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Paddock Club Diaries - United States GP 2014 - Day 3

Welcome to Raceday!!

A Battle Royale awaited us on Sunday and it was a battle that didn't disappoint!

Enroute to the Circuit :

The Vintage Cars to be used during the Drivers' Track Parade on display :

With Kimi Raikkonen's Chariot :

A Beautiful morning at the Circuit of the Americas :

3 teams were protesting against the Funds Distribution on F1 and Sunday Morning in the paddock was tense.

Gerard Lopez ( Lotus F1 Team Principal ) in conversation with Monisha Kaltenborn ( Sauber F1 Team Principal ) :

Breakfast Time :

Shots from the Paddock. A certain Emerson Fittipaldi featuring here :

The Ferrari V8 Cars on the Starting Grid :

We were soon joined by Giancarlo Fisichella ( Ferrari Test Driver ) :

Video Link :

His Departure meant the arrival of the Spaniard, the 2 Time F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso :

Video Link of Alonso's Interview :

Sky Sports F1 readying themselves for the Pre-Race Show :

Soon it was time to go downstairs for the Final Pit Lane Walk of the Weekend.

The Pit lane looking ready for the race :

Teams busy practicing their Pit Stops :

Sahara Force India F1 Team gathering together for a Photo Shoot :

The Podium which will be ready for the race winner :

I had the privilege of getting close to the drivers as they were leaving for the Drivers' Track Parade!!

Video Link for "Drivers enroute to the Track Parade" :

Drivers getting into their Vintage Cars :

Video Link :

An Airplane promoting a F1 Car Event :

The FIA Weigh Bridge which will see a lot of activity post race :

The Drivers returning from the Track Parade :

Video Link :

The Safety Car, Mercedes SLS - AMG :

The pre-race show on track :

I rushed back upstairs to finish a quick lunch :

It was time to go outside and watch the preparations for the Grand Prix.

Cars rolling out of the Garages :

Scuderia Ferrari F1 rolls out :

F1 Team Bosses, Celebrities ensure that the Paddock is abuzz with activity :

Shots from the Starting Grid :

The Clock ran down and it was time for the start of the Formation Lap :

Video Link of the Formation Lap :

The Mechanics running back to the garages after the cars roll out for the Formation Lap :

Video Link to the Race Start :

A crash on the First Lap meant that the Stewards would send out the Safety Car :

Video Link :

Shots from the Race :

Video Link for Nico Rosberg's Pit Stop :

Video Link for Lewis Hamilton's Pit Stop :

Video Link for Daniel Ricciardo's Pit Stop :

Pastor Maldonado was penalised with a 5 sec Stop Go Penalty which he served during his pit stop.

Video Link :

Scuderia Ferrari F1 during the Race :

Video Link for Fernando Alonso's Pit Stop :

Video Link for Kimi Raikkonen's Pit Stop :

Video Link for Kimi Raikkonen's 2nd Pit Stop :

Lewis Hamilton took the lead from Nico Rosberg and once the move was done, he was unchallenged.

The pitlane was abuzz with activity as the Chequered Flag was being waved.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg completed another 1-2 for Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team. Daniel Ricciardo was P3 for Red Bull Racing.

Fernando Alonso was P6 for Ferrari while Kimi Raikkonen struggled and finished a disappointing P13.

Another weekend to forget as a Raikkonen Fan. :(

Sky Sports F1 interviewing the Mercedes AMG Petronas Pit Wall :

Cars coming on to Parc fermé :

Scuderia Ferrari F1 on Parc fermé :

There were a huge number of Lewis Hamilton Fans at the circuit and all of them congregated in front of the Mercedes Garage to celebrate his victory. They were even featured on Sky Sports F1 :

In the Sea of Lewis Hamilton Fans, there were a handful of Kimi Raikkonen admirers. A pleasure to see them!

Soon Enough it was time for the Mechanics gather all the equipment, put them in containers and ship them to Brazil, a race happening the next weekend.

The Fans walking on track towards the garages at the Circuit of the Americas :

The Ferrari Formula 1 Club that had hosted us over the weekend :

Some more shots from the Suite :

Replica of the 2007 engine that won Kimi Raikkonen the Drivers' World Championship and Ferrari the Constructors' Championship :

A moment with Ma'am Shotije Bega, Simona De Filippis and Emilia Capasso from Ferrari :

I left the suite and went upstairs to the Paddock Lounge to get some final shots of the Circuit.

The Circuit in the setting sun :

There were some really interesting cycle rickshaws near the Main Grandstand at the Circuit :

The Final shots from the Circuit of the Americas :

Thank you for a great weekend Formula 1!!

This was my final race for 2014 and I am yet to draw plans for 2015.

I must reiterate that although my experiences with Ferrari were par excellence, watching Kimi Raikkonen struggle was a big downer.

Nevertheless a Big Thank you to Ferrari for all the Hospitality and Entertainment over the weekend.

A Big Thank you to
Ma'am Emilia Capasso, Simona De Filippis and Shotije Bega from Ferrari for being Fantastic Hosts!

The Circuit of the Americas was the best circuit in terms of the Facilities offered, the ease of access and really friendly and welcoming nature of each and everyone working at the circuit.

The Staff ensured smooth running through the whole weekend and full credit to the organisers for putting together such a fantastic weekend.

The Paddock Club Diaries series will be back in 2015. 

Season Review coming up soon.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone. Thank you for continuous support offered to this Blog.

Be safe and God Bless you all

Paddock Club Diaries - United States GP 2014 - Day 2

Saturdays mean early morning starts and Day 2 of the 2014 United States GP started with a bang.

Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 were sharing the same hotel at the Domain and after a long wait I was able to get close to Lewis Hamilton who was preparing to leave for the Circuit.

Enroute to the Circuit :

I reached the Circuit and soon enough I was escorted downstairs for the Garage Tour with Scuderia Ferrari F1!

Shots from the Garage Tour :

I also got a few minutes with Mark Arnall, Kimi Raikkonen's Physical Instructor. Its always a pleasure speaking to him.

We made it back to the Paddock and it was time for the Saturday Free practice ( FP3 ). Teams would run Qualifying Simulations and prepare the cars for the Qualifying in the afternoon.

Shots from FP3 :

Scuderia Ferarri F1 during FP3 :

Kimi Raikkonen Pit Stop Practice in FP3 Video Link :

Lewis Hamilton was the fastest again in FP3 and the gap had increased to Eight Tenths of a second over team-mate Nico Rosberg.

Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen finished P5 and P9 respectively for Ferrari.

We were once again joined by Mattia Binotto ( COO - Power Unit ) who discussed about the technical changes in the power units this year and the challenges faced by Ferrari so far.

His Departure meant the arrival of THE ICEMAN KIMI RAIKKONEN! I was waiting for the moment to meet the Flying Finn and it happened again!!

Shots from Kimi Raikkonen's Interview :

Video Link to Kimi Raikkonen's Interview :

The End of the Interview came soon and Tom Clarkson, the Host announced my name to invite me onstage to get a quick photo with Kimi Raikkonen. Kimi was in a great mood and smiling ear to ear.

I gifted him the poem I had made for him and he was appreciative of my effort. It was a surreal moment!

The Poem :

Scuderia Ferrari were gracious to send me photos with him and here they are : MOMENTS WITH THE ICEMAN, THE FLYING FINN - KIMI RAIKKONEN!!

A Special Special Special Thank you to Mr. Larry DiBiase from Lambda Performance GmbH for ensuring that I get the opportunity that I waited for so long! I am so thankful for all the efforts he took. Thank you Sir!!

It was time for the Pit Lane Walk before Qualifying and the rush was enormous :

The Sun was out in full force and here are some shots from the Pit lane :

A moment with Claudio Bersini of Scuderia Ferrari F1 :

Shots from the Scuderia Ferrari F1 Garage :

The Boys from Sky Sports F1 busy in the build up to Qualifying :

I returned upstairs and had a quick lunch.

Tummy Full, Camera Charged it was time to head outside and enjoy Qualifying.

The Absence of Caterham F1 and Marussia F1 meant that only 18 cars would take to track. Q1 would see the ouster of 4 cars, Q2 likewise. Q3 would be the usual 10 minute shootout between the remaining 10 drivers.

The Team Pit Walls are all occupied before the action starts.

Shots from Q1 :

Scuderia Ferrari F1 during Q1 :

Kimi Raikkonen Returing to the Pits in Q1. Video Link :

Lewis Hamilton was quickest in Q1. Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen were P5 and P9 respectively for Ferrari.

Sebastien Vettel had switched to a 6th Power Unit and Red Bull decided not to put extra mileage on the unit. They let him do one flying lap but the German couldn't make the cut into Q2.

Vergne, Gutierrez, Vettel and Grosjean were eliminated.

A dejected Vergne returning to his garage :

Q2 started on schedule.

Shots from Q2 :

Scuderia Ferrari F1 in Q2 :

Nico Rosberg turned the tables and was fastest for the first time. Fernando Alonso was P6 and Kimi Raikkonen was P9 for Ferrari.

Maldonado, Perez, Hulkenberg and Kvyat were eliminated in Q2.

Q3 would be the final shootout. Shots from Q3 :

Scuderia Ferrari F1 in Q3 :

Nico Rosberg powered himself to another pole, being the fastest when it mattered against Lewis Hamilton. Lewis was P2 with Bottas P3. Alonso and Raikkonen could only manage P6 and P9 respectively for Ferrari. Raikkonen however moved up to P8 as Button qualified P7 but dropped 5 grid spots for a gearbox change. Kvyat qualified P14 but dropped 10 places for an engine change.

Vettel who qualified P17 started from the pit lane for the complete power unit change.

Parc fermé ready after Q3 :

Sky Sports F1 interviewing the Mercedes Pit Wall at the end of Q3 :

The Paddock abuzz after Qualifying :

Graeme Lowdon ( Marussia F1 President and Sporting Director ) in the Paddock and deep in conversation with a FIA Representative :

The Team Principals holding a meeting following the crisis in F1 in regards to Fund Distribution

A Happy Mr. and Mrs. Rosberg posing with Friends. Lewis Hamilton in conversation with friends from the UK :

Fernando and Kimi look the part..don't they?

Some amazing clicks of the First turn in the setting sun :

A Moment with the Race Winner's Trophy :

Returning to the Domain :

It was a memorable Saturday, a dream come true. The Moment with Kimi Raikkonen was surreal. Expectations were high for Sunday.

A Special Thank you to Mr. Larry DiBiase from Lambda Performance GmbH for all his efforts to ensure that I got my moment with Kimi Raikkonen!

Thank you to the Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team for all the Hospitality.

A Big Thank You to Ma'am Emilia Capasso, Simona De Filippis and Shotije Bega from Ferrari for helping me get a picture with Kimi Raikkonen and entertaining me throughout the day.

Sunday Experience coming soon so watch this space!

Paddock Club Diaries - United States GP 2014 - Day 1

2014 has been a busy year and unlike last year I was able to attend only 2 races.

The German Grand Prix was a fantastic experience and I was really looking forward to go across the Atlantic and attend the 2nd race this year held at Austin Texas.

As always, this is the Day 1 Experience at the 2014 United States Grand Prix.

It was an early morning start and Austin is pretty cold. The Circuit of the Americas is right next to the airport and is an hour's drive away from "The Domain". Austin is a city scattered all over and getting around is quite a journey.

The Passes arrived a day earlier and everything was in place for the Weekend :

Enroute to the Circuit :

Welcome to the Ferrari F1 Club at the Circuit of the Americas

I hardly got time to settle in and the Friday Free Practice ( FP1 ) was already underway.

Shots from FP1 :

Scuderia Ferrari F1 during FP1 :

Lewis Hamilton dominated FP1 and was 3 tenths faster than his team-mate Nico Rosberg.

Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen were 6th and 12th respectively for Ferrari.

The Lull after Free Practice :

For the first time in my Paddock Club Experiences, I came across Breakfast Service being offered :

We were soon joined by Mattia Binotto ( COO - Power Unit ) who discussed about the technical changes in the power units this year and the challenges faced by Ferrari to match up to the Mercedes.

Video Link :

The Paddock abuzz with activity after FP1 :

The Menu for Lunch :

Time for a Power Lunch before the Pit Lane Walk :

The Sun was out in full force and it was a windy day too. It was an amazing day for racing in Austin and I must admit that this was one of the best pit lanes I have been in. Caterham F1 and Marussia F1 could not make it to the race and their garages were taken up by Pirelli who showcased all their tyres.

Shots from the Pit Lane Walk :

The Scuderia Ferrari F1 Pit Garage :

Some moments in the Garage :

A moment with the Ferrari Team Boys :

The Ferrari F14 T Firing Up before the start of FP2 :

Video Link :

Free Practice 2 was soon underway and the Teams would run through the qualifying simulation and more importantly the Race Simulations :

Shots from FP2 :