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Paddock Club Diaries - German GP 2013 Day 3

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 :

Starters :

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!

Paddock Club Diaries - German GP 2013 Day 2

Day 1 at the German GP was a memorable one. Saturday would feature the Saturday Practice and the Qualifying Sessions for F1. Teams would try to get some more clarity about their race pace and more importantly run "Qualifying Simulations" in the Practice.

Enroute to the Circuit ( A different route this time ) :

I started early in the morning but couldn't make it in time for the Team Pit-Stop Practice. The Saturday Practice was pretty early in the morning to give the teams ample time to prepare cars for Qualifying.

Some shots from the Saturday Practice :

The Lotus F1 team going about their job :

Sebastien Vettel was the Fastest in the session, Kimi 6th and Romain 8th Fastest

The Top Bosses from Auden McKenzie shared the table and we were soon joined by the 1996 F1 World Champion Damon Hill. A healthy discussion was followed by lunch. Meeting the legend all over again was a great feeling  :

Lunch, forgot to click the Main Course in the excitement of meeting someone special ;)

The Lunch also overlaps the 2nd Pit Lane Walk timings. We all rushed to the pitlane to prepare for the arrival of the one and only ICEMAN KIMI RAIKKONEN!!

A quick Meet and Greet event. I was also able to give Kimi the gift I had made for him.


Jean-Eric Vergne's Car being wheeled back to the garage post FIA Checks

The Main Grandstand here is a lot closer than other tracks. Helps the Fans to be closer to the action!

It was time for the Qualifying to start! The Session that would decide the Race Grid.

Shots from Q1 :

Lotus F1 Team in Q1 :

Felipe Massa surprised everyone with the Fastest time. Kimi was 2nd and Romain 9th Fastest

Q2 began a few minutes later. The 2nd elimination would separate the Top 10 for the Final shootout in Q3.

Some Shots from Q2 :

Lotus F1 Team in their quest to make it to Q3 :

Felipe Massa was the Fastest again. Kimi was 2nd and Romain 4th Fastest.

Q3 was the final shootout for the Final 10 drivers. I was taken down to the Garage to be with the Team for Q3. However I was able to capture some stills.

The Final 10 minutes was a game of strategy. Everyone wanted to have their final stint as late as possible.

Q3 ended with Lewis Hamilton on top. Kimi made an error in the First sector that denied him a front row start. Kimi was 4th and Romain qualified 5th.

Both had strong qualifying positions and the signs looked good for the race.

We Returned upstairs and were soon informed that Sebastien Vettel was coming to the Red Bull Hospitality Area. I couldn't get too close but managed to capture some canny shots :

Eric Boullier and Alan Permane looking relaxed after the session. So Happy to see both Cheerful!

The New Wheels of the Lotus F1 Team :

It was a memorable Saturday and it was time to return in the evening. The Roads are very scenic. You have to love the Autobahns.

A Big Thank You to the Lotus F1 Team for all the Hospitality shown and a special thanks to Oliver Anderson too for all the help.

The Events that unfolded on Sunday shall be updated soon. God Bless Everyone!

Paddock Club Diaries - German GP 2013 Day 1

I start a new series today. Its called the "Paddock Club Diaries". I shall be documenting my experiences from the various Paddock Clubs at the Grand Prix I have had the privilege of being at. The Silverstone GP in 2012 was already documented. The Indian GP ( 2012 ) shall be done soon but first I shall be sharing my experience of The Paddock Club of the German GP held at the Nurburgring from 5th July to 7th July 2013. The Circuit is nestled amongst the hills in the Eifel Region and has a great history in Motor-racing. The Circuit's chance of hosting the GP was almost jeopardized but Bernie Ecclestone ensured that this did not happen.

Once again as a guest of the Lotus F1 Team I was able to have the privilege of seeing my favourite driver KIMI RAIKKONEN up-close.

My passes were delivered a day before the GP - Elegant as ever :

All preparations done, it was time to leave for the circuit early in the Morning. Enroute to the circuit :

Nurburgring, Friday Morning :

The Paddock Club wasn't ready for its guests yet but the Pit Lane was open for the Pit Lane Walk and it was time to explore the garages up-close! As a guest of Lotus F1 , I had the privilege of entering their garage!!

The Lotus F1 Mechanics preparing the Cars for Battle :

The Pit Lane Walk lasted 45 minutes and we were then ushered into the Club Suite. The Location of the Suite was perfect and offered fantastic vantage points to view the sessions!!

Before we knew it, the First Friday Practice Session was already upon us! FP1 saw teams tinker with various setups and upgrades to monitor car performance. Some Shots from the FP1 :

The Iceman doing his job!

The Teams monitoring all the data :

Lewis Hamilton was the Fastest in the session, Kimi Raikkonen was 5th and Romain Grosjean 9th.

FP2 was still a couple of hours away so I dug into some sweets

Lunch was served on time and was delicious as always :

We were joined by Davide Valsecchi, the Lotus F1 Reserve Driver post lunch. A Very Humble and Gracious person indeed!

His Departure was soon followed by the 2nd Pit Lane Walk.

The 2nd Pit Lane Walk saw more guests and some teams had a lot more on display :

The Podium and the Safety Car :

Williams F1 were celebrating their 600th GP Weekend. A Big Congratulations to them!

FP2 finally began and I was able to capture some great photos. FP2 is a session that teams utilize to monitor Race Pace. Qualifying Simulations are also run. Some more stills!

Kimi Raikkonen flying again!

Sebastien Vettel was the Fastest in the session, Romain Grosjean was 4th and Kimi Raikkonen 5th.

Finishing my Desserts during FP2 :

FP2 ended and it was time for the GP2 Qualifying Session. The Train of Cars :

The Club Suite. A Fantastic Place to enjoy an F1 Weekend!

The Team Motorhomes from the Paddock Club :

I was also taken down to the Team Garage on 4 occasions. I was able to see the team work up-close during the sessions, the race engineers conversing with their respective pilots and the mechanics making setup changes and doing practice pit-stops. It was an amazing experience! ( Photography forbidden within the Team Garages )

The Paddock Club shut at 6:30 pm and I had some time to explore the F1 Village. This is the First Covered Village I have seen. The arrangements done by the organisers must be commended.

The Journey back to the Hotel :

It was a great day at the Paddock Club, a really memorable one.

A Big Thank You to the Lotus F1 Team for all the Hospitality. A Big Thank You to Oliver Anderson too for all the help. Really appreciate it!

The Saturday experience shall be coming soon! Watch this Space!!