From the stands
Our last ‘From the Stands’ contributor had racked up 25 F1 race visits outside Britain.
But for Adam Smith, the 2011 British Grand Prix was his first taste of live F1 action.
Here’s what he thought of an action-packed and controversial race.
Despite having been an F1 fan from the age of seven I’d never had the opportunity to go to watch my favourite cars in action.
That changed last week when I made my first visit to an F1 race at Silverstone.
We had General Admission tickets for the Sunday and I went along to the race with my girlfriend and my sister. The journey started at 3am on the Sunday morning from a very quiet Camden Town in London.
Having General Admission we could chose fairly freely where we wanted to sit and we decided on the short stretch between Stowe corner and Vale. We were in our seat by 7am, ready for the first support races to begin.
The GP3 and GP2 racers provided much excitement and entertainment, but unfortunately the Porsche Super Cup race offered little to hold the attention.
What really impressed me was the amount of support races and things to do before the race started. Despite arriving so early the morning did not drag at all, there was so much on offer.
The day was going extremely quickly and we were ready for some F1 action. The downfall that would provided a great start to the race was bad news for the Red Arrows, whose display was somewhat spoiled by the cloudburst.
I finally got my first glimpse of an F1 turning a wheel in anger and it was definitely worth the wait.
By the time the cars reached us I was disappointed to see Mark Webber had already lost his lead to Sebastian Vettel, who was leading by a few car lengths.
The first few laps were uneventful where we were sat but the action got better and better as the laps progressed. The atmosphere was amazing, and every time a British driver went past the crowd went crazy.
The first pass we saw was Jenson Button’s brave move on Massa around the outside of Stowe, keeping his foot in down towards Vale. It turns out we might have had one of the best spots on the race track as we saw many passes.
The driver who impressed us the most was probably Michael Schumacher as he made many passes directly in front of us and it was amazing to see such a superstar in action. It was a shame that he made the mistake of crashing into Kamui Kobayashi, but we didn’t see it happen on the video screens.
This was something that disappointed me when watching the race back on TV when I got home; there were many things that were not communicated well at the track. We saw Schumacher in the pits for a very long time and did not know what had happened; we just thought there might have been a problem during the stop.
The main thing that we missed out on was the fact that Webber had been told to hold position. We could see the gap reducing lap by lap and it was absolutely enthralling. The majority of the crowd wanted to see Webber overtake Vettel and it was great seeing the differing levels of grip.
I only found out after the race via Twitter that Webber had been told to keep his position. I was absolutely gutted that this was the case and especially the comments that Christian Horner made, saying that it would end with both drivers in the fence.
One of the things I relied on quite heavily for information about the race was Twitter, it proved really useful especially with the teams updating us to how many laps there have been and things such as strategies and collisions. I follow most of the teams and quite a few of the F1 Fanatic readers and, of course, F1 Fanatic. Everyone made the race far easier to follow and I thank you all for that.
My first experience of F1 was over far too soon and the last lap was here already. However we were treated to the last-ditch battle between Lewis Hamilton and Massa. They collided just to the left of where we saw and we didn’t know who beat who until about a minute after the race; the wait was unbearable.
I’m glad we weren’t robbed of this battle and it was great to see a little contact between drivers not punished with a post-race penalty.
To round it all off Hamilton then gave us another little gem, a doughnut directly in front of us and the crowd went absolutely crazy. Hamilton has got some amazing support in the UK and he definitely gave the fans something back.
After the race was finished we were given access to the track and we got onto the pit straight. It was absolutely packed and people were tacking photos left right and centre. It was a perfect end to a great weekend. Anyone who has ever had any doubt about going to a race should really think twice. It was such an amazing experience and I’ll definitely be booking my tickets for next year.
This is a guest article by Adam Smith (aka Smifaye). If you want to write a guest article for F1 Fanatic you can find all the information you need here.
From the stands
- F1 still struggling to gain a foothold in India
- Why the Hungarian Grand Prix is a must-see race
- Why the Spanish GP was better in person than on TV
- Watching Brazil’s spellbinding F1 season finale
- Silverstone fans’ mixed views on the rain-hit weekend
- Nigel’s memories from the last 37 British Grands Prix
- F1 Fanatics meet up in Melbourne
- Watching at the Paddock Club, Parabolica and podium at Monza
- In the Paddock Club and in the stands at Spa
- Steven’s 51 F1 race visits in 25 years
Images © Adam Smith