a Formula 1 Driver to improve his Peripheral Vision. A    Formula 1 Driver scores 70 hits in 30 seconds ( randomly glowing lights )

Motorhome : Temporary Headquarters / Briefing - Debriefing Centre / Technical Hub for Formula 1 teams over a Race - Weekend

 

Once Again a Special Thank you to www.exclusivegp.com for offering me this unique experience!!

So this was DAY 1. More to follow.... WATCH THIS SPACE!!

Silverstone GP Review - the Kangaroo leap by Webber

Silverstone is a very prestigious race on the F1 Race Calender. There have been many a great battles fought on this Former WW2 Airstrip and this year promised another great battle.

Silverstone is also a HOME RACE for many teams -

1) Red Bull Racing ( Based in Milton Keynes although they are Austrian ),

2) McLaren Mercedes ( Woking ),

3) Lotus F1 Team ( Enstone, Oxfordshire ),

4) Sahara Force India ( A kilometre from Silverstone ) &

5) Williams F1 Team ( Grove, Oxfordshire )

 

This is a Home Race for 3 Drivers - Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Paul Di Resta.

This was also a race where I was a guest with the LOTUS F1 TEAM!!

 

A List of all winners of the Silverstone Grand Prix :  

 

Silverstone is famous for its inclement weather and this year was no different.

Friday Practice Sessions,Saturday Free Practice and Qualifying were marred by torrential rain. However the Race turned out to be a dry one.

  

Friday Free Practices :

The teams were due to test an "experimental" hard tyre compound developed by Pirelli during the first free practice, with a view to introducing it as a racing tyre later in the season;however, wet conditions made this impossible. Romain Grosjean was the fastest driver in the First Session, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Lewis Hamilton. Fernando Alonso and the Force Indias of Paul di Resta and Jules Bianchi elected not to set lap times.

The Second Session was similarly washed out and saw limited running as teams tried to preserve their wet- and intermediate-compound tyres. Hamilton was fastest, leading Kamui Kobayashi and Michael Schumacher as Grosjean elected not to set a time. Bruno Senna brought out a red flag that resulted in a ten-minute stop to the session when he hit a patch of standing water at Becketts, spinning and crashing heavily into the barriers. Fernando Alonso also encountered trouble, spinning and hitting the wall late in the session, but the Ferrari driver was able to return to the pits.

 

Friday Practice 1 Images : 

 

Friday Practice 2 Images :  

  

Saturday Free Practice :

This Session was dry, but the threat of rain was always there. It saw plenty of activity as the teams pushed hard to make up for lost time running in the wet on Friday. Charles Pic stopped on the circuit after twenty minutes, forcing the temporary suspension of the session while his car was removed. Pic later returned to the circuit, but the car stopped again and this time car was removed by marshalls without forcing the session to be stopped. Alonso ended the session fastest overall. 

Saturday Free Practice Images : 

 

 Qualifying :

Qualifying started in wet conditions, and with the threat of more rain on the way. The Circuit conditions were rapidly changing and everyone went about doing their qualifying laps. The Biggest Shock of Q3 was the Elimination of Jenson Button! He was on a lap that would have propelled him out of the drop zone but Timo Glock spun on the last sector. Yellow flags were deployed and Button suffered disappointment.  Both the Caterhams, HRTs, Virgins bowed out. Charles Pic couldn't qualify within the 107 % time of the fastest man of Q1 - Sebastien Vettel.

The intensity of rain increased in Q2. The session was red-flagged with just over 6 minutes remaining. Sergio Perez was at the top of the time sheets then. The session was stopped for an hour and a half as the FIA hoped for conditons safe to drive.

The Teams, the Mechanics, The Drivers & The Crowds did a fantastic job of keeping themselves entertained during the break. NICO ROSBERG was clearly the star of this show!!

The session re-opened and all drivers had time to put in flying laps however Tyre Choice was of utmost importance. Perec chose the intermediate compound rather than wets. It was the wrong decision and ended the session last. However he started 15th after the Penalties were applied.  Those Eliminated were : Paul Di Resta, Kamui Kobayashi ( 12th but demoted to 17th after penalty ), Nico Rosberg, Daniel Ricciardo, Bruno Senna, Jean-Éric Vergne ( 16th but demoted to the back after penalty ).

Romain Grosjean made it through to Q3, but spun at the end of the period at the Vale chicane, and took no further part in the session.

Q3 featured the Ferraris, Red Bulls, Lotuses ( Although Grosjean couldn't set a time ), Michael Schumacher's Merecedes, Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren, Pastor Maldonado in the Williams F1 & Nico Hulkenberg for Force India. It seemed to be a Ferrari 1-2 but Mark Webber and Sebastien Vettel seemed too have wrestled back control.  Massa was unable to improve his lap time and finished 5th, while Schumacher pushed Webber off pole. Webber reclaimed it with his next lap, but lost it to Alonso's last lap of the Session. Kimi Raikkonen was 6th, Pastor Maldonado 7th, Lewis Hamilton 8th. Hulkenberg qualified 9th but a gear-box change pushed the German down to 14th.

 

Qualifying Images : 

 

RACE :

An engine failure on Vitaly Petrov's Caterham on his way round to the grid meant he had to return to the pits and retire the car before the race had even begun. When the race started, polesitter Fernando Alonso maintained his lead into the first corner. Webber and Schumacher followed him round in their same positions, but Vettel lost places to Massa and Raikkonen, only to regain his position against the latter. Paul di Resta, who started 10th, suffered a puncture as a result of his right rear tyre coming in contact with Romain Grosjean's front wing at the start of the Wellington straight. Di Resta pitted but the damage incurred caused him to spin and retire. Romain Grosjean had to pit too for a front wing change and ended up in 22nd ( back of the pack ).

Pastor Maldonado didn't do his reputation any good as he rammed into Perez retiring the latter. He was penalised 10000 euros!

However the Frenchman set about setting a series of fastest laps and quickly started clawing his way back through the field. Hamilton suffered from a poor start, lost positions to Bruno Senna and was stuck in the middle of the the pack until the first round of pit-stops.

Button suffered a similar fate as he was stuck behind slower cars and had to pit at odd-times during the race. 

Alonso was slowly opening a gap at the front and was able to come out in P2 after his pit-stop on lap 15. Lap 19 saw Alonso retake the Lead from Hamilton who was losing pace on his worn-out tyres. The latter finally pitted on lap 21 and Webber moved back into P2. The gap at the front was constant at around 5 seconds but everything changed after the second round of pit-stops.

Kamui Kobayashi had a horible pit-stop as he ran over 4 mechanics and was penalised post-race for the incident. ( 25000 euros )

Webber switched to the softs and managed to come out in P4 ( ahead of team-mate Vettel ). Alonso pitted too and switched to softs. Parity was restored after the top 5 finished their round of pit stops. The order was : Alonso, Webber, Vettel, Massa, Raikkonen.

This however wasn't gonna remain the same.

Alonso couldn't find the pace which he enjoyed while driving on the hard compound tyres. Webber was reeling Alonso in taking chunks out of his lead every lap. Romain Grosjean ( Out of sync with others on pit stops ) performed exceptionally well as he muscled himself upto 6th. Kimi Raikkonen had found performance in his Lotus and set a series of fastest laps. He was within a touching distance of 4th positon now.

7 laps were left of the race and Alonso was now under severe pressure from Webber. The Australian finally made the move and took the Lead! Raikkonen put Massa under a lot of pressure but the Brazilian held on to 4th position.

The final order was : Webber, Alonso, Vettel, Massa, Raikkonen, Grosjean, Schumacher, Hamilton, Senna, Button ( Top 10 )

As a consequence of the race, Webber narrowed Alonso's lead in the drivers' standings to 13 points. Webber himself was 16 points ahead of Vettel. Vettel moved ahead of Lewis Hamilton into 3rd in the standings on 100 points. Red Bull extended their lead in the constructors' standings to 64 points. Ferrrari moved up from 4th place to 2nd whilst McLaren did the reverse and Lotus stayed in 3rd position. All three teams stayed within 3 points of each other.

Massa held on to 4th from a charging Raikkonen. Definitely a confidence boost for him.

KIMI RAIKKONEN set the fastest lap of the Race.

This was also the first time that an F1 Great got to interview the Podium Finishers in front of the public - The honour went to the most popular SIR JACKIE STEWART!!

It was a day to forget for the McLaren duo. Lotus had a good day but not the best day as a lack of good quaifying postion hampered their race result.

Hockenheim - THE NEXT DESTINATION!

 

Finally a SPECIAL THANK YOU to www.exclusivegp.com for this experience!! Friends you now know who to contact for those Exclusive F1 Experiences!!

 

Valencia GP Review - The Spaniard springs a Surprise

The Grand Prix of Valencia Kick Stated what is the European Leg of the Formula 1 Calender

The Grand Prix of Valencia was under great turmoil. Spain has been going through a financial blip putting terrible strain on the 2 Grand Prixs hosted by Spain - Catalunya, Barcelona & Valencia.

The Plans to have only GP hosted from next year seem to be gathering pace but Fernando Alonso might be the sole reason for the organisers to do a rethink of this.

Valencia has been called the " European Grand Prix ". The European Grand Prix switches between Nuburbring and Valencia. Valencia is a Street Circuit but this year's Grand Prix was clearly the Grand Prix of the Calender.

Qualifying  :

The Local Hero Fernando Alonso made it to Q2 through the skin of his teeth. The Ferrari Chairman Luca Montezemolo suffered disappointment as both Ferraris failed to make it to the Final Qualifying Session, Alonso and Massa Started 11th and 13th respectively.

Sebastien Vettel Powered the Red Bull to Pole Position. Lewis Hamilton and Pastor Maldonado completed the Top Three. The Lotuses of Romain Grosjean & Kimi Raikkonen were the top Five. 

Many Experts predicted that the presence of youth upfront could cause incidents on the first lap itself... and a lot happened on the First Lap.

Race :

The 5 Lights went out polesitter Sebastian Vettel was able to get a powerful launch off the startline in his Red Bull and went into the first corner unchallenged, and Lewis Hamilton stayed second. Kimi Raikkonen got a good launch from 5th on the grid and challenged Pastor Maldonado but had to back off to avoid hitting him and his Lotus teammate Romain Grosjean took advantage to jump into 3rd. Kamui Kobayashi jumped from 7th to 4th, as Maldonado and Raikkonen dropped to 5th and 6th. The Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were the chief gainers on the first lap, Alonso moving from 11th to 8th and Massa from 13th to 10th. Force India were also running strongly at the end of the first lap, with Nico Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta splitting the Ferraris in 7th and 9th. The two men who lost out at the start were Nico Rosberg, who dropped to 11th from 6th and was just a single place in front of Mercedes teammate Michael Schumacher. Jenson Button in the second McLaren lost 4 places and was down in 13th.

Vettel built his lead as Hamilton struggled to keep Grosjean at bay ( The Lotus working perfect in the heat of Valencia ). Others also weren't far behind with Kimi trying a couple of moves on Maldonado but the Venezuelan was too strict on giving him space. Alonso had started pressurizing Hulkenburg as the duo started losing time against the lead pack.

Grosjean was finally rewarded for his efforts as he used DRS to muscle past Hamilton Lap 10 but Vettel had opened a comfortable 14 seconds lead. Grosjean then put in super quick laps and slowly started reducing the German's lead. Alonso finally found a way past Hulkenberg on lap 11 and was closing in on 6th Placed Raikkonen.

Raikkonen overtook Maldonado and Alonso followed suit, Maldonado was suffering from trye degradation. Kobayashi in 4th was in a similar situation and the Trio of Kobayashi, Raikkonen and Maldonado pitted on the same lap. A Slick Pit - Stop by Lotus and a poor one by Sauber helped Raikkonen jump Kobayashi. Alonso played the famous " Undercut " as on the trio when he rejoined ahead after his pit-stop which was a lap later.  Vettel pitted on Lap 15 maintained his lead.

Grosjean and Hamilton's Pit - Stop put them behind Di Resta and Rosberg but it didnt take them long to retake 2nd and 3rd positions respectively. Alonso, Raikkonen, Kobayashi and Maldonado had work to do as they were stuck behind the Non - Stoppers Schumacher, Webber, Senna who were losing pace due to tyre wearing issues. Alonso shot past Webber and Senna in a space of few corners and then Schumacher on the next lap. Schumacher and Webber pitted for a new set of tyres and Senna was the only obstacle now.

Raikkonen sensed the opportunity and overtook Senna before Turn 8. Kobayashi tried to tuck himself behind the Finn but Senna unaware of him had already moved across and the two made contact. Kobayashi damaged his Front wing and Senna suffered a puncture, forcing both to pit.

Grosjean was able to match Vettel's pace but the gap remained at 20 seconds.Hamilton was having a lone race and the duo of Alonso and Raikkonen overtook Di Resta to take 4th and 5th positions.

The Race took a dramatic turn on lap 27.  Jean-Eric Vergne tried to make a DRS-assisted pass on Heikki Kovalainen through turn 12. Vergne thought that his car was fully in front of Kovalainen but it actually wasn't and he ended up chopping his car straight onto Kovalainen's, puncturing his right rear tyre and Kovalainen's left front, and damage caused by the shredding tyres were spread all over the track. SAFETY CAR!!  Both Vergne and Kovalainen made it to the pits, with Vergne retiring due to suspension damage whereas Kovalainen was able to continue. 

Safety Car sent the leaders into the pits. Hamilton's problem with the front-jack put him behind Alonso and Raikkonen. Daniel Ricciardo was the only one not to stop. Massa, Button and Perez were the biggest losers. The Top 6 : Vettel, Grosjean, Alonso, Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Hamilton.

The Race Restarted on Lap 35 and Grosjean was under intense pressure and Alonso overtook him at the First turn. Rosberg on Old tyres lost 5 places slipping from 7th to 12th. Massa and Kobayashi's battle for 13th ended in a retirment for the latter and a puncture for Massa.

A big shock awaited Vettel on lap 37. Coming out of Turn 10, Vettel lost power and the car simply came to a halt!!! ( Attributed later to an Alternator Failure ). Vettel was livid! The Frustration and Despair was so evident on the German's face. Hamilton overtook Raikkonen on the same lap to take 4th. This was a very important Lap in the Championship Battle.

ALONSO was now leading the race and a huge ROAR Erupted from all the stands!

Ricciardo's heroics didn't last long as his tyres ' fell of the cliff ' and he lost positions to Hamilton & Raikkonen. He finally pitted.

Schumacher was running 5th ahead of Webber, the latter suffering from serious tyre problems was passed by Maldonando and the two Force India cars within the space of a few corners. Webber had to pit. Schumacher was also on older tyres and pitted for a new set 3 laps later, rejoining in 11th pace, just ahead of Webber.

The race at the front of the field took yet another twist on lap 41. Grosjean who was running within a second of Alonso had to retire with an alternator failure suspected to be similar to that of Vettel's. The Frenchman distraught.

Alonso now had a 3 second lead over Hamilton, who was now under pressure from Raikkonen. Maldonado was 4th ahead of the Force India duo of Hulkenberg and Di Resta, the latter trying a one-stopper. He was soon under attack from Perez, who along with Button, had recovered back up to 7th and 8th.

Alonso continued to lead comfortably at the front, with Hamilton continuing to hold off Raikkonen for 2nd, the latter rarely allowing the gap to go over a second. Maldonado, Hulkenberg and Di Resta began to spread out, and the action behind was from Schumacher and Webber, who on new softer tyres were going around 2 seconds quicker than those in front of them. The duo picked off Senna, before closing in on and passing Button on lap 50. The tyres started to wear out for the other drivers and they fell into the clutches of Schumacher and Webber. The duo passed Perez 3 laps later and Di Resta after another lap to move up into 6th and 7th respectively. Hulkenberg was next and he too was dealt with on the penultimate lap, moving Schumacher into 5th and Webber into 6th, but it was not going to stay that way.

Hamilton in 2nd, in his attempts to hold off Raikkonen had pushed his tyres too much, and they started to wear towards the end of the race. Raikkonen patiently bided his time before passing Hamilton on lap 55 with two laps left.

Hamilton was now under attack from Maldonado, whose pace was strong enough to keep him out of the reach of Schumacher and Webber. Maldonado attacked Hamilton at turn 1 on the penultimate lap, but some strong defensive driving by Hamilton meant that he kept the place Maldonado tried again on the run down to turn 13 using DRS, with Hamilton taking the inside line and forcing Maldonado off the track. As Maldonado tried to rejoin, he clipped the kerb for the next turn and hit Hamilton, forcing him into the wall and out of the race. Maldonado himself lost his front wing, and dropped back down the order.

Hamilton was Furious and Maldonado was later penalised for this incident.

The race was won by Alonso, who became the first driver to win 2 races this year, and coupled with Vettel's and Hamilton's retirements also took the championship lead. Raikkonen took 2nd and Schumacher was promoted to 3rd, his first podium since in his return to F1.

Webber was 4th ahead of Hulkenberg, with Rosberg charging up to 6th on new tyres by passing Di Resta and Button in the last 2 laps. Perez suffered more tyre problems than others and crossed the line 9th. Maldonado had continued on without his front wing and was able to take the final point in 10th. However, he was given a 20 second time penalty for his collision with Hamilton and demoted to 12th, his teammate Senna taking the final point.

This was a Pivotal Race in the Calender as Alonso took the Championship lead. He had won the race from an unrealistic positon on a street circuit. This says a lot about the man.

The Podium featured 3 drivers who have been with Ferrari during their Careers in Formula 1 and all three have been World Champions in the past.

A Gallery of Memories!! - Part 1

Jerome D'Ambrosio ( Lotus Test Driver )

Sir Jackie Stewart ( 3 Time Formula 1 World Champion = LEGEND )

Damon Hill ( 1996 Formula 1 World Champion )

Romain Grosjean ( Lotus F1 Driver )

 

FINALLY DREAM FULFILLED!!!

KIMI RAIKKONEN ( Formula 1 2007 World Champion, Mentor, My Favourite!! Lotus F1 Driver!! )

 

 

Johnny Herbert ( Ex - Formula 1 Driver, Winner of British GP )

Tony Fernandes ( Air Asia & Caterham Racing Owner )

Rob Smedley ( Felipe Massa's Race Engineer )

Herbie Blash ( FIA Deputy Race Director, Friend )

Eric Boullier ( Lotus F1 Team Principal )

One of Kimi Raikkonen's Engineers !

Kimi Raikkonen's Engineer - His Car is perfect thanks to people like him!

Romain Grosjean ( Lotus F1 Driver )

2004 - Greece, 2008 - Spain, 2012 - ???

This is that time of the year when the Football Season is over, everything is done and dusted, the European league teams are busy regrouping, restrenghtening their squads. The Transfer season is in full swing as Players leave clubs for others to get more lucrative deals.

This season though all this will take a backstage, albeit for a period. Club Rivalries will be put aside, football lovers will unite as one force to support their national team!

The Euro is the here & this time its Poland & Ukraine who host it!

The Contenders to the crown are :

Group A

Poland, Greece, Russia, Czech Republic

Group B

Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Portugal

Group C

Spain, Italy, Republic Of Ireland, Croatia

Group D

Ukraine, Sweden, France, England

Teams that should make it to the Knock - out Stages :

Group A features the 2004 Champions Greece. Greece was definitely a surprise winner in 2004. Russia & Czech Republic have world class players. Poland unfortunately doesn't offer much to challenge the other three in the group. This Group is not an easy one even though it doesn't feature the more glamourous teams. Russia & Czech Republic should advance from this group.

Group B - THE GROUP OF DEATH!! We definitely have 3 top contenders for the crown in one group!! Netherlands are known for their strength in depth & their fascinating style of football. However they haven't had enough silverware to show for all their efforts. Germany showed fantastic form in the World Cup and also in the Qualifiers. Portugal have a star - studded lineup & they would definitely want to reward their fans with the cup. Cristiano Ronaldo will be looked upon as the one who can lead them to the Cup single-handedly! However their biggest weakness is team - spirit. Denmark aren't pushovers either & are known to produce upsets. The Experience of playing in the top leagues of Europe would definitely help the Danes. It's a very tough call - Germany & Netherlands should advance.

Group C features the 2008 Champions Spain. Spain is my favourite. They have literally trampled the opposition in the qualifiers. The 2010 World Cup Winners have also silenced critics by showing they are not chokers when it comes to the big stage. Italy, 2006 World Cup Winenrs have had a very torrid road to the Euros. Mercurial Perfomances, an Ageing Team, Match - Fixing Scandals in Serie A have definitely disturbed their focus leading upto the Tournament. The Azzuris though have the knack to defend exceptionally if they get the lead. Republic of Ireland have some top players in their ranks. The experience of Captain Robbie Keane will definitely help them on the field. Croatia became famous when they knocked out England in the Euro 2008 Qualifiers. The Players playing in the Premier League didn't get the best welcome. Croatia is definitely the Dark Horse in this group. This might be a bold prediction but Spain & Croatia would advance, although it would be better for Italy to advance rather than Croatia from a neutral's point of view.

Group D - Teams that have a lot to prove. France have been on the decline since their 2006 World Cup Final Defeat. Their lack of performance inspite of having some of the best talent in Europe baffles me. Their Road to Qualification wasn't an easy one either. Their failure to advance would definitely shock football lovers. England have been the lion that needs to wake up from its slumber. Fantastic talent has come & gone & yet the team has underperformed, be it the World Cup or the Euros. The saclking of Fabio Capello was a big mistake. Roy Hodgson has definitely shocked supporters by listing a team that has snubbed some quality players. The Inclusions of some has amused experts too. Only time will tell whether the decision was right or wrong. Ukraine seems to be in the same state as their co-host. They might only be also - rans. Sweden have been a close - knit team. They have been known to play around their more talented players. This Euro shouldn't be any different. England should top this group, France should clinch the other spot. Sweden is good but not good enough.

Spain, England, Germany, Netherlands should be the Semi - finalists. Spain vs England would be a dream final.

MY WINNER FOR EURO 2012 - SPAIN !!!

The REDS vs The BLUES

The Football season has ended. This year though has given way to a new level of rivalry. The Title Race in England has always been between Manchester and London. Chelsea, Arsenal have won the title for London but Manchester has always had one representative - MANCHESTER UNITED.

Manchester United became the most successful club in England when it surpassed Liverpool's 18 Titles last year; a number that everyone thought would be diffcult to reach considering the level of competition in the League.

As United finally enjoyed victory over Liverpool, a club in the same city was building a team to match or at least Challenge United's supremacy both in Manchester & England.

They have always played second fiddle and after seeing United be so successful over the years it was high time that City do something about the League.

United have been heavy spenders in the past with SIR ALEX FERGUSON not holding back funds to bring in reinforcements to wrestle back the title to United.

BUT THIS WAS DIFFERENT....

As I said in one of my earliest posts this season was a very close one and predicting a winner would be very tough.

CIty went in overdrive after getting a cash-laden owner. He channelised his assets and signed some of the best players on the planet. Some were paid higher salaries and other players who were overvalued and overrated made it to the club thanks to fat salaries that came from the owner's pocket... All this to try to silence the Red Army of Manchester.

The Entire season both clubs were dead-locked in battle while the rest had to contend with a fight for the third place. City humiliated United at Old Trafford 6-1, United got a revenge of sorts by knocking City out of the FA Cup at the Etihad Stadium.

City were 8 points clear at the top and then it all went bad for them. The cluttering of too many stars in a dressing room can be dangerous. The Clash of egos even spilled out onto the pitch.

United had a merry time and went about their usual job of winning fixtures. United were 8 points clear and at the business end of the League, the Reds were famous for finishing competition.

However, the league would experience another twist.. United performed poorly at relegation - threatened Wigan and lost. The gap down to 5. They maintained their lead with a win over Aston Villa but then came the match when they lost the initiative.

Everton played United at Old Trafford and United relinquised a comfortable 2 goal lead in the dying minutes of the game to draw. The scoreline a staggering 4-4. The Lead was down to 3 points and Clearly the game between United and City a week later would be the title decider.

City had been prolific in their scoring and had a better Goal Difference. United fielded a squad with the clear intentions of playing for a draw. The Plan worked perfect until the 45th minute when City Captain Kompany scored from a corner.

United lost the game and with two games to go the title charge was practically over. City struggled to win but eeked out a result at Newcastle. United overcame Swansea comfortably.

Final week & arguably the most tense ending ever to a league season. United went to Sunderland and hung onto win 1-0. The result clearly meant that City needed to lose or draw for United to hold on and win their 20th league title. City playing at same time seemed to be winning 1-0 until a defensive lapse helped QPR score. Joey Barton's moment of madness reduced QPR to 10 men but they rallied around to take the lead. Into Stoppage time ( 5 mins ) and City equalised in the 92nd. The Death Blow came in the 94th....

I was distraught.

Kun Aguero had broken the hearts of Millions of United supporters across the world!! The Etihad erupted in triumph. City Supporters simply couldn't believe that they were champions! The fans invaded the pitch & mingled with the players as they shed tears of joy! City were finally champions!!

As for United, the Community Shield was the only Silverware they could achieve this season.

The Curtains now close and a new chapter will begin come August. Till then Congratulations City for being deserved winners!!

We Wait for the opportune time..... GGMU!!

 

The Black & Gold Cometh!!

2005 & 2006 were fantastic years for this team. Fernando Alonso won two consecutive Formula 1 Drivers' Championship for them.

2007 - 2009 were Rebuilding years & 2010 - 2011 brought a major revamp at the top changing the team's identity altogether! The years brought a lot of turmoil and the only victory to their credit in the Inaugural Singapore GP in 2008 was marred by the Crash-Gate Scandal.

Anways Renault and Now LOTUS F1 have now moved on and roped in the former GP2 Champion and earlier their 3rd driver Romain Grosjean but the big news over the summer was the arrival of my favourite KIMI RAIKKONEN!!

Lotus F1 seemed strong but some unlucky incidents have robbed them of better results in the first 3 races.

The Bahrain Grand Prix Qualifying seemed to suggest the same as Kimi Raikkonen failed to qualify for Q3 and Romain Grosjean only managed 7th.

The Grand Prix itself was in severe trouble as citizens of Bahrain protested against the Government and the Government sponsored Formula 1 Grand Prix. The Sunday Race happened under a severe lock-down around the circuit. 

Sebastien Vettel surprised everyone by clinching pole on Saturday.

The Race began with everyone expecting a Podium Duel between the Red Bulls and McLaren Mercedes who blocked out the two front rows. However many had forgotten the strategy that Kimi Raikkonen had played by holding onto an extra set of soft tyres.

As the Race Progressed Kimi and Romain made up places. Lewis had a nightmarish pitstop as the left rear wheelnut simply refused to come off. Both the McLarens were going backwards while the Lotus made light of all cars that had started before them

Finally Kimi made a move on Romain to go P2 and this was a clear shoot-out between the Red Bull of Sebastien Vettel & the Lotus Renault F1 of Kimi Raikkonen. The Renaults were dominating this race!!  

The Moment came on Lap 36. Kimi was reeling in Sebastien and finally closed in on the Start - Finish Straight. Both were nearing the first turn and Kimi opted for the inside line ( a mistake he rued later ) only for Sebastien to move slightly across to deny him the space.

This was the only chance that Kimi would get. The gap then Steadied at 3.5 seconds.

Sebastien Vettel crossed the Finish Line to take a well deserved victory. Kimi Raikkonen & Romain Grosjean completed the podium. It was almost the perfect weekend for Lotus F1 Team, well almost.

Kimi was clearly disappointed as he knew he could have won the race but it must be said that its a Very Convincing Return to F1 for the Iceman.

Romain called the Podium Finish a Career High.

It is a Great Result for the Enstone team though. Lotus with the budget they had have humbled the bigger spenders of Formula 1.

They now need to ensure that perfect weekend to see their boys occupy the top step of the podium because they clearly deserve to be there.

Sebastien Vettel will treasure this win after struggling in the first 3 rounds of hte championship.

His last win was in October during the inaugural Indian Grand Prix

Some Photos from the Bahrain GP.

Looking Forward to Catalunya :

Formula 1 returns to Europe & Barcelona is the First Stop.

Catalunya is known for being a highly technical circuit and is definitely a challenge for all teams. No team can afford to run a compromised setup here.

The Mugello Tests seem to have been productive for most teams. Ferrari had the most upgrades. They most definitely are the team to watch!

McLaren would hope to put the Bahrain disappointment behind them.

Red Bull, McLaren Mercedes, Mercedes GP AMG, Lotus F1, Ferrari all seem to be in contention for the podium. Lets not forget that Sauber Ferrari have the potential to spring surprises too.

Just Pray to see KIMI RAIKKONEN on the Top Step of the Podium in Catalunya!!

GO KIMI!

Tag Heuer is Back with a Bang!!!

Tag Heuer, the Swiss Masters at Watch - Making had entered the Indian Market 10 years ago. One of the earliest boutiques was in Crossroads, Mumbai. The Presence of the Boutiques dwindled and only one existed at the Grand Hyatt.

But come 2012 and TAG HEUER has gone into overdrive to create the brand awareness they have always enjoyed!! & what better a way to Open their Signature Store just a fortnight before the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix!!

After opening Boutiques in Bangalore & Chennai it was Mumbai's turn! Situated in a Mall featuring Signature Boutiques from top brands Palladium in South Mumbai was the perfect home for Tag Heuer.

Celebrities Shahrukh Khan & Karun Chandok were invited to grace the occasion, the former needing no introduction! Karun Chandok was a Formula 1 driver with Caterham Racing last year ( The 2nd Indian to reach the pinnacle of Motorsport ) and will feature in the Le Mans Endurance race this year!

Some of the Watches on Display!

People had crowded the Mall to catch a Glimpse of their Stars!

The GM of Tag Heuer explaining about the History of Tag Heuer in India

The CEO Familiarizing People with the Brand, talking of Expansions and the Indian Celebrities that the Brand is associated with.

Karun Chandok making the Grand Entry

Finally the moment the Crowds were Waiting for, The King of the Indian Film Industry, King Khan, SHAHRUKH KHAN!!

Both Celebrities busy answering Questions

Shahrukh and Karun Going head to head on the Formula 1 Race Simulator!

 

Showcasing their Tag Heuers!! - Shahrukh loves his Tag Heuer Monaco V4

Finally the Star of the Day!! - TAG HEUER CARRERA MONACO GP LIMITED EDITION!

A Small Gift from Tag Heuer

Tag Heuer is famous for Limited Edition Watches and the Carrera Monaco GP is the newest addition. It is good to see India featuring as one of the important markets for Signature Brands.

Tag Heuer's long standing association with motorsports is clearly visible across their product range!

The Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix, the most glamourous race on the F1 Calender is only a couple of weeks away and I am sure many would be making a beeline to have one of these Precious Limited Edition Timepieces!

As for me, I would still prefer a Grand Carrera Calibre 36 RS Caliper Automatic Chronogrpah! ( Leather Strap looks great on it )

Buttons, Buttons & More Buttons!!

Photo Credits : SANTOSH VERMA PHOTOGRAPHY www.aneyeforindia.com

Many of us own cars and love them ( Sometimes more than our girlfriends ).

A Feature Laden Car at the right price is what everyone searches for and one feature that has become standard is the STEERING MOUNTED Control.

Some of us still take a good time to get comfortable with such wheels. How would it feel to have about 30 different controls to tinker with on the Steering wheel while your busy driving??

This is what I am talking about :

 

This was the Steering on the F2011 Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 Car driven by Fernando Alonso & Felipe Massa!

The sheer complexity of such a wheel is amazing! Being a Formula 1 Driver is no easy task! All that a Formula 1 Driver does in a race is right there on the wheel.

24 drivers have to go through the grind of trying to get the right balance and setting for a race weekend!

The Buttons List is simply Mind-boggling : ( Starting from top left, counterclockwise )

1) REV : Engine Limiter ( First Knob, Top Left )

2) N : Neutral Request

3) DIFF IN : Differential Tuning in corner entry

4) RADIO : Radio PPT

5) MIX : Engine Mixture

6) DRINK : Driver Drink

7) PUMP : Oil Pump

8) RF : DRS Activation

9) MF : Strategy Multifunction ( Big Centre Knob, Hear about this on Pit Radio )

10) 11) 12) : START, BURN, WET : Strategy Selection Switches ( Bottom 3 Toggle Switches )

13)  GRP : Clutch Tuning

14) OK : Radio Confirmation

15) 1/- : Recovery Selection

16) 10/- : Recovery Selection

17 ) TRQ : Engine Torque Map ( Knob to the Right of Central Knob )

18 ) OV : Over Revs

19 ) CHRG : KERS Recharge Level

20) P : Pit Limiter Activation

21) BOOST : KERS Power Release

On the Back, The UPSHIFT, DOWNSHIFT, Clutch.

The Materials Used make the wheel very light and the presence of Carbon Fibre takes the build quality to a different level!

 

Some more Photos of this handcrafted complex masterpiece :

 

Photo Credits : SANTOSH VERMA PHOTOGRAPHY www.aneyeforindia.com

Taming the "GIALLO MIDAS" !!

The Title would confuse many of us! It confused me too when I visited the website of the company offering the "Giallo Midas".

So what is the Giallo Midas?

Its a car which has a cylinder capacity of 5.0 l, houses a V10 Engine, power of 520 HP at 8000 RPM. It does 0-100 km/hr in only 4.3 sec and has a top speed of 315 km/hr !!!

It is the Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder!!

Driving the Lamborghini through the streets of Singapore for an hour was surely an awe-inspiring experience!

We all dream of driving a supercar ( at least boys do ). The adrenaline rush, the engine note is simply enthralling, not to mention the heads that turn to see the owner zoom past in his supercar.

Well "Ultimate Drive" is one company that gives you the opportunity to fulfill your childhood dream.

The cars on offer : Ferrari F430 F1 Spider & the more powerful Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder.

You can choose to drive or be driven ( the former is more appealing for obvious reasons ) by a professional who knows when to push as Singapore is laden with speed cameras. The tour duration varies from a short 15 min drive to the Ultimate Tour which is an hour long!

The requirements to get behind the wheels of one are your original driving licenece and an age of 21 years.

Both cars are beasts and quite easy to drive. The Lamborghini though is more powerful and truly a Raging Bull.

I had booked a drive for the Ferrari ( Called the Rosso Corsa ) . Unfortunately a technical issue prior to my drive compelled me to shift to the Lamborghini.

The sole reason of choosing a Ferrari was because of its long standing association with Formula 1 ( Lamborghini did a stint in F1 too ). Prior to the drive I was told that the Gallardo was a 4 wheel drive and a V10 as against a 2 wheel drive and V8 of the F430. So it was going to be a challenge to hold the reins of this bull.

Minutes into the drive and I realised what my Instructor Daniel meant.. The Upshift into higher gears simply catapulted me forward in the seat. The car though has fantastic grip and loves to be pushed around corners. It had rained throughout the day but the 4 wheel drive and Traction Control ensured that the car stayed planted always.

Singapore isn't as bad as Mumbai when it comes to traffic. However a Marathon was organised near the Marina Bay and I missed the opportunity of driving on a major part of the Formula1 Circuit.

I got a lot of attention too. Heads Turned, Photos were clicked and I had the privilege of waving to the onlookers like a celebrity!

This is the last year for the Singapore Grand Prix as the Marina Bay and so I plan to be at the Grand Prix. Its going to be a busy weekend for Ultimate Drive but I plan to do both cars!!

There are plans of adding another to the existing lineup!!

I simply can't for September to arrive! The experience of putting the PRANCING HORSE & the RAGING BULL through the paces is too good an offer to resist.

For those who would want to know more about the experience, www.ultimatedrive.com is the Website to visit. Keep up the good work guys!

Some other photos :

My Instructor Daniel, Had a very healthy conversation about Supercars, Formula 1. A Very Pleasant Drive!

The Certificate that makes me a Supercar Driver!

 

Photo Credit : SANTOSH VERMA PHOTOGRAPHY : www.aneyeforindia.com

Something to Remember!! - A Tshirt!!

Photo Credit : SANTOSH VERMA PHOTOGRAPHY : www.aneyeforindia.com

 

 

Truly the ULTIMATE DRIVE!!!