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Paddock Club Diaries - German GP 2014 Day 3

Raceday finally dawned and the big day had arrived!!

An early start to the day as usual, Sunday was going to be fantastic again!

Enroute to the Circuit :

I took a new route again on Sunday and this time I passed through camping sites.

Some shots enroute :

Enroute, I was pleasantly surprised to see the Vintage cars that were to be used for the Drivers' Track Parade :

I reached the Paddock club and we were soon joined by Paul Hembery, Pirelli's Motorsport Director.

He discussed the strains that the company faces in delivering the required number of tyres over a season and how each tyre compound is designed for varying conditions.

His departure was soon followed by the one and only KIMI RAIKKONEN!! Kimi discussed about his chances for the weekend and  for Ferrari for the remaining part of 2014.

Video Link for Kimi Raikkonen's Interview :

Kimi Raikkonen left and we were joined by the Ferrari Test Driver, Marc Gene. Marc is a great human being and a very talented driver. It was a privilege meeting him!

Before the Final Pit Lane Walk I was taken downstairs for a quick Garage Tour.

Shots from the Paddock :

The Ferrari F14T Firing up and being readied for the race. Video Link :

Shots from the Garage :

I made a quick run back up to collect my Autograph Booklet and rushed back downstairs for the Final Pit Lane Walk of the weekend!

Shots from the Pit Lane Walk :

Scuderia Ferrari F1 getting ready for Battle :

A Moment with Andrea Stella, Fernando Alonso's Race Engineer :

The Track Parade was an amazing experience! The People dressed up in their Regional Clothing with their Regional Flags containing their Coat of Arms and marched to a melodious drum beat.

Video Link :

Sky Sports F1 getting ready for the Pre - Race Show!

I headed back upstairs and it was time for a Quick Lunch before the Race Start :

The Cars soon started rolling out of the Pit Lane as the Pit Lane opened to start preparations for the Grid for the Race!

Preparations in full swing for the Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team :

Mechanics make their way to the Grid to wheel the cars into their Grid Slots :

The Fans building up the traditional European atmosphere for an F1 Grand Prix.

A Big Rule Change came into effect :

Two weeks before the race, the FIA announced an immediate ban on the Front-and-Rear Interconnected suspension system (commonly abbreviated as FRIC), effective as of the German Grand Prix, arguing that the FRIC system qualified as a movable aerodynamic device under Article 3.15 of the technical regulations. ( Source - FIA )

There were some changes to the grid. Gutierrez qualified P14, but dropped three places for causing a collision at previous round. Lewis Hamilton opted for a gear box change and earned a 5 place grid penalty to start 20th.
Ericsson failed to meet 107% requirement but raced at stewards' discretion

The Formation Lap - 2014 German Grand Prix. Video Link :

The Cars line up for the 5 Red Lights and Race Start!

Race Start - 2014 German Grand Prix. Video Link :

A Huge Incident at the First Turn of the First Lap meant that the Safety Car had to come out. Kevin Magnussen got a good start but Felipe Massa turned into the him and the contact caused the Brazilian's Williams to flip over thrice. The Safety Car came out until the debris cleared.

Race Restart after Safety Car. Video Link :

Shots from the Race :

Some More Stills :

Scuderia Ferrari F1 during the Race :

I had the opportunity of going down into the Pit Garage and watching the Race Unfold. Post the Experience, I made it back to the Suite.

Fernando A
lonso Pit Stop. Video Link :

Kimi Raikkonen Pit Stop. Video Link :

Kimi Raikkonen had damage to his front wing after 2 incidents. First Involving Hamilton and then the duo of Vettel and Alonso. The damage severely compromised his race and he could only manage 11th.

Fernando Alonso
had a mighty battle with Daniel Ricciardo but came out on top. He finished 5th.

Chequered Flag at the 2014 German Grand Prix. Video Link :

Nico Rosberg took Victory and did his championship chances a world of good after disappointment at the British Grand Prix.
Valtteri Bottas 
did an amazing job to hold off a charging Lewis Hamilton to take 2nd. Lewis produced a stellar drive to take the final step on the podium after starting 20th.

Vettel, Alonso, Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, Button, Magnussen, Perez completed the top 10.

The different moods on the Pit Wall at the end of the Race. The Mercedes AMG Petronas team couldn't contain their joy!

James Allison ( Technical Director for Ferrari and Ex-Lotus ) enjoying a light conversation with Antonio Spagnolo ( Kimi Raikkonen's Race Engineer )

Scenes from the Podium Celebrations :

A Certain Footballer by the name of Lukas Podolski joined the celebrations in the Mercedes AMG Petronas Team's Garage :

Sky Sports F1 ( UK and Italy ) reviewing the race as it starts pouring on the circuit. F1 Greats Damon Hill, Johnny Herbert ( for UK ) and Jacques Villeneuve ( for Italy ) seen here.

A Moment with the Hosts at the Ferrari Formula 1 Club! Thank you for the amazing hospitality!

The Boys who drive the Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team Forward : Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen!

The Suite now bears a deserted look.

Its Goodbye to Germany for the Ferrari Formula 1 Club and onwards to Hungary!

The Teams Packing Up and getting ready to head out for the Next GP in Hungary.

Enroute to Frankfurt and I get to see the beautiful Mercedes SLS - AMG! ( Also the Safety Car in F1 )

Returning to Frankfurt :

The Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team had a mediocre weekend in Germany but they still were the most reliable team on the grid and with improvements coming in all the time, the Glory Days are not far.

It was an amazing weekend for me and an exciting experience with a different team! I would like to thank everyone at the Ferrari Formula 1 Club for being great hosts. Thank you for the wonderful gifts everyday!

Thank You to Scuderia Ferrari F1 for accepting me into the family and entertaining me throughout.

Kimi Raikkonen you were awesome as ever! Win or Lose, Always an Iceman Fan! Thank you for the memories and all the best for the upcoming races!

Fernando Alonso you amazed one and all with your amazing consistency and performing well against all odds!

Finally a Big Thank You to Exclusive GP for all the arrangements and ensuring that everything leading up to the Grand Prix was Hassle - Free :)

Next Race? - Austin Texas.

Mid Season Review coming up in the next few days,... so watch this space....

Paddock Club Diaries - German GP 2014 Day 2

Saturdays are always an early morning start for the teams. It wasn't any different from me. A quick breakfast and it was time to hit the road.

Enroute to the Circuit :

An Hour drive and then the walk to the Paddock again, this time a different route :

The Early Morning Pit Lane walk is a pleasant one.. Few visitors and ample time to roam.

Shots from the Pit Lane Walk :

The First Hour of Activity is reserved for Teams to practice their pit stops.

My Friends at Lotus F1 Team showing their skills with their Pit Stops! Video Link :

Shots from the Scuderia Ferrari F1 Garage :

The Pit Lane walk ended and everyone were getting ready for the final practice session before the Qualifying.

Scuderia Ferrari F1
shared their suite with Official Tyre Suppliers for F1 - PIRELLI!

showcasing all the Tyre compounds for this year - 4 Types of Slicks ( Dry ), the Intermediates and the Full Wets.

Pirelli also conducted a test with the Lotus F1 Team to test their 18" Wheels at Silverstone the previous week. Showcased here :

The View from the Suite, GP 2 Teams getting ready for Qualifying and then the F1 Teams getting ready for FP3 :

The end of the Qualifying for GP2 marked the Start of the Final Practice Session. FP3.

Team Bosses taking their places on the Pit Wall :

The Scuderia Ferrari F1 decision makers take their places :

FP3, the final practice session before Qualifying sees the Teams do Qualifying Simulations.

Shots from FP3 :

Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team in FP3 :

Chequered Flag in FP3 :

Kvyat, Vergne and Kobayashi returning from the FIA Centre after FP3 :

Nico Rosberg outclassed Hamilton to be fastest in FP3. Fernando Alonso was 3rd Fastest while Kimi could only manage 8th.

It was time for a quick lunch and then getting ready for Qualifying :

We were soon joined by Mario Isola, Pirelli's Racing Manager who discussed which tyre compounds had been selected for the weekend and the amount of effort that goes into the manufacturing of these engineering marvels.

No sooner did he leave and we were joined by the Double World Champion Fernando Alonso!! Fernando discussed the chances for the team and the fact that they were improving slowly.

A Mega Selfie by Fernando Alonso!

Alonso gave us a quick farewell and it was time to go down and watch the teams make their final preparations before Qualifying

Shots from the Pit-Lane Walk :

Sky Sports F1 Boys Damon Hill and Johnny Herbert getting ready for the Pre - Qualifying show.

Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team completing the Final Setups for Battle!

A Moment with the Red Hot Wings :)

The Pit Walls are ready for Qualifying:

Shots from Q1 :

Scuderia Ferrari F1 in Q1 :

However the Session had to be Red Flagged as Lewis Hamilton's car suffered brake failure and caused him to crash out of Q1. The Session was delayed for the car to be cleared out of the gravel trap.

The Stage was set for Rosberg to go on pole and gain a massive advantage at his home race!

Chequered Flag ending Q1 :

Hamilton, Sutil, Bianchi, Maldonado, Kobayashi, Chilton, Ericsson could not make it out of Q1. Ericsson could not set a time within the 107 % rule ( 107 % of the Fastest time in Q1 ) but was allowed to race at the stewards' discretion.

Nico Rosberg was fastest in Q1. Fernando Alonso was 8th Fastest and Kimi Raikkonen was 11th Fastest for Ferrrari.

Q2 began without any delay.

Shots from Q2 :

Scuderia Ferrari F1 in Q2 :

Chequered Flag :

Nico Rosberg proved his mettle again in Q2 and was the Fastest. Scuderia Ferrari F1 had a very disappointing Q2 as Kimi Raikkonen could only manage P12 and was thus eliminated from further participation. Fernando Alonso was 7th Fastest.

Button, Raikkonen, Vergne, Gutierrez and Grosjean were eliminated from Q2.

Q3 was the Final session and the Top 10 shootout which would decide the Top 10 Grid for Sunday.

Shots from Q3 :

Scuderia Ferrari F1 in Q3 :

Chequered Flag :

Nico Rosberg was going to have a cake-walk to pole with Lewis Hamilton eliminated but the Williams Mercedes duo didn't make it easy for the German. Rosberg would start on pole. Bottas and Massa would complete the top 3 with the former only a couple of tenths slower than Rosberg.

Magnussen, Ricciardo, Vettel, Alonso, Kvyat, Hulkenberg, Perez completed the top 10.

So the Ferrari duo had their work cut out starting in 7th and 12th.

Post Qualifying, I had the opportunity of being the part of another Garage Tour!

Shots from the Paddock :

Tyre Warmers doing their job again :

Some Stills from the Ferrari Garage :

The Garage Tour ended and it was time to head back to the Suite and enjoy the GP2 Feature Race.

GP2, a feeder series and a support event at almost all F1 Races is a great spectacle in itself featuring youngsters who want to showcase their skills to make the final jump into F1. 2 Races are hosted, the Feature Race on Saturday and the Sprint Race on Sunday with the Reverse Grid ( Driver finishing 8th on Saturday starts on pole with the one winning starting 8th )


Feature Race Start Video Link :

End Of Lap 1 Video Link :

The end of the race also marked the end of the day and it was time to leave the Paddock!

Enroute to my pickup point :

Returning to Frankfurt :

It was a great experience with the Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team. We didn't have the best qualifying session but upgrades were trickling in every week and progress could be seen.

I would like to thank the Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team and the Hosts at the Ferrari Formula 1 Club for all their Hospitality and treating me with utmost care and affection. Its great to be a part of this family.

The Sunday Experience coming soon.. so watch this space!!!

Paddock Club Diaries - German GP 2014 Day 1

Kimi Raikkonen had 2 successful years with the Lotus F1 Team and joined Ferrari in 2014. It was an awesome experience being a guest of the Lotus F1 Team for 2 years and it was time to switch to the Prancing Horse.

I had the privilege of being a guest of the Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team at the German GP held at Hockenheimring.

This was the First Race this season that I got to be at and I must say that I had 3 wonderful days.

The Friday Experience, Documented!

An early start to the day ensured that I would reach the circuit in time as I had to collect tickets enroute.

Tickets in hand, Ready for Hockenheimring!

It was quite a long walk to the Paddock Club from the Drop off Point and No Shuttle Service available. Piece of Advice to future visitors : Get a Parking Pass!!

The Scuderia Ferrari F1 Suite is called The Ferrari Formula 1 Club - Classy Name I must say.

The Ferrari Formula 1 Club :

My Table :

The View from the Suite - STUNNING!

The Friday First Free Practice is an early morning affair which starts at 10 am and no sooner did I settle into the Suite and it was time for FP1 to begin.

FP1 always comprises of teams running different setups and the order gets refreshed many times.

Shots from FP1 :

The Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team in action in FP1 :

Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton were the fastest in FP1.

Fernando Alonso stayed close in 3rd. Kimi Raikkonen was 8th Fastest.

We were joined by Ferrari Reserve Driver Marc Gene at the end of FP1. He reviewed the Season for Scuderia Ferrari F1 so far and commented on the prospects of the team for the weekend.

A great guy and very approachable, a moment with Marc Gene. What an Honour!

The Team was kind enough to take me downstairs for a quick tour of the Motorhome and the Garage. The Motorhome is the Weekend abode for Drivers and Mechanics and also entertains VIP Guests and Top Sponsors of the Team. It also houses the Engineers who study and analyze the data and telemetry and discuss strategies to be adopted for the drivers.

Shots of the Paddock!

Shots from the Motorhome!

Tyre Warmers readying the Tyres for Kimi Raikkonen's Car and the Mechanics hard at work to get the F14 T ready for battle

The F14 T being readied for FP2. Enjoy the Music!!

Video Link :

No Day is complete without Amazing Food! A Couple for the Foodies!

The 2nd Pit Lane Walk is always an interesting one. Many times have Driver Appearances in their pit-box and if you are fortunate, you might just get a few autographs!

Shots from the Pit Lane Walk :

Shots from the Scuderia Ferrari F1 Pit Garage :

It was soon time for FP2 and the teams would go out to do Race Simulations.  FP2 is the most important session as it is representative of the times for teams running with both the Option and the Prime Tyres.

Shots from FP2 :