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Posts for Tag: 2013

Paddock Club Diaries - Abu Dhabi GP 2013 Day 3

Sunday was the Big Day!! The Final day of the Paddock Club Diaries for this Season! The last of the 4th and Final Paddock Club Experience for me.

Well, Lets relive it!

UAE is known for its fancy cars and I came across a couple on my way to Yas Island.

Enroute to Yas Island :

I reached the Paddock Club and the First event of the day was the GP2 Sprint Race :

Kimi Raikkonen joined us in the Suite to oblige the guests with autographs!!

Eric Boullier talking about the Team's Performance so far


A quick lunch and it was time to go down for the Final Pit Lane Walk of the weekend and the Final one for me to be at. I wanted to make the most of it.

Shots from the Pit-Lane Walk :

A Moment with Steve Robertson ( Kimi Raikkonen's Manager ). He is a very approachable man and very humble.

The Pit Lane Walk ended and preparations were in full swing for the race.

Cars doing installation laps :

Lotus Boys taking sighters of the Track :

The Grid Preparations :

The Etihad Airways Fly-Past :

The Cars rolled out for the Formation Lap and the Mechanics had to run back to the pits!

Video Link :

The Cars lined up on the Grid and Expectations were high. Kimi Raikkonen started at the back of the grid after the disqualification on Saturday and I was praying for a strong result.

Race Start Video Link :

The Race began and Kimi jumped the Marussia but ran a bit wide on the kerb. The Resulting imbalance caused contact with the Caterham and damaged the front suspension rod. It was a First Lap retirement for the Iceman and a good weekend that went from bad to worse for me :( A Rare Retirement for the Iceman...

There was still a race to be won and here are some shots from the Race :

McLaren Mercedes during their Pit-Stop

Video Link :

The Lotus F1 Team in the Race :

Lotus F1 Team Pit-Stop Video Link :

The Chequered Flag came out and it was Sebastien Vettel again who took victory! Mark Webber finished 2nd while Nico Rosberg held off a late charge by Romain Grosjean to hold onto 3rd place.

Kimi Raikkonen was the sole retirement in the race.

Video Link ( Chequered Flag ) :

Fireworks display :

Parc - Ferme :

It was time to say goodbye to my friends at Lotus F1 Team and as I headed out, I saw the Yas Marina Hotel shining in all its glory!!

Some more exotics on the way back :

It was a good weekend from a neutral point of view but very disappointing as a Kimi Fan.

I was sad to see it end like this. This was the last race in 2013 that I would be at and it turned out to be the last one for Kimi too as he decided to go in for Back Surgery.

Overall it was a satisfactory 2013 for me. It all started with an All Expenses Paid trip to the Malaysian GP thanks to Tourism Malaysia. Then the German GP, Italian GP, Indian GP and the Abu Dhabi GP to make it 5 races for the season. I was with the Lotus F1 Team in the Paddock for the 4 races and I must say it was a great experience. I shall cherish every moment.

A Special Thank you to Oliver Anderson, Anne-Charlotte Remy, Sophie Stapleton, Anna Pamin, Fleur Foster, Francois Puentes, James Robinson, Gaby Mills, Anita Nyers, Fred Garcia and Luca Mazzocco for all the Hospitality shown to me.

I made some really dear friends in this season and I am thankful to God that I got a chance to meet such wonderful people!!

A Big Thank you to YOU my followers and readers on various social platforms who have been patient enough and enjoyed reading everything that I have shared over the past year.

2014 will have its own experiences and I pray that I get a chance to be at a couple of races... Fingers Crossed.

God Bless You All!!

Paddock Club Diaries - Abu Dhabi GP 2013 Day 2

Saturdays normally start early for the teams but the Abu Dhabi GP being a twilight race meant that the teams could have a slightly later start to the day.

Saturdays would see the Teams do Qualifying Simulations in FP3 and prepare themselves for Qualifying.

Enroute to the Circuit :

The First Pit Lane Walk sees the team practice their Pit Stops.

Shots from the Pit Lane Walk :

Video Link of the Lotus F1 Team practising their Pit Stop :

The Paddock Club was open and I made it to the Terrace to indulge in some snacks prior to lunch

The GP2 Feature Race was the First Event of the Day and it was quite a start.

Video Link :


FP3 was a very important session for many teams. The Lap times were close and this was a precursor to an awesome Qualifying Session

Shots from FP3 :

Lotus F1 Team in action in FP3 :

Sebastien Vettel
was the Fastest in FP3. Romain Grosjean was 5th and Kimi Raikkonen 9th.

Alan Permane and Eric Boullier in a very engrossing conversation :

We were soon joined by Sir Jackie Stewart in the Suite and he shared about his career in F1 and his role in the team now.

The time for the Final Pit-Lane Walk of the day had come and it was time to see the Teams prepare for Qualifying up-close.

Shots from the Pit-Lane Walk :

A Moment with Mark Arnall - Kimi's Physical Instructor!

The Pit Lane was then vacated to make way for the start of the Qualifying Session!

saw the elimination of the slowest 6 drivers.

Shots from Q1 :

Lotus F1 Team in Q1 :

Lewis Hamilton was fastest in Q1. Kimi Raikkonen was 3rd fastest and Romain Grosjean 8th fastest.

The Lull before Q2 :

decided the final 10 drivers for the Final Shoot-out ( Q3 )

Shots from Q2 :

Lotus F1 Team in action in Q2 :

Nico Rosberg was the Fastest in Q2. Romain Grosjean was 8th Fastest while Kimi Raikkonen was 9th Fastest.

Fernando Alonso was shunted out of Q2 in 11th Place.

Q3 would be a closely fought session and once gain it was a duel between the Red Bulls and the Mercedes AMG Petronas teams.

Shots from Q3 :

Lotus F1 Team in Q3 :

A Red Bull was on pole and it was Mark Webber! The Australian pipped his team-mate to finish fastest in Q3.

Kimi Raikkonen did well to qualify 5th while Romain Grosjean qualified in 7th Place. It was a great session for Lotus F1 Team until a couple of hours later news emerged that Kimi Raikkonen was Excluded from the Qualifying Session!!!!

Kimi's car had floor damage and failed a floor deflection test. The Result was his 5th Position being snatched from him and the Finn had to start last. So much effort down the drain...

Post Qualifying, Romain Grosjean joined us in the Suite for a Quick Q&A and Autograph session

A Moment with Romain Grosjean :

His departure also signaled the closure of the Paddock Club for the day.

The Yas Marina Hotel at night :

The F1 Village at Night :

It would have been a great day had it not been for Kimi's Disqualification from Qualifying.

Nevertheless, I would like to thank the Lotus F1 Team for all the Hospitality shown to me.

A Big Thank you to Oliver Anderson, Anita Nyers, Francois Puentes, Anne-Charlotte Remy and Fleur Foster for taking such good care of me.

The Sunday too was very different. Experience coming soon...

Paddock Club Diaries - Abu Dhabi GP 2013 Day 1

The Abu Dhabi GP was one race I really wanted to attend. Kimi Raikkonen's Victory in 2012 meant that a 2013 race could not be missed.

The Abu Dhabi GP was my 5th and the Final Live Race in 2013. One must say that the track and the atmosphere is awe-inspiring.

Not everything went as planned but nevertheless let us relive those memories and as usual the Day 1 Experience First!!

I was staying in Dubai so travelling to the circuit meant that it would be a 2 hour journey ( approx ). However with a nice set of wheels, its a breeze!

Enroute to the Circuit :

The Drive to the Circuit entrance was smooth but it is highly recommended that you get the Parking Pass for all 3 days. Intra-Circuit shuttles do run but they drop you at odd locations and you still end up walking quite a distance. The Security Checks are Airport-grade which is nice.

However the Staff needs to be well informed about exits and routes to help visitors. Many were listless and offered poor advice which meant many were left going round and round in circles. A Big Let down for a circuit with such fantastic facilities.

The F1 Village Area :

The Yas Marina Hotel !

The Lotus F1 Team had their own suite at the race :

The View of the Track from the Suite :

It was soon time for FP1.

Shots from FP1 :

Chequered Flag for FP1 :

Lotus F1 Team in action during FP1 :

Romain Grosjean was the Fastest in FP1 !!! Kimi Raikkonen was 6th Fastest ! The Signs looked good for the team..

An Early Dinner!!

As always it was time for the Pit Lane Walk!

Shots from the Pit Lane Walk :

The Lotus F1 Team readying the Cars for FP2 !

Ciaron Pilbeam, Mark Slade, Rob Cherry and Jamie readying the Iceman's Car - SWEET!

We were soon joined by Davide Valsecchi in the Suite. As usual the Italian was all smiles and chirpy as ever. He Truly deserves to be driving for a F1 team.. Is anybody listening??

It was soon time for FP2 to start and the Twilight session looked absolutely beautiful!!

Team Pit Walls from FP2 :

Shots from FP2 :

Lotus F1 team in FP2 :

Sebastien Vettel was Fastest in FP2. Kimi Raikkonen was only 3 Tenths off the Pace in P4 which was a great sign. Romain Grosjean struggled in P12...

The Track under Lights - Beautiful!

Some More Stills from the Lotus F1 Team Suite :

Dessert Station!! Ice Cream, Chocolates, Cookies, Macaroons!! Control......

The Yas Hotel and the Yas Marina Area at night!

It was time to return to Dubai! A Fantastic Day 1 at the Yas Marina Circuit! Thank you Lotus F1 Team for all the Hospitality!

Day 2 and Day 3 Experiences to follow soon....