So here they all are! Many thanks to the five groups featured below that agreed to share their thoughts on F1, the British Grand Prix, and above all, the British drivers.
Bob, Andrew, Harry & Trevor
Grandfather Bob was at Silverstone for his fourth time in as many years: “I first came in 2004 and I was the most excited person here!
“You just don’t imagine how loud it is when you see them on TV. I always thought it was an armchair sport but now I wouldn’t miss this. It does cost a bit – but people just treat it like a holiday.”
Grandsons Andrew and Harry were sporting McLaren caps but Harry was tipping Nick Heidfeld for a podium finish.
Bob had a few words to say about the future of the race as well: “It would be a sad day for British racing if it was taken away – but it all boils down to money.”
Louise & Amanda
“It’s funny watching it at the track because you don’t realise how much information you’re told when you watch it on TV. You could get one of those Kangaroos, I suppose, but they’re expensive.”
“But the atmosphere is much better and the experience is just fantastic.”
Both were David Coulthard fans but while Louise also had eyes for his Red Bull team mate Mark Webber, Amanda was also behind Lewis Hamilton.
But the pair had struggled to get in through the traffic in the morning: “It still needs some work,” Louise thought.
Phil, Chris, Jeanette & Mags
Despite being dressed head to toe in Renault gear the four were out to see a Lewis Hamilton victory. “Renault have lost their way,” was the consensus. “Hopefully they’ll win a race before the end of the year, though.”
Phil was a veteran of several F1 races and had been at the last British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch in 1986.
Although they had little positive to say about Bernie Ecclestone (“he has a negative approach”) they didn’t think the government should have to foot the bill either: “It’s only got so much money to give and there are more important things. There should be a private investor.”
Louise, Mark and Rob
FiancÃ©es Louise and Mark will have a Formula 1 cake at their wedding in November – but with one supporting McLaren and the other Ferrari it will be half silver and half red. Louise’s brother Rob had also joined them at the track.
The couple had been to the Spanish Grand Prix earlier this year: “It cost three times as much”, said Louise. “The atmosphere was brilliant, but the language barrier made it very difficult and getting in was tough as well.”
The Silverstone traffic had been fairly kind to them, the pair leaving Manchester early in the morning but in the track by 11:30 on Saturday.
And they were very optimistic about the future of the British Grand Prix “They won’t get rid of it – in fact, it’ll go onto another level because of Lewis. There could even be the market for a second race.”
They were a little down on the prospects of the other British drivers, though, branding Coulthard an “almost” and describing Jenson Button as “disappointing”, though Rob noted: “The Honda’s been very disappointing as well.”
Jeff, Noel, Bill and Jemma
In the final group I found a fan who reckoned he’d been to at least 20 British Grands Prix – Bill (third from left in the picture) remembered seeing the 1976 Grand Prix at Brands Hatch where James Hunt beat Niki Lauda (only to be disqualified later).
Noel had been to the Indianapolis race in 2000 and Jeff’s first British Grand Prix was at Silverstone back in 1996.
The big attraction of seeing the race live wasn’t just the atmosphere and the sound, they reckoned, but little things – like the smell of the tyre rubber and oil.
The group watched qualifying from the ultra-rapid Becketts sequence having got into the track early thanks to a cunning shortcut – which they refused to share with me!
- Silverstone Cap Count
- Pictures from the British Grand Prix
- More pictures from the British Grand Prix
- British GP 2007 review: Raikkonen takes control