The Paddock Weekends - 2019 Belgian GP - Day 3

Sunday at the 2019 Belgian Grand Prix was an emotional one, a day of tributes. It was a day when the entire Motorsport community, teams and fans alike stood together as one to honour the racer that Anthoine Hubert was. It was a day when the Community reaffirmed, we stand together in the face of this loss and tragedy..we mourn today yet one day we shall rise again..

The Formula 2 Sprint Race was cancelled as a mark of respect. All the teams from both the Support Race and F1 Race Paddock congregated on the Pit Straight to pay tribute to the memory of Anthoine Hubert. The fans had decided to rise in standing ovation on Lap 19 ( the number on Hubert's car ) during the F1 race as a mark of the respect for the racer. The schedule for the rest of the day was unchanged. 


Making our way to Spa Francorchamps :


The Paddock on Sunday Morning, a busy day ahead for everyone but the atmosphere was sober and grim after the incident on Saturday.


Carlos Sainz Jr., McLaren Racing F1 Team :


Daniil Kvyat, Scuderia Toro Rosso F1 Team :


I made it into the Motorhome and Breakfast was waiting for us :


Post breakfast I went for a stroll through the Paddock and some more heroes from this profession.

The fighter Robert Kubica, Rokit Williams F1 Racing Team :


Esteban Ocon, Reserve Driver for Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team :


Double World Champion in Formula E, ex F1 racer Jean-Eric Vergne :


Sebastian Vettel! Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team!


Pierre Gasly, Scuderia Toro Rosso F1 Team :


Time for a quick bite before heading out for the Pit Lane Walk of the day :


Shots from the Pit Lane Walk :


We took our spots outside the Paddock to watch the race start and the Belgian Air Force obliged us with an amazing Fly-Past :


Video Link :



The Grid Kids making their way back from the Starting Grid :


The Race got underway shortly after.


Formation Lap ( Video Link ) :



Race Start ( Video Link ) :



Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen had a coming together at La Source hairpin in the opening lap. The Finn was left with a badly damaged floor and had to go through 2 pit stops before coming out at the back of the pack. Max wasn't as lucky and ended up in the barriers before Kemmel Straight. There was a collective groan from all the Dutch Fans who had made their way to the race to see their hero race. Credit to them, they stayed back to honour Hubert ( lap 19 tribute ). The Safety Car was deployed on the Opening Lap. 

It was a difficult race for Kimi thereafter. 


Race Restart after Safety Car Period ( Video Link ) :



Shots from the Race :


Alfa Romeo Racing F1 Team fighting hard in the Race :


I was in the Team Garage for the Latter Part of the Race and was able to watch a Pit Stop from the Garage!

Video Link :



Kimi came home in P16. Antonio Giovinazzi was doing a fine job in P9 until a mistake on the penultimate lap made him crash out of the race. It was a wretched weekend and zero points for the team :( Antonio also suffered from an impact ( whiplash ) injury and had to be attended to post race.


The cars making their way to Parc Ferme after the Race :


Charles Leclerc took victory from Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. Sebastian Vettel ended up P4 after some poor strategic calls by Ferrari. Ferrari were relieved to finally win a race in 2019. It was the start of a 3 race winning streak for the team, an indication that one should never write off the Prancing Horse.


Parc Ferme and Interviews for the Top 3 finishers.


Video Link :



The podium ready to welcome the Top 3 :


Presenting the Top 3 finishers of the 2019 Belgian GP :


Podium Presentation Video Link :



National Anthems time :


Trophy Presentation :


Video Link :



The cars sent to FIA Scrutineering :


I made my way back to the Motorhome and the team were distributing some Magnums. Helps cool everything down.


Packup time for the teams. The next race ( Italy ) takes place on the next weekend, so the turnaround time is very less for the teams.


Taking some more shots outside the Motorhome before its dismantled and shipped out :


I got to meet some more technical personnel!


Kimi Raikkonen's Race Engineer in Alfa Romeo Racing F1 Team, Mr. Julien Simon-Chautemps :


Masahi Yamamoto, Managing Director for Honda Racing in F1 :


The Paddock being wrapped up :

After a certain time, it becomes quite unsafe to loiter around and its advisable for guests to leave the Paddock Area.


An earlier-spec Renault Sport F1 that was on display in the Paddock Club ( I guess ) :


Bye Bye Circuit de Spa Francorchamps, see you next year!


Walking back to the transfer area for my ride back to Hasselt. Some final selfies with my pass which would no longer be valid..a great souvenir to keep though!


I reached Hasselt pretty late at night ( thanks to the Traffic heading out of the track ). My friends Jane and Kaz had already reached the Hotel before me and were waiting for me at the bar. We sat together late into the night, talking, laughing remembering the weekend gone by. Kaz, Leclerc fan was overjoyed with his win..Jane and I, Kimi fans had forlorn faces. We also raised a toast to the talent Anthoine Hubert. He will surely be missed.


Before I retired for the night, I pondered on the weekend gone by..the excitement and the highs of Friday and Saturday, the joy cut short by Hubert's demise on Saturday, the emotional Sunday that was. I felt so honoured and blessed to be a part ( albeit a small one ) of the Motorsport family that is spread all across this world. 

I thanked God for His Grace and all the blessings I have had in life..I was living my dream..like so many others..

Once again, a Big Thank you to Alfa Romeo Racing F1 Team for their Hospitality and Warmth over the weekend. True we didn't have a good weekend, but we keep our head down and keep pushing!

The Paddock Weekends will make a return soon..

Godspeed everyone!

Paddock Club Diaries - 2019 Canadian GP - Day 3

The Paddock Club Diaries for this weekend draws to a close with the experience on Sunday, the day that matters. Its Raceday! Win on Sunday and all else is forgiven. It was also the day when I got the opportunity of having a Paddock Pass for the whole day.


So how was the Overall Experience? Lets have a quick recap!


Enroute to the Circuit :


I got my Paddock Pass at the F1 Experiences Suite and wasted no time in getting downstairs.

Walking around the Paddock :


Some stills with the Samsung Note 9 :


Its pretty obvious that one would bump into some known faces in F1.


Alfa Romeo Racing F1 Team Manager Beat Zehnder!


Julien Simon-Chautemps, Kimi Raikkonen Race Engineer in Alfa Romeo Racing F1 Team :


Daniil Kvyat, Scuderia Toro Rosso F1 Team :


Mr. Giorgio Piola, Journalist, Technical Artist and Watchmaker!


Fredric Vasseur, Alfa Romeo Racing F1 Team Principal :


I made my way back up, just in time to see the Ferrari Challenge Cars line up on the grid for their Race Start :


My friends at Ferrari informed me that Charles LeClerc would be visiting their Suite for a quick Interview!


He was soon followed by the Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team Principal Mattia Binotto :


It was then time for the final Pit Lane Walk of the Weekend!


Sportpesa Racing F1 Point Pit Stop Practice ( Video Link ) :


Slow Motion Edition :



Shots of the Alfa Romeo Racing F1 Team Garage :


The Teeam was busy practicing their pit stops :


Alfa Romeo Team Pit Stop Practice ( Video Link ) :


Slow Motion Edition :



I decided to pay the Paddock Area another visit and there was an atmosphere of tension, as is the case before the start of every race on Sunday :


Tom Stallard, Race Engineer for Carlos Sainz Jr. in McLaren Racing F1 Team :


Josef Leberer from Alfa Romeo Racing F1 Team :


A Quick bite before grabbing a vantage point for the Race Start :


Team Personnel venture out of the pits to make their way to the Grid :


Drivers roll out of their Garages for Sighting Laps :


Drivers going out for Sighting Laps ( Video Link ) :



The grid, a hub of activity :


Kimi & Co. getting ready for battle!


The Cars rolled out of their grid slots for the Formation Lap and the Pit Crew were scrambling back to the Pits. The Grid has to be clear of personnel for the Race Start :


Formation Lap and Race Start ( Video Link ) :



Shots from the Race :


The Stricken McLaren of Lando Norris with the Broken Rear Suspension :


Some more shots from the Race :


Video Links for Pit Stops during the Race :

Scuderia Toro Rosso F1 Team :



Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team :



Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team :



Alfa Romeo Racing F1 Team :



Haas Racing F1 Team :



Alfa Romeo Racing F1 Team during the Race :