Monday, March 18, 2002

sun, speed and babes

A half an hour drive, a detour to purchase a $50 parking sticker and a bus ride later, I was finally at gate K2. The entrace to what hopefully would turn out to be an exciting, thrilling race.

It was only half past 10 when Stef and I got in but the place was already packed. We immediately made our way down the slope searching for a comfortable spot with a good view of the track. Good view was easy enough to find as the whole area overlooks the 2nd and 3rd corner leading to the 2nd straight stretch.

Comfort, however, was hard to come by. The slope was bumpy but we made do as best as we could.

Batik cloth spread, hats on head and sunglasses firmly on, we proceeded with the next best thing to do while waiting for the race that was scheduled to begin at 3.15pm; get a tan. So off goes my spaghetti top (I had on sports top ... of course!) and on goes the globs of sunscreen. 'Bad Girls Guide to the Open Road' in hand, I proceeded getting comfy and looking cool reading my pink vinyl covered book. Smilling intermittedly at the witty words of Miss Cameron Tuttle. Probably looking like and idiot doing that but hey! Who's watching? Concentration should be on the track right?

Several minutes later, a bunch of loud, non-stop talking quartet of thirtysomethings parked their asses next to our spot. Blocking my view of a totally cool looking guy sitting a few feet away. But that's fine. They were really funny and friendly. Had some laughs. Good fun.

Later, as I was coming up the slope back to my seat, I went closer to the fence, closer to the track to get some pictures of the driver's procession (I'm expecting the pictures to turn out badly. They were too far away and I don't have a zoom camera.), I heard someone say my name and lo! and behold! I saw my ex-schoolmates. They were putting up a shade/tent thing. (Now why didn't I think of that? I forgot even to bring an umbrella!) Said 'hi' and everything and continued back up the slope to my spot.

The atmosphere was really great. People everywhere lazing on the grass. Talking, laughing, drinking eating, sunbathing, whatever. All out having fun. Most of them decked out with their favourite teams colours, painted or worn. Large flags (mostly the reds of the Ferraris and grey Mercedes) flying and flapping. Perfect race day weather.

After a tediously long and boring traditional performance (mostly due to the fact that nobody on my hill can see it) and the lackluster air show performance by the RMAF, the race begins.

The race itself was quite boring actually. Nothing happened at this end of corner. No crashes. No swerving off the track. No smoke coming out of the back tail. Just some passing and over taking at the turns. I was cherring for our local boy Alex Yoong in the Minardi. Not for him to win, I have to be realistic, but just to at least finish the race in front of his Aussie teammate Mark Webber. There's a whole bunch of people cheering for Michael Schumacher and he has been having a nice long winning streak so I don't think he need anymore support! He did have to pit after the first lap though, he lost his front wing when he collided with Montoya's Williams in the first corner.

I guess I will say that the best part of the race was towards the end when Michael Schumacher overtook Jenson Button's Renault. The poor boy must have felt the thrill of his life thinking that he'll have his first podium finish before it was dashed at the last minute by the incredible Schumacher.

You have to give credit where credit is due. Schumacher really is amazing. To come back up all the way to a podium finish from 12th placing halfway into the race with 3 pit-stops must surely be an incredible feat. It's no wonder he's been winning so much!

Wow! A very enjoyable day. I've never been a big fan of F1 racing but I can see now how it appeals to the masses. It is rather thrilling.

Stef and I am thinking of going again next year. The next time, must remember to bring large umbrella, several litters of water, camera with zoom, binoculars with larger zoom to see the large screen display, food, ...

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