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Posts for Tag: Day 1

Paddock Club Diares - 2017 Belgian Grand Prix - Day 1

The Latest post in the Paddock Club Diaries comes in from the 2017 Belgian Grand Prix. The Event was held from 22nd August to 24th August at the iconic Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.

I had the privilege of being a guest of Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team in the Paddock Club and as always, the first post is from what I experienced on Friday.

I stayed at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Hasselt. Hasselt is the birthplace of Red Bull Racing Driver Max Verstappen and about an hour's drive from the circuit. An early morning drive from Hasselt is recommended as the traffic was atrocious going into Spa.

Enroute to the Circuit :

The Race Passes picked up from Radisson Blu Hotel in Spa :

Walking to the circuit :

The Scuderia Ferrari F1 Club :

The View from the Ferrari F1 Club :

I didn't have the opportunity of making it to the First Pit Lane walk of the day and as soon as I settled in the Suite, it was time for Free Practice 1.

Shots from FP1 :

Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team during FP1 :

Chequered Flag :

Kimi Raikkonen was the fastest in FP1 with Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel completing the Top 3. Only a tenth of a second separated the trio.

Marc Gene visits the Ferrari F1 Club for a quick Q&A :

Video Link of the Interview :

A Moment with Marc Gene :

Friends, Scuderia Ferrari Family!

Prior to the Pit Lane Walk, I signed up to go downstairs and join other guests on a truck which would take us around the track for an amazing tour. Its a part of the F1 Experiences, a new initiative by the new owners of F1 to bring the sport closer to its fans.

I got the Chance to do the Paddock Club Track Truck Tour. The Best Experience ever!

Video Link of the Track Truck Tour :

Shots from the 2nd Pit Lane Walk of the day :

The Scuderia Ferrari Garage :

Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari being readied for FP2 ( Video Link ) :


I had a hearty lunch and it was time to settle in for Free Practice 2. FP2 saw limited running after an hour thanks to rain belting down on the track. Only Daniel Ricciardo and Fernando Alonso volunteered to venture out but the conditions got treacherous really quickly.

Shots from FP2 :

Free Practice 2 saw Lewis Hamilton set the Fastest time. Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas not too far behind.

The track was then thrown open to the 2 Seater F1 Cars from the F1 Experiences.

2 Seater F1 cars offering those with deep pockets a couple of laps around the circuit. A new venture called F1 Experiences.

Formula 2 cars then took to the track for the Qualifying Session.

Qualifying Session of F2 :

The Session over, it was time to head back to the hotel, get some dinner, rest and be ready for Saturday Morning!

Returning to Hasselt :

It was quite an eventful Friday. I got the opportunity to be in the garage when it was raining in FP2 and the Ferrari cars up close!

Thank you to Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team and the hosts for hosting me over the weekend. Thank you to Edge Global Events for ensuring everything was arranged for and I was not found wanting anything.

Saturday and Sunday experiences to follow soon. Watch this space!

Paddock Club Diares - 2017 Spanish Grand Prix - Day 1

Spain was a fantastic race to be at in 2016. I also had the opportunity of meeting F1 personnel in 2016 so returning to Catalunya in 2017 needed little persuasion.

It is one of the easiest tracks to get to and offers a lot of access for the fans.

Liberty Media, the new owners of F1 have also added a lot of experiences to the fans and guests of the Paddock Club and I shall be documenting some of them in the post.

The Spanish Grand Prix was held from 12th May to 14th May and this is Day 1 i.e. Friday Experience from the weekend.

The Passes arrived on time :

I got a chance to meet Fernando Alonso on Wednesday as he was launching the "Join the Pact" McLaren campaign for the upcoming weekend. McLaren were staying in the same hotel so it was nice to bump into F1 personnel on a regular basis.

A Selfie with Fernando Alonso!

Gavin Emmett of BT Sport; Gavin was present to interview Alonso for BT Sport and it was nice to have a chat with him.

Enroute to the circuit :

The Paddock Club doesn't open until 10 am. However the Pit Lane is open for the guests and Friday Morning is the best time to be in the pits as most teams allow guests to get close to the cars.

A 2 lap run in a Formula Minardi 2 seater is one of the newest offerings for Paddock Club Guests :

Shots from the Pit Lane Walk :

Haas F1 Firing up before FP1 ( Video Link ) :

Kimi Raikkonen's car Systems check before FP1 ( Video Link ) :

Shots with the GoPro Hero4 Black from the Pit lane:

We were ushered into the Paddock Club and the Club had a new vibe and feel to it. A freshness, unlike the same old same old. Show Cars at the entrance, music, dance, simulators, it just felt different.

Shots of the Paddock Club :

Photos with the Display Cars from 2016 outside the Paddock Club :

As Always, Ferrari had their own suite and like 2016 Pirelli shared the suite with Ferrari. 

Shots of the Ferrari F1 Club shared with Pirelli.

I took some time to take in the sights before the session began and was happy to see the same set of fans with their flags showing their support for Kimi Raikkonen and his Physio Mark Arnall

Kimi Raikkonen Fans showing their support :

Stands empty on Friday morning but the numbers increase considerably by afternoon :

It was time for Free Practice 1 to begin :

Scuderia Ferrari F1 in FP1 :

Pit Walls busy :

Chequered Flag to mark the end :

Lewis Hamilton was fastest with Valterri Bottas, Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel hot on his heels.

It was time to have a quick lunch before heading down to the second pit lane walk of the day :

I spotted Pascal Wehrlein having his lunch while walking towards the pit lane!

Mark Sutton, Ace Photographer!

Shots from the Pit Lane Walk :

Renault Sport F1 Getting ready for FP2 ( Video Link ) :

Shots from the Scuderia Ferrari F1 Garage :

Photos with Kevin and Paul, New Friends!

Mark Arnall, Kimi Raikkonen's Physio and a thorough gent!

Dave Greenwood, Kimi Raikkonen's Race Engineer :

Max Verstappen Fans in attendance :

We made it back to the Paddock Club and it was time for Free Practice 2!

Shots from FP2 :

Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team in FP2 :

Chequered Flag :

Drivers returning to the pits after FP2 :

Lewis Hamilton was the fastest again. Valtteri Bottas, Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel were within half a second of his best time.

Post FP2 we were joined by Scuderia Ferrari F1 Development Driver Marc Gene who shared his views on the team's chances for the weekend and the setup required for a track like Circuit de Catalunya

Marc Gene in the Ferrari F1 Club ( Video Link ) :

I also got a chance to interview him!

A Moment with Marc Gene!

Formula 2, formerly known as GP2 and F2 in short have their qualifying session in the evening.

Shots from the F2 Qualifying Session :



It was time to go downstairs after F2 Qualifying and experience the newest offering by Liberty Media for the Paddock Club Guests - a tour of the F2 Paddock and an interactive session with Russian Time Racing and a tour of the track on the Parade Truck.

Some more shots of the Display Cars outside the Paddock Club.

Part 1 of the Paddock Club Guests' Experience was a tour of the F2 ( formerly GP2 ) Paddock and an interactive with Russian Time Racing. Our Host was an ex-Porsche Carrera Cup Driver Sam Power. He is an absolute star! Knowledgeable, Technical, Humorous he has it all! It would be criminal to not be with him on tour!

Part 2 of the Paddock Club Guests' Experience was the Paddock Club Parade Truck Tour - A Tour of the Track on the Drivers Parade Truck. We were joined by Driver Coach Michael Reedy who is training Haas F1 Development Driver and Jenzer Motorsport Racer ( from GP3 ). He talked us through the entire circuit and the various challenges a driver faces; not to mention the hillarious exhange and banter with Sam Power throughout the tour. The track's gradient changes were eye-opening. It definitely isn't  as easy as it looks on TV.

Selfies and more Selfies!

Photos taken with the GoPro Hero4 Black on the Paddock Club Parade Truck tour.

Video Link of the Track Truck Tour :

The Tour ended and it was time to head back to the Hotel.

Returning to the Hotel

Reached the Hotel and was overjoyed to see Hilton hosting McLaren F1 Team.

What a day it had been! Kimi Raikkonen and Ferrari looked strong and the signs of a strong Sunday seemed certain. Credit to Liberty Media for freshening up the Paddock Club Experience for the guests.

A Big Thank you to Edge Global Events for arranging the Passes and ensuring a hassle-free weekend, Thank you to Scuderia Ferrari F1 and Pirelli for their Hospitality!

Saturday and Sunday Experiences to follow soon! Watch this Space!