Like Duck to Water, thats how I have taken to life :). This blog is the saga of love and adventures of a small duck in a large water body called LIFE....

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Zoom Zoom Zoom!

Last weekend one of my dreams of experiencing a Formula One Race live came true. I've been wanting to go to the Indianapolis Grand Prix ever since I came to US. The first year, I didn't even realize when the race came and went. Last year I was all excited about going when I realized that the race had gotten over the previous week :-p. This year finally, after aptly being warned by Darsh about what weekend it was on, I pestered Sri (as usual :-D), into taking me.

Sri was a bit apprehensive about the whole thing as he had attended a cricket match previously and was less than impressed by the so-called "Live" experience. But somehow I managed to convince him to take me. This despite the fact that my favourite, Michael Schumacher is obviously retired. I cursed myself 100 times for not making the last year's race. Yet, since he is the current Ferrari technical advisor or something, I thought I could catch a glimpse of him at the Ferrari pitstop.

So we bought the tickets online (which meant we got only a printout and had to collect the actual tickets at the circuit) and set off early on Sunday June 17th 2007 to Indianapolis, which is about 2.5 hours drive away from Lexington.

Sri had decided that it'd be convenient for us to drive to downtown and catch a bus to the speedway from there (though the cost of a round trip on the bus for race day was $15 per person, while on a regular day its $1.5 :-p. Multiply by 10 anyone? :-p). And so we reached the Indianapolis downtown at around 11 AM. Since food and beverage were allowed inside the stadium, we had bought Veggie burgers on the way and carried a cooler full of water bottles with us. The bus stop was pretty easy to find and so we set off. We were dropped off at the stadium at around 11:45 AM.

There were loads of people in all directions, especially many of them Indians :). We are the only ones crazy about F1, I guess :-D. The race was to start at 1 PM, so we thought we had enough time. Sadly, we had underestimated the power of queues. We had to collect the tickets at a reserved ticket counter and the queue was really long. We had to stand for almost an hour (Sri stood in the queue, while I stood waiting for him with the cooler and stuff :-p) before we got the tickets. The preparation for the race begins at 12:30, but yet by the time we reached the stands it was almost 1 PM. Thankfully the race hadn't yet started.

I had selected stand C thinking that the starting point would lie somewhere there (it did look like that in the map :-p), but it kind of was pretty far from the starting point. So well my dream of seeing the faces of some of the racers went for a toss :-p. But anyways, we could see the starting point and that was something :).

Our stand was pretty empty so we could sit anywhere we wanted. So just when we found a good place to sit, the formation lap started. The formation lap is the preliminary lap where the cars simply move on the track before the actual start to the race. After a minute, the race start lights came on one by one, the excitement mounted and the cars were off!!

Click on the snap for a very large view. You can see the Mclarens of Hamilton and Alonso and the Ferrari of Massa :). Well, I was standing on one of the benches to take the snap when the sound of the cars actually shook me. Man!! I hadn't worn my ear plugs yet and the sound is literally like that of a jet plane moving very close to you! The cars are so fast that one moment they are there, the next moment they are not! It was absolute bliss :-D.

From where we were sitting we were able to see the first corner and the some more curves, the end point and the cars coming out of the pitlane :).

Again, if you click on the snap, you'll be able to see Alonso in McLaren, followed by Massa in Ferrari. On the road behind, you should be able to see Kovalainen in Renault followed by Raikonen in Ferrari.

It was a thrill to see the cars go by, especially if there was a skirmish between 2 cars. Since some of the maneuvers actually happened in the first corner we were able to see the tiff between Fiscicella and Speed and later Raikonen overtaking Heidfeld in a brilliant move :). Coulthard, Barrichello and Ralf Schumacher went out of the race before I could even recognize their cars :-p. But sometime later, the race got kind of monotonous what with Lewis Hamilton first in McLaren, Fernando Alonso 2nd in Mclaren, Filippe Massa 3rd in Ferrari and Kimi Raikonen 4th in Ferrari again. I am a fan of Ferrari and was continuously cheering for them despite the fact that the time gap between the McLarens and the Ferraris was too much (almost 15 sec!!). We ate our burgers watching the cars zoom by..

I kept looking at the Ferrari pit hoping for a glimpse of the legendary Michael Schumacher, but got nothing :-p.

It was only later (after reaching home :-p), that I found out that Schumi didn't even make it to US :(.

As the race started reaching its end, I wanted to walk to a point near to the podium, but Sri kept saying he didn't want to. After a minor skirmish between ourselves ;-), I got my way :-D. So we walked and we got to see the end of the race. Just before the end, we could see Rosberg's Williams engine in flames. Thankfully they quickly put that off and there was no harm except to Rosberg who was off the race. Lastly, we cheered on as Hamilton, Alonso and Massa finished the race in 1st, 2nd and 3rd positions respectively. We also got to see the trophy presenting ceremony from pretty close :-D.

So after the ceremony was over, we walked to the bus stop, caught the bus and landed in downtown again. Meanwhile, as we were still hungry, we bought a couple of veggie burritos and devoured them :-D. After 3 hours and more than $210, we were heading home in full speed :-D.

All in all, it was such a great wonderful experience that I would love so much to go again. And next time, I know which stand I want to buy tickets in :-D.


ಅರುಣ ಪ್ರಕಾಶ retorted...

ಹೋದ್ ಸರ್ತಿ ಹೋಗ್ದಲೆ ಇದ್ದದ್ದು ಒಳ್ಳೇದಾಯ್ತು. ಅರ್ಧಕ್ಕೆ ಅರ್ಧ ಕಾರುಗಳು ರೆಟೈರ್ ಆಗಿದ್ದ್ವು. ಈ ಸರತಿ ವಾಸಿ.

ಓ ಬೈದಿವೇ, ಅದು ಫಾರ್ಮೇಷನ್ ಲ್ಯಾಪ್ ಅಲ್ಲ್ವ? ಅದು "ಯೆಲ್ಲೋ" ಲ್ಯಾಪ್ ಯಾವಾಗಿಂದ ಆಯಿತು?

SID retorted...

wow, that's an awesome time you must have had. I'm sure it's an experience worth living once. But going by your pics, I cherish the lap by lap coverage that the wonderful cameras on TV give us.

But listening to those engine sounds in itself would be worth every penny.

P.S- F1 supposedly has introduced some kind of handheld device which gives you access to all the cameras on the track, did you guys have anything like that?

Deeps retorted...

Arun, I was hoping a post about F1 would get a comment from you :-D. Yeah I remember there were only some 8-10 cars and the race had gotten really boring. "Yellow lap" nan mistake. Change maad de. I was hoping for it so much that I got confused :-D.

Sid, we weren't given handhelds, but we did have screens showing the coverage all over the place. So when we weren't seeing the actual race before us, we could watch exactly what you get on TV with the commentary. Yeah, I do like relaxing at home and watching the race at leisure, but this was an experience worth repeating :).