Sunday finally arrived. I had 2 wonderful days at the Paddock Club and Sunday would be the icing on the Cake.
Day 3, the day of the Race!
I left early in the morning and still encountered some traffic near the circuit. The Journey though was smooth over all 3 days. KUDOS to the Organisers!
Enroute to the Circuit :
I was in awe of the F1 Village, the only covered facility I have seen so far. One must admit that the Germans are very organised. I spent some more time exploring and buying some merchandise :
The Paddock Club finally opened and the First Surprise of the Day was Mark Webber's appearance in the Red Bull Hospitality Area.
He spoke about the circuit in general and events that led him to believe that the time was right to retire from the sport and explore other endeavours
The Motorhomes on Sunday Morning :
The Paddock Club on Sunday Morning :
Tyres being Readied for Battle ( although Wets would not be used ) :
Valtteri Bottas made an appearance in the Williams Hospitality :
The Lotus Guests were soon joined by Romain Grosjean who was in a cheerful mood as usual :
A Moment with Romain :
The First Race of the Day was the Porsche Super Cup :
Lunch was fairly early in the afternoon to make time for the only Pit Lane Walk on Sunday :
Main Course :
After a hearty meal, it was time to burn some calories and watch the teams prepare ( up-close ) for the Grand Prix.
Shots from the Lotus F1 Team Garage :
I returned from the Pit Lane Walk and was in for a pleasant surprise. The team took me down to the garage to witness all the preparations going on 30 minutes prior to the race start. I was there till Lap 8. I took some photos but cannot share them as they are the ownership of the Lotus F1 Team.
However there is one : Kimi walking to his Lotus E21 on the Grid :
Once I returned to the Paddock, I was shocked to see the unfortunate incident of the Cameraman being hit by a loose wheel from Webber's Car unfold right below me. Thank God he has recovered from the incident and the FIA has taken bigger steps to improve safety within the Pit-Lane.
Shots from the Early Part of the Race :
Kimi pitted early but Romain continued his charge and set a series of Fastest Laps in the lead!
Hamilton became a nuisance for the Early Stoppers but Kimi disposed him off with ease to start his charge towards the Front. Fernando though wasn't so lucky.
Kimi had to play catch-up to bring down the gap :
Jules Bianchi suffered an Engine Failure and had to leave the car in a jiffy. ( Lap 23 ). However a Lap Later the Marussia started rolling backwards onto the Track triggering a safety car situation. This led to a flurry of pit-stops and Kimi was able to negate the 10 sec lead that Vettel had.
The Safety car came in at Lap 30 and Vettel started pulling away slowly. Romain and Kimi kept him in sight but Alonso could not keep up with the Trio.
Nico Hulkenberg pitting :
The Pit Lane Poker at the front started with Romain Grosjean being the first one to pit on Lap 41 :
Hamilton and Rosberg pitted soon after :
Kimi Raikkonen got a free track after Vettel pitted and the fight for the front was a wide-open one.
Kimi finally pitted on Lap 50 to switch to Soft Tyres ( Options ), Alonso followed suit. The Order though at the front remained unchanged.
Kimi on the Option Tyre started catching the duo at front and Alonso too seemed to be joining the party.
Kimi passed Romain on Lap 55 but not before the latter being informed about the Finn being on the option tyre and the team request to not hold him up ( Championship Contender )
Kimi wasted no time in closing the gap to Vettel and reduce his lead to less than second in the penultimate lap :
Alonso too closed in on Grosjean but the latter held on for a deserved 3rd place. Kimi tried his best but had to settle for 2nd place. Vettel admitted that he was glad that the race ended on Lap 60 and not 61 or 62 else Kimi would have been the sure winner!
The Team Personnel and Fans rush towards the Podium :
The Podium Finishers and a Pensive Kimi :
The Team ensured that all the Paddock Club Guests got a photo opportunity with the Trophies!!
The Team Members with the Trophies!
The Trophies :
The Team Trucks and The Personnel began their work of Dismantling everything :
It was time to say goodbye to the Team after 3 days of being together...
A Big Thank You to Sophie, Luca, Gaby, Anne-Charlotte and James for hosting me and being extremely hospitable and gracious.
A Big Thank You to Oliver Anderson for all the assistance offered. Really missed his presence at Germany.
Finally a Big Thank You to the Lotus F1 Team, Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean for such a rocking weekend and fantastic results.
I hope the team goes from strength to strength from here on!!
Monza, Italy, The Land of the Tifosi is my next stop. The Paddock Club Diaries continue then....
God Bless Everyone!