Sunday, we went to the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne to catch the first race of the F1 season. This was a first for both of us, and it was quite an experience.
We took the train into the city and walked to the course instead of fighting the crowds for a seat on the trams. Once there, we began the first of many periods of waiting in line, as we queued up to pick up our tickets at the booth (we’d ordered them online earlier in the week). After an inexplicably long delay, we were all set with our tickets for the race, and vouchers to exchange for the bracelets to get us into The Who concert after the race. Sweet as!
We were meant to meet M’s former co-workers from the Perth office, but through the course of the day, managed to somehow miss them. We decided to get our Who bracelets taken care of, and began to make our way to the concert area where we could exchange our vouchers. Why they couldn’t just give us the bracelets at the ticket booth is beyond us. Australia, hey.
The way the course was set up, there were bridges crossing over so you could get from the inside of the track to the outside, and because of corporate (and other specially priced sections) areas, there were places where you HAD to cross over in order to continue making your way around. We managed to fumble our way to the essential bridge, only to find another very long line, just to cross the bridge. Eons later, we were on the inside track, and began negotiating our way to the next bridge to cross back over.
Frustrated as we were with our unintended hike (we needed to cross-train that day anyhow), we did happen to pass through the historical car display area, and M was pretty stoked to get to see the production cars up close and personal.
(We have a few more photos, but I have to clear up some memory to upload them, so check back later in case I update.)
M got to sit in one of these racecars:
M reports that there is not much leg room in those tiny little seats. Some of the other cars we saw had even less! I didn’t realize this was a sport for small people…
Ice ages pass, and we finally got our bracelets, and began making our way around the rest of the course. More bridges crossed, and by the time we arrived at turn 9, we were starving. A few lines later, we had lamb kebabs and beer, and all was well. By this time, the folks we were meant to meet had wandered off elsewhere, so we found a spot to watch the main race and settled in. C chatted up one of the track marshalls and learned that they were all volunteers, and some of them get to travel a bit for other races. Lucky for us, he gave us some earplugs before the race kicked off — wow those cars are LOUD!
Sadly, you’ll have to wait until those other pictures are uploaded to see photos from the actual F1 race, as by this time, C was fully ensconced in her knitting, and failed to take photos of the cars going by… 58 laps finished with Jensen Button the winner in a practically white car (they’d lost their sponsor before the race, being picked up by another sponsor in time to get the car together). We heard it was an exciting race, though we couldn’t really tell from our spot on the track. There were no simulcast screens around, but the announcers reported a collision at turn 1 early on, and sadly had to finish with a safety car, as one of the cars lost a wheel but kept going anyways in the penultimate lap.
Our first Grand Prix, and I must say, I still don’t quite understand the excitement about going to the races, as you really can’t tell what’s happening unless you can see the big picture. In this case, the absence of television screens made it so that we really just watched some really fast cars buzz by us noisily 58 times before it was safe to remove the earplugs, and go find out what happened. Regardless, it was a nice day out in Melbourne, at an exciting sporting event, and we got to see some really fast cars go round and round.
Race results and professional photos are here, at the official Australian Grand Prix website.