Travel 2006 – British Grand Prix, Silverstone, Saturday

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Saturday, 10th Jun, 2006 – British Grand Prix, Silverstone

Again the day started early, with Glyn (aka Megamarshal) leaving for the circuit at 7am, followed by Wendy and Jane arriving at the house to pick up the two spare hospitality passes we had. We were supposed to be having them on Sunday, but a shift in the suite-holder’s plans meant we got Saturday instead. That meant I now had three passes for the circuit (I tell you, you can’t give these things away!). Anyway, after they’d set off the plan was that we would meet Skil at the junction of the A43/circuit entrance road (the Dadford Road) and take her to Towcester to show off our new house. Then we would go to the circuit for qualifying and the GP2 race. Instead, she had a meeting she needed to go to, so we plastered the marshals camp site parking pass Megamarshal had given us to the windscreen and drove in, parking in the car park just opposite the footbridge. We made our way in through the Copse tunnel, swung into the GP2 paddock and chatted with a few people en route to the hospitality, and stopped off for coffee and a pain au chocolat. The ones being served were amazing, scattered with chocolate on top and a thick, gooey filling inside. Very satisfying! After that we wandered over to the suite, where there were bacon sandwiches and more coffee. Jane and Wendy had settled in and were now known as Aussie 1 and Aussie 2, so we joined them on the terrace to watch the F1s go round. I took a few photos, but the wire fence and the Armco got in the way a bit. I’m pleased with this one though…

After that, Skil called to ask if we were having lunch with her. We dashed back to the GP2 paddock, where Ernesto managed to get Lynne, but otherwise it was fairly quiet, and Wolfgang again updated me on stuff I didn’t need to know, and said he would come over and use the phone lines this evening… Again he asked how to get there, and again I told him… We ate well once again, but kept it moderate, a little pasta and pesto and a couple of slices of cold meats and hams, with lots of water. Then we went back to the suite, where we had lunch! Brioche with wild mushrooms and asparagus, scattered with Parmesan. I left the brioche, but ate the topping, and took some salad too, followed by a mango and passion fruit pudding. We then settled in to watch the F1 qualifying, with plenty of white wine (adding ice to the Pinot Grigio to cool it further may have been heretical, but it made it refreshing as well), and we sat and baked in the sun, on the terrace overlooking the pit lane entrance and decided that life doesn’t get much better than this… A brief trip outside after the session saw us run into first Robert Kubica, secondly Heikki Kovalainen, and thirdly Stephen Jelley’s dad, Robert. We gossiped for a while and watched Massa trying to slot himself into the start tarts’ parade, and being rejected on the grounds that he’s too short and was wearing the wrong colour! It amused us anyway… We legged it back to the suite to watch the GP2 race, and the inevitable happened. Lewis Hamilton won, which seems to be default mode again, just like it was in the Euroseries F3, and for that matter Formula Renault. The boy is damn good, and he’s about to stop being a reasonably well-kept secret. As his Dad said, sounding slightly stunned when we were talking about what was going to happen next and the amount of interest there is in his son, “We’ve come a long way from Formula Renault…” He certainly has, and if he doesn’t win at least one World Championship I’ll be very surprised. Though I was a bit worried when he seemed to need a map to find his way round Silverstone…

Anyway, the race over we had afternoon tea (buck’s fizz and Victoria sponge cake) and sidled back to the paddock, where Wolfgang was still flapping, and the press conference wasn’t happening. It finally did, and the results were issued, so we took that as our cue to head back home and shower, taking Skil with us. Unfortunately, on the way between Copse and the exit, she tripped and damaged her ankle, which necessitated a trip to the St. John’s Ambulance station, which was fortunately only a couple of hundred feet away, and no longer full of people with sun-stroke, though it was still full of Ferdinando Monfardini, who’d had one hell of an accident in the GP2 race and was now more than a little concussed. As for Skil, it was quickly established that nothing was actually broken, thank God, but there was going to be some spectacular bruising, so we limped her to the car park and brought he back home. Glyn arrived back, and the towel pile diminished as various people showered and got into clean clothes, and we waited for Elaine, Bill and Sue to arrive. They turned up and Bill (who’s an Accident and Emergency surgeon, as well as Chief Medical Officer for Croft Circuit) did some expert strapping and gave Skil a supply of Neurofen to keep her going. We then all headed out to La Strada in Towcester, where we had a good meal (I ate prawns in chilli sauce, and duck in a mustard sauce) though not as good as the Vine House (where I also ate duck), and then sat outside afterwards drinking coffee and talking over each other. It was a great evening, the second one in row, and as a result it got rather late, especially for those of us who wanted to see the GP2 race starting at 9.30 the following morning.

Oh, and here’s my parting shot… Nelson Piquet may not have been feeling well, but he still looked pretty damn good from the rear…

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