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Posts for Tag: belgium

The Flying Diaries : BOM - BRU - BOM ( Emirates First & Business ) - Encore!

My annual trip to the Belgian GP was a little different from the earlier trips. My college friends decided to accompany me to Europe for a 3 nation tour, their first to the Schengen States of Belgium, Switzerland and France. One of my friends accompanied me while a couple left for Europe a few days earlier than us.

This trip also gave me the opportunity to try the New Boeing 777-300ER with a revamped First and Business Class.

We flew out on 18th August 2018 and left Brussels on 29th August 2018.

Mumbai - Brussels ( First Class ) ( 18th August 2018 ) :

The Bags ready for the journey :

The Check-in formalities done and it was time to enjoy the lounge. Since I am a Gold Member of Emirates, my friend was allowed to accompany me.

Some shots of the Lounge at Mumbai International Airport :

Enjoying the Services of our lounge. Mumbai International Airport offers complimentary massage service for the guests :

Food, food and more food!

It was 3 am and time for boarding for our flight to Dubai.

The First Class Suite onboard the A380, top notch and prepped as always :

Preparing for takeoff, the onboard cameras doing a fine job :

Takeoff Video Link :

The Breakfast menu :

Green Pea Poha and Cappuccino for Breakfast :

Touching down at Dubai International Airport :

Landing Video Link :

Inter Terminal Transfers and Security Checks done, we made our way to the nearest First Class Lounge at Dubai to relax and grab a bite.

A time of Relaxation and refreshing ourselves in the lounge.

It was then time to board our flight to Brussels!

The latest edition of the First Class Suite onboard the New Boeing 777-300ER is a class apart and a winner! Emirates currently flies the new configuration to Brussels and Geneva and will slowly expand to other routes as well. The updated First Class boasts of a lot of new features - Fully enclosed First Class suite with full height privacy screens, seats designed by Mercedes Benz, Virtual Windows, Bigger LCD Screens, Bowers and Wilkins headsets, Binoculars and Dine on Demand service with Video Calling facility. Video calling is quite a cool feature, you can make a call to the Flight Steward and interact, taking the definition of "Room Service" to a whole new level. In-flight showers aren't available though.

The view of the Suites from the front of the aircraft. Quite artistic I must say :

Preparing for takeoff :

Bound for Brussels :

Video Link :

The Breakfast and Lunch menu onboard :

The Flight Map :

You simply can't stop taking pics of this beautiful suite :

Chicken and Lemongrass Consomme, Prawns with Garlic and Coriander and Chocolate Ricotta Pudding for Dessert!

The First Class also has Virtual Windows for aisle seats, the cameras relay live feed onto the Screens to give the aisles a window seat feel.

The bed is made. Time to rest!

Afternoon siesta done and it was time to land into Brussels International Airport :

Video Link :

Mercedes S500 to pick us up at the airport!

Brussels - Mumbai ( Business Class ) ( 29th August 2018 ) :

A Mercedes E250 to ferry us back to the airport :

The Atomium, one of the highlights of Brussels made in Chocolate by Neuhaus :

Not much on offer in the lounge. Passable. Its a common lounge catering to a number of airlines. Hope to Emirates have one of their own soon.

The Seats in Business Class, designed by Mercedes Benz, a bit narrower but equally comfortable :

Takeoff Video :

Whats for dinner?

The Flight Map with Satellite Views :

Live TV, a feature on Emirates Flights :

Crisps and Ginger Ale, Broccoli Soup, Roast Chicken with Pistachio Stuffing and Chocolate Delice for Dessert :

Nearing touchdown at Dubai :

Landing Video Link :

Dubai International Airport :

The Plane is parked a fair distance from the Terminal building so we are picked up by a bus :

Enjoying services of the lounge while we wait for boarding :

Business Class, a slightly older aircraft this :

The lunch menu :

Some shots while taxiing to the Runway :

Up in the air, homebound :

Takeoff Video Link :

Nuts and Ginger Ale followed by Dhingri Paneer Methi Masala and Badami Halwa!

Hovering above Mumbai :

Landing at Mumbai :

Back in the Bay!

I must say that Emirates have a winner with the new Boeing 777-300ER Offering. It simply is a class apart when you compare it to rival airlines on similar sectors. I hope to see the new plane on my other journeys too. Once again, the hospitality onboard Emirates was flawless and being a Gold Member makes the experience even more special.

It isn't just "Fly Better" with Emirates...Its "FLY THE BEST"!

My Business Class Experience to Dubai in November follows watch this space!

Paddock Club Diaries - 2018 Belgian GP - Day 3

Sunday had arrived. The hard work on Friday and Saturday would come to naught if Sunday wasn't a fruitful day for teams and drivers. Sunday is the D Day in F1. A lot can happen on a Sunday. Sebastian Vettel in P2, Kimi Raikkonen in enjoyable was our Sunday? Time to have a quick recap.

Enroute to the circuit :

A lot of companies offer supercars or even race spec cars for track days at Spa, some were on display.

Supercars on display near the circuit :

A Misty start to the day :

The day begins with the GP3 Race 2. I had the opportunity of being at the end of the Pit Lane and witnessing some Practice Starts. 

Video Link :

GP3 Race 2 Start ( Video Link ) :

The second order of the day was the Formula 2 Sprint Race. 

Cars lining up on the Grid for the start of the F2 Sprint Race :

Race Start ( Video Link ) :

Shots from the F2 Sprint Race :

The Sprint race ended and it was time to welcome the team principal Maurizio Arrivabene and Sebastian Vettel to the Suite for Interviews.

Maurizio Arrivabene Q&A :

The Video Link to the Interview :

Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari F1 Suite :

I missed Vettel's Interview since I was away in another area getting a photo with Bottas and Seb turned up before his allotted time.

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 Team :

Meanwhile there was some activity happening ontrack too!

A Vintage Ferrari F1 car doing the rounds around Spa :

A friend of mine was kind enough to offer me a spot on the Gold Tour - The Paddock Club Truck Tour which follows the F1 Drivers' Parade Lap on Sunday. You must receive a Golden Ticket in the F1 Race Programme on Sunday to be eligible for the experience.\

Some great pics from the Sunday Paddock Club Truck Tour :

We made it back to the Club and there was still time for a final walk of the Pit Lane.

Shots from the Final Pit Lane Walk of the weekend :

The Drivers getting ready for the National Anthem at the front of the grid :

Counting down to the Formation lap :

Time to roll out for the Formation lap :

Formation Lap ( Video Link ) :

The Mechanics rushing back to their Pit boxes to prepare for any eventuality during the opening lap :

The 5 Red Lights illuminate and as they go out, the 2018 Belgian Grand Prix is a go!

The Video Link to the Race Start :

Safety Car Period ( Video Link ) :

Shots from the Race :

Kimi Raikkonen was one of those affected from the first lap shunt and suffered from the DRS Rear Wing Flap Failure. His car also had a lot of floor damage and he couldn't continue racing. Sebastian Vettel jumped Lewis Hamilton at the start and the latter could never mount any challenge after that. Ferrari took a deserved win, Lewis Hamilton in P2 and Max Verstappen in P3, leaving the Fans in the "Orange Stand" in a very joyous mood.

Parc Ferme and Sebastian Vettel takes the win, a comfortable win for the Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team :

Celebrations and Interviews before heading to the Podium :

Parc Ferme Celebrations ( Video Link ) :

Podium Celebrations :

Video Link :

Photo Session time :

Time to take the chariots back to their pens!


A Moment with the Hosts at Ferrari ( always smiling and welcoming ) and Julia from Red Bull :

I got an opportunity to head down to the Paddock post race and meet and interact with some F1 Fraternity!

Antii Kontsas, Sebastian Vettel's Physio :

Noemi de Miguel, Presenter for Movistar F1 :

Sir Franz Tost, Scuderia Toro Rosso Team Principal :

Mark Webber, ex F1 Driver and Channel 4 Co-Presenter :

Marcus Ericsson, Sauber F1 Team :

Charles LeClerc, Sauber F1 Team :

Pierre Gasly, Scuderia Toro Rosso F1 Team :

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing F1 Team :

Carlo Santi ( Kimi's Race Engineer ) and Carlos ( handling Engine Data ) from Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team :

The Paddock Packing up for Monza which was the weekend later. 

I made my way back to Aachen, thankful to the Lord for the experiences I experience in life. Yes I was massively disappointed with the result for Kimi but the day was very memorable nonetheless. 

Once again, Scuderia Ferrari had showered me with world class hospitality. Edge Global Events didn't put a foot wrong and ensured a hassle free weekend for me. There is nothing more that I could have asked for from these wonderful people!

The "Paddock Club Diaries" from 2018 will conclude after the Abu Dhabi GP ( Season ender ) experience. So watch this space!

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 :