Melbourne Grand Prix

Thursday 17th – Sunday 20th March 2016

 

Steve has never yet been able to get to a Grand Prix – we have been in a couple of places at the right time but not been able to get tickets – but this time we were able to get 4-day tickets for the Schumacher stand at Albert Park.  We had an excellent view of the last two turns before the start/finish straight, and Steve thought it was Christmas and his birthday all rolled into one.  (Little does he know, at that price, it was...for the next five years at least!)

 

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From our seats looking towards the final bend before the straight.          The Schumacher stand is bottom right of this diagram of the circuit.  

 

There was a full programme of events on the track each day, which included Porsche Carrera and GT races, as well as F1 practice laps and the qualifier on Saturday, plus air displays, and plenty of exhibits and stalls around the grounds to keep us busy for hours.

 

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It was fairly quiet on Thursday, so lots of chance to wander the grounds and see the exhibits at leisure. That your red car, PK?

 

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We were entertained each day by a performance of formation flying by the RAAF Roulettes.

 

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A different type of air display by an RAAF F18 fighter jet that buzzed us very low and really hurt our ears!

 

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And just before the race on Sunday, a flyover from an RAAF C-17A Globemaster.

 

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One of the Porsche Carrera races.                                                                            One of the Ferrari cars on a practice lap.

 

The qualifying race turned out to be a bit of a damp squid, as a new system was tried out.  With the slowest car being ‘knocked out’ every 90 seconds during Q1 and Q2 races, Q3, the final qualifier, was less than exciting, with no cars at all on the track for the last 5 minutes of the race!  The new system has already been dropped.

 

The race itself was very exciting though, a real fight between Mercedes and Ferrari, with Red Bull putting in their two penn’orth as well.  There was a bad crash that fortunately both drivers walked away from unharmed, but which stopped the race for ten minutes while the track was cleared.  Apparently it was the first time in Melbourne’s F1 history that it has had a red flag.  Kimi Raikkenon retired his Ferrari to the pits with flames coming out of the airbox above his head.  A Toro Rosso car spun around just in front of our stand, and came to a standstill in the middle of the track.  Just as we thought the race would be stopped a second time, it set off again, just before another car appeared around the bend.  And perhaps the most exciting was when the Ferrari that had been closing on Hamilton overshot the bend and ended up on the grass while Hamilton disappeared around the corner to come in second after team-mate Rosberg.  All very exciting!

 

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The drivers’ photo, just before the race.                                                                                Hamilton waves as he passes in the drivers’ parade.

 

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Hamilton takes the turn with a Ferrari right behind him.                                                Next lap, and the Ferrari takes it wide, ending up on the grass.

 

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Toro Rosso car back on track after spinning off at the turn.                          Rosberg and Hamilton in 1st and 2nd places respectively.

 

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Nico Rosberg celebrates winning the first race of the F1 season.                 Sadly for the locals, no Aussie flag on the podium. Ricciardo finished 4th.

 

It was an interesting four days with a great atmosphere, which I enjoyed far more than I thought I would.  I usually find a book to read when Steve watches it on the telly, but being involved in it live was really good fun.  Steve, of course, loved every minute of it.