At the races


While we went to the Formula 1 qualifying on Saturday, Sunday was of course the big racing day, the real thing. Now, Saturday did not play out so well for me, so Lamia carefully tested the waters:

Lamia: Do we still go tonight…?

Now, I might have lost my camera and my beloved zoom lens and quite frankly, I am very upset about this, but hey: of course we go!
The race started at 8 pm, so Tess had agreed to come home early on her day off so she would take Oskar to bed for us (quite frankly, we have the greatest nanny ever!).

This time we changed two things:

  1. instead of having two burgers for 46 Singdollars inside we had two burgers at McDonald’s for 16 Singdollars just before entering
  2. we watched the race at Nicholl Highway, standing next to Stamford grandstand

The choice of location was pretty good. While we still had that same combination of barriers and fence, we had good sight of the road and we could easily see the cars. With my height, I could even nicely see into the road, watching the cars coming around the bend from Raffles Boulevard.

Now, I admit that there is something to the atmosphere of such a race and the people, the sound of the engines and the amazing speed. But fundamentally, a F1 race is really boring. Especially when you cannot take photos. I mean, you stand there at this short stretch of the road, see those fiery horses zooming by and then you wait until they come again. And, of course, you watch the action that happens somewhere else (and even the action that happens in front of your nose) on big screen TVs which are conveniently located close to where you stand – not so different from watching TV at home, though at home it’s arguably cheaper and more comfortable.

But I also cannot appreciate the basic strategic implications of such a race. At one point some engine or tire exploded. Or maybe somebody ran into a cow onto the road, I don’t know. What I do know is that they got the safety car out (by the way, a really cool safety car: a Mercedes SLS AMG) and suddenly there was all excitement among the people around us who – like us – had all secretly hoped somebody would crash real badly in front of them:

Crowd: Uuuuh – the safety car. Now it’s getting interesting!

I had no fricking clue why this was interesting.
But I also had no clue that the laps a safety car is on the ring are counting towards the total laps of the race (61 in this case). And I realized much later that a safety car can screw up some drivers badly. Say, if you lead with 20 seconds to the driver behind you and a safety car comes onto the track, you cannot go faster than that safety car. You cannot overtake, either, which means all positions remain the same, but your nice advance that you might have worked on for 10 or 20 laps will likely melt away like butter on a V12 engine. Pretty obvious, but at the time I did not think of that.

So yes, we had that safety car passing by a few times with a bunch of angry roaring F1 cars at its tail. Once it was gone everybody was again hoping for some explosion / accident / aliens landing. Imagine the excitement when a car came out of the bend a little off track, producing a big dust cloud: did somebody crash?! No? Alright then…

Twice we saw someone in a fast car overtaking somebody else in another fast car and people were clapping and cheering. Well…
And then towards the end of the race there were those folks who waved at the leading cars as they passed by:

Eventually the race was over.
Lewis Hamilton won. Good for him.

But with all the friendly banter here, I actually have to admit we had a good time…

I am not sure I would want to go again next year, but I am happy we had this experience.

After the race we once again walked over to Padang stage, where Jennifer Lopez performed tonight. As a matter of course there was no rain tonight…

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