100 Unusual/Hilarious/Random/Awesome Things That Happened To Me During An F1 Race Weekend

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​If you’re not new to this blog then perhaps you already know that the 5 F1 GPs I’ve attended weren’t necessarily smooth sailing and were almost always action-packed.

Since I like long lists, I would like to share with you some of my most memorable moments during an F1 weekend. Some I have written about, while the others are yet to be expounded.

In no particular order:

1. (Nearly) meeting Nico Hulkenberg while in a taxi queue outside a mall.
2. Having one shoe fall off while running towards the podium post-race. (Yes, my friends all say I should wear running shoes when I watch GPs from now on.)
3. Seeing a Rob Smedley doppelganger and wondering why more fellow fans are not seeing that eerie resemblance.
4. Standing next to a Yoann Gourcuff/Fernando Torres lookalike and not getting the chance to surreptitiously photograph him.
5. Nico Rosberg bending down to take a closer look at the bracelet I was wearing.
6. Getting stared down by Maurizio Arrivabene.
7. Befriending a fellow fan while waiting outside the paddock entrance for Sebastian Vettel and then realizing after we’ve said goodbye that we didn’t even get to exchange names.
8. Getting squished next to a British Juan Mata lookalike during a Red Bull Racing event.
9. Finally meeting Michael Schumacher in the flesh after 15 years of dreaming about it. (Read about it here: http://wp.me/p10DmM-zz )

Schumi! ❤

10. Crying tears of joy/exhaustion underneath the podium after witnessing my very 1st Ferrari double podium. 

Post-Podium Ceremonies selfie!

11. Getting photobombed by a bunch of rowdy Irish & Australian teenage boys.
12. Meeting fellow fans in the flesh after years of Twitter interaction!
13.  Receiving strange/confused looks from sales assistants whenever I asked, “Do you have an Alguersuari cap?”
14. Having a mini-argument with a sales assistant who didn’t think Kimi Raikkonen has what it takes to win that year’s F1 Night Race.
15. Convincing a staff member to unveil at least the nose of the Ferrari display car so me and my friend can take a photo with it.
16. Trackwalking post-race holding a ziploc bag, collecting tire marbles along the way.
17. Nick Heidfeld passing me by as he made his way back to the pits after an on-track shunt. 

Hallo, Nick!

18. Taking home a piece of the foam barrier that Sergio Perez hit on-track.
19. Being overwhelmed by seeing Michael Schumacher for the 1st time in person (sans his racing gear) during the Drivers’ Parade that I took a photo of a trash bin instead of him.
20. Standing next to a group of friends who jeered both Kimi Raikkonen and Michael Schumacher and doing my best not to punch them all.
21. Inadvertently yelling “Jaime Alguersuari!” so loudly during the Drivers’ Parade that he looked my way and waved.
22. Being so sleepy and exhausted that I started yelling “Sebastian Vettel! Where are you? Please come out!” towards the Paddock Entrance (It was already past 4am & I only had 1 hr of sleep that entire day, okay?!).
23. Praying earnestly not to get injured as I mounted multiple barriers and ran up several slopes just to make the podium ceremonies.
24. Finding out our house got completely flooded due to a major typhoon barely 24hrs before attending my very 1st F1 race.
25. Wearing a headband decorated with lots of tiny Lego mini-tires.
26. Buying expensive caps that I didn’t really need but I absolutely wanted. 

Ogling the overpriced merchandise that I still could not help but buy…

27. Sneaking surreptitious looks at the KangarooTV (remember them?) of my fellow fans.
28. Foregoing eating for nearly 12 hours because the queues are too long/I didn’t have much of an appetite/I’d rather go around the track.
29. Having a hulk of a guy, who was bald and wearing a sleeveless top, borrow my fan and then ask me, “How are you not sweating in this weather?! I am dying here!” (It’s true, I was cool as a cucumber in the heat and humidity while he was as red as a tomato and sweating like a whore in church.)
30. Speaking of fans, while waiting to cross in a pedestrian footbridge, another Western guy stood beside me and made almost-inappropriate sounds of pleasure when he caught some of the air I was producing with my fan.
31. Having a fellow fan snatch my Sharpie pen in excitement while waiting for Heikki Kovalainen to sign stuff because his own pen didn’t work. Heikki saw the look of annoyance on my face and signed my stuff first. Ha. The fan apologized to me after so it’s all good.
32. Having a fellow fan graciously lend me his pen when it was my turn to have my stuff signed by Max Verstappen, because I dropped my pen inside my blackhole of a bag before taking a photo of him.
33. Nico Hulkenberg telling me, “Good luck!” after he signed my notebook. I’m pretty sure I made a “Huh?” face but he just smiled and moved on.
34. Standing outside a pop-up store for nearly 2 hours just to see Nico Rosberg up close for the 1st time.
35. Sneakily placing my mobile phone in between a cameraman’s legs just to be able to take a photo of Jenson Button for a friend.
36. Considered gatecrashing an F1-related event but changing my mind at the last minute to go shopping instead.
37. Getting lost on my way out of the track because I was too busy posting my Vettel autograph on Instagram.

I waited nearly 5 hours for this!

38. Bumping into an elderly track personnel while trying to find the track exit at past 4 am & getting told, “You’re still here, Miss?! Go home & get some sleep, lah!”
39. Having to explain to a semi-flirting taxi driver what makes F1 such a great sport at past 4 in the morning. Completely sober.
40. Having a whole conversation with our taxi driver about the 2008 F1 Night Race on our way to the airport while my friends rolled their eyes at the back.
41. Being too lazy to chase after Felipe Massa and then asking a fellow fan “Was he with Rob Smedley?” after.
42. Going to a McLaren-related exhibit inside a mall just to check out the Kimi Raikkonen bits. 

Spot the misspelled word there…

43. My friends freaking out on my behalf when they saw a huge Michael Schumacher billboard outside the Petronas Towers. “You have to take a photo with that!” I’ve trained my friends well.

Where Schumi goes, I go…

44. Nearly not being on time for a Qualifying Session due to a delay at the border, so I had to tell the taxi driver, “Please channel your inner F1 driver, I cannot be late!” We got to the track on time.
45. Dishing out the “You’re kidding me, right?” face everytime a sales assistant asks, “Are you getting this for your boyfriend?” when I’m browsing F1 merchandise.
46. Being given tons of free Singapore GP goodies by a staff member of the Singapore’s Visitor Centre when she found out it was my first GP ever.
47. Being too starstruck/awestruck to even properly take a photo of Kimi Raikkonen as he whizzed past us fans in his golf cart.
48. Starting conversations with fellow fans with, “So, who do you support?”
49. From crying my eyes out of sadness the night before to experiencing internal bliss the next day during my very first GP.
50. Getting invited by a fellow fan to “watch Fernando Alonso sunbathe in his hotel”. Yeah, I gave that a pass.
51. Being given free bottled water by generous track marshals.
52. Getting the stink-eye from Hamilton fans when my friend and I let out a whoop when he retired.
53. Having a fellow fan start a convo with me by opening with, “You’re a Kimi fan, right? You look like a Kimi fan” even though I wasn’t wearing anything Kimi-related. He’s a Kobayashi fan, by the way.
54. Getting the “You came all the way from the Philippines?!” response from fellow fans when I tell them where I’m from. Seriously guys, it’s not that far from Singapore.
55. Using all my charms to convince a bus conductor not to leave me and my friends in Johor Bahru (I had to attend a Qualifying Session in Sg that night) by distracting him and appealing to his Ferrari-supporting side.
56. Seeing someone I know through Twitter in person but getting too shy to approach them and say hello.
57. Receiving a dazzling smile from Sebastian Vettel after I wished him “Good luck!”
58. Yelling “Hello, Kimi!” everytime Kimi enters the pits mere meters away from me.
59. Nearly falling asleep while taking a shower after getting back to home base at nearly 5 am.
60. A fellow fan asking me, “Who is he? He’s a driver, right?” when Felipe Nasr exited the Paddock area and started signing for the fans.
61. Being all superstitious and wearing at least 1 red item per day for Ferrari’s sake (hey it worked for the 2015 F1 Night Race!).
62. Watching a Free Practice Session from a height of 165 meters for free, thanks to the Singapore Flyer.

The Singapore Flyer

63. Getting amused laughs from security personnel at the Gates during bag check whenever they see how huge my bag is and how it’s usually filled with shopping bags.
64. Falling in love with a promo umbrella emblazoned with the faces of past F1 Champions. 

I want that umbrella!!

65. Sending a text blast to selected friends (and most probably waking them up) at like 2 in the morning saying I’ve met Michael Schumacher. In all caps. I regret nothing.
66. My Spanish basically getting reduced to “por favor” and “gracias” when I met the Spanish-speaking drivers.
67. Seeing 1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve blanked by fans.
68. Seeing Grumpy Fernando Alonso refuse to sign/take pics for fans and telling them a resounding, “NO!”
69. Seeing Kimi Raikkonen’s trainer Mark Arnall get a warm reception from fans, even getting autograph/selfie requests!
70. Randomly getting stopped by a fellow fan to ask why there was a Safety Car on track at that moment (Due to the Hulk-Massa shunt, F1 Night Race 2015).
71. Receiving a text from a friend that went something like, “Hey I’ve just heard that someone invaded the track mid-race. That’s not you, right?!” And yes, it was NOT me. (F1 Night Race 2015)
72. Running through nearly 1/3 of the track (back & forth at that) just to be able to make the podium ceremonies.
73. Watching Maroon 5’s concert post-Qualifying Session behind a couple who made out for 80% of the duration. Ick.
74. Randomly getting complimented by a fellow fan on the lipstick I was wearing during raceday (MAC Ruby Woo).
75. Immediately storing the Sharpie pen that was touched and handled by 3 World Champions (Schumacher, Vettel & Alonso) inside a ziploc bag and never touching it with bare hands again.
76. Resisting the urge to pee for 4 hours for fear of missing any on-track action.
77. Being told “You know a lot about F1 for a woman” by a taxi driver. (SIGH.)
78. Riding on the same elevator with fellow F1 fans who could not disguise their friskiness and looked just about to get it on.
79. Forgetting to remove my earplugs post-race which resulted to me talking really loudly to my friend and a few fellow fans for nearly half an hour.
80. Forgetting to bring my earplugs during raceday, buying a pair on-track but not using them anyway (this is during the V6 era already; and don’t follow my example, kids!).
81. Having a GP weekend survival kit that consists of: Paracetamol, band-aids, Tiger Balm and Salonpas strips.
82. Surreptitiously doing yoga-like stretches in between sessions (sometimes in the middle of a race) to prevent my legs from cramping and to relieve my poor back.
83. Unabashedly brandishing my foldable binoculars to get a better look at the cars (and to people-watch better).
84. Getting sad at seeing the discounted Kimi Raikkonen caps during his F1 sabbatical (circa 2010), but knowing in my heart he’ll return to F1 once again. I kinda wish I bought a couple of those now! 

I guess they thought Kimi wouldn’t be coming back…

85. Having this weird fascination with kerbs and touching/stroking at least one of them post-race.
86. Having the same fascination with tire marks on the walls and touching/stroking at least one of them post-race.
87. Nearly (deliberately) stepping on the foot of a motormouth fan behind me when he very loudly proclaimed that they should just skip interviewing Kimi Raikkonen because he is so dull (among other things) during the 2015 F1 Night Podium Ceremonies.
88. Shivering (in a good way) every time I hear the sound of an F1 car accelerating.
89. Overhearing a fellow fan tell his girlfriend, “Get Fernando to sign this, will you?” Girlfriend: “Why me?” Guy: “You’re a girl, he’ll pay more attention to you!”
90. Marvelling at how…vertically-challenged most drivers are.
91. Realizing though that most, if not all of them are much better-looking in person.
92. Overtaking slow-walking fans with F1 engine sounds playing inside my head.
93. Learning that when in doubt, go ask a track marshal/policeman directly.
94. Drinking more water in 3 days than I do in a whole month.
95. Regretting not being able to make and bring a witty banner.
96. Discovering a good spot for the Drivers’ Parade where they’re close enough to hear you when you yell their names.
97. Foregoing watching the musical acts in favor of waiting for the drivers & personnel.
98. Finding out that (most) F1 fans are really very nice and good fun.
99. Bending down the start-finish line and leaving a red kiss mark on it post-race.

Leaving my (kiss)mark on the track!

100. That strange mixture of happiness and sadness that envelops me as I leave the track post-race which leads to an iron resolve of, “I WILL BE BACK, NO MATTER WHAT!”

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I’m sure I have missed many more anecdotes, but anyway, perhaps they’ll make it to a part 2 of this post.

Meanwhile, I’m already planning my next GP weekend because I cannot wait to see what other adventures/misadventures await me.

(What are your own unforgettable F1 GP mini-anecdotes? Tell me in the comments section!)

Bouncebackabilitrix Roars in the Lion City: The 2010 F1 Singapore GP Diary

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I’ve put off writing this entry for as long as I could, hoping to hold on to the semi-euphoria in my head (or perhaps that’s the effect of inhaling engine fumes from the F1 cars). Anyway, here’s the account of my sophomore year of attending the Race Weekend in Singapore:

Day 1

I almost nearly could not sleep the night before, as I was too excited about several things: 1. The whole F1 race weekend, obviously; 2. This was the first time I was going to be traveling alone. I usually travel with my siblings or my friends, but since my destination is Singapore, my ever-protective parents allowed me to go off on my own; 3. I wanted to see my friend J, one of my closest friends since I was barely a teen and a fellow F1 nut like myself.

The whole process to get off the ground was uneventful, as sadly, our international airport is mind-numbingly boring. I went around the duty-free shops around 5 times before deciding to just park myself on some bench and wait until the boarding gate opens. Interestingly, I picked a spot that was directly across the shop that sells G.H. Mumm champagne and had a bottle prominently displayed on a podium. G.H. Mumm happens to be F1’s Official Champagne provider. Must be a sign, eh? It has to be mentioned that I got a few strange looks from the shop assistants while taking a photo of the champagne bottle. That’s me, official Champagne Paparrazzi.

My flight aboard Jetstar was generally pleasant–it was my first time with the airline company and it certainly won’t be the last. My only beef wasn’t with them, but with the annoying toddler that kept crying throughout the whole 3-hour flight. Thank heavens for my mobile phone’s trusty music player. I was almost tempted to put on the earplugs I’ve brought for the race. Hey kid, perhaps you should use that lung power of yours to good use and try to become the female Michael Phelps in the future? Just a thought.

The small amount of annoyance I harbored in the plane vanished as I stepped off and was welcomed by the sight of the Changi Airport, which is just my favorite airport in the world. After spending some time browsing the shops and eating the copious free candy, I arrived at my hotel around 3pm–Settled in, arranged my stuff, found the Football Channel on the telly, before deciding to get out and explore a bit before meeting my friend for dinner. However, within 2 minutes of exiting my hotel, the gentle afternoon drizzle turned into a ferocious torrential downpour, and to my horror, my poor folding umbrella broke in the middle of my traverse of Bencoolen Street. I took my soaking wet self into the nearest Guardian and bought another folding umbrella, in cheery bright orange, as if to insult the dreary hunter green of my old and injured umbrella. It took another 15 minutes for the rain to fully stop, and as I stepped outside, I realized that the famous Sim Lim Square is within walking distance of my hotel. I stood on the sidewalk, holding my new umbrella, and stared at the white building, debating with myself whether I should take a peek at all the mobile phones, digital cameras, laptops and gadgets of my techie wet dreams, but then I remembered my credit balance and briskly turned on my heel. Oh, the pain of poverty.

I took a moment to come back to my hotel and blow-dry my damp self, and when I looked presentable again, I set out on another quest, finding a foreign exchange stall with reasonable rates. I was unsuccessful and had to jump in the first taxi I saw, after getting an SMS from J that she was at Suntec City Mall already, where we’d meet for dinner before heading out for the Free Practice Session. As soon as I stepped out of the taxi, I immediately heard the glorious roar of the F1 engines, and that was enough to make me forget I paid 12.00 SGD for a short cab ride (in my defense, I was running late and my feet were already aching so bad that I had to forego the walk to the nearest MRT station). I can’t believe it has been 12 months since my eardrums were tickled that way. I practically skipped all the way inside the mall.

J and I both sacrificed watching Free Practice 1 to get a decent dinner and to catch up. After all, it has been 6 whole months since we last saw each other. Hey, when you’ve been friends for more than half your lives, 6 months apart is nearly an eternity. Fast forward a couple of hours, and we’re on our way to the track. I couldn’t help but squeeze J’s arm and squeal “This is it!” as we firmly planted ourselves on the area near Turn 14.

My 3-Day Walkabout Race Tickets. This year, I made sure to get them early, and thanks to J, we got a good deal through the Early Bird promo. 🙂

Gate 7. My favorite entry/exit gate for the past 2 years.

Free Practice 2 commenced. Suddenly, a vision appeared: Zooming straight towards me was a silver car with that distinct orange helmet sticking out. I almost could not process the thought that I’m seeing THE Michael Schumacher race live in person for the very first time. I’m even amazed I had enough self-awareness left in me to take a photo of that moment:

7-Times F1 World Champion Michael Schumacher. My mouth hung open as he whizzed by. Yes, he still had that effect on me.

After that, J and pretty much just soaked in the atmosphere and focused on ogling the cars. Here’s a short clip from FP2:

I went back to my hotel that evening thinking, I can’t believe I still have two more nights of that to experience.

Day 2

I woke up brightly and with a clear agenda on my mind: I need, nay, want to shop at Orchard Road. Never mind that I do not boast of a Rockefeller-like credit card limit or a rapper’s exorbitant cash flow, one of the perks of having me as a family member/friend/employee is that I always buy gifts for people close to me whenever I travel. So, with my capacious bag, along with my measly cash and credit card on hand, I set off to Orchard Road on my own, ready to do the necessary lightning-quick currency conversions in my head.

It’s hard to miss the smattering of tents that housed Official Formula One merchandise lined along Orchard, and I had to approach them with a mixture of glee and caution, as I prepared myself to be shocked by the First World prices of the goods.

Surprisingly, I wasn’t too impressed with the goods in the first shop. What’s interesting though, is that this shop had a huge bargain bin outside selling old Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari caps. I was very nearly tempted to buy a blue one, that was, until the Voice of Reason screamed inside my head, “You already have a prefectly good Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari cap at home! You don’t need another one!”

Raikkonen Ferrari caps at half-price off. Make my heart bleed even more, why don’t you?!

I quickly moved on to another shop, and that’s where I’ve decided to linger, since they have cardboard cutouts of Lotus drivers Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli, which I giggled at, and a mini Lotus race simulator, which I had to be content with goggling at, since I chose to wear a dress that day and getting into it is sure to attract some unwarranted attention.

I was lazily browsing when a male sales assistant approached me to ask which driver I’d be supporting that weekend. I automatically replied “Sebastian Vettel” and poked at one of his caps displayed. I could not resist asking if they sell caps with Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari’s number (long story), but the assistant just gave me a puzzled look and said no.

I decided on purchasing a Sebastian Vettel Red Bull cap, a teensy-weensy F1 car-shaped pin/brooch, a Ferrari pit crew member teddy bear and last, but not the least, a small toy replica of Michael Schumacher’s Mercedes GP car. Spend now, worry about my credit card bill later.

My 2010 Race Weekend Souvenirs. They still smell of the cleanliness of Singapore. Honestly.

I then moved on to Wheelock Place to get my geek on at Borders, where I proceeded to speed-read nearly every new issue of all the football and racing magazines I never get at home. By the way, if you are not a football fan, you might want to skip this section, as I am about to wax lyrical about my favorite football player’s book: While I was at the Sports Section, sniggering at all the unauthorized biographies of football players, I suddenly spotted 2 small paperback books that were worth their weight in gold–Michael Owen’s Autobiography, Off the Record was right there, in front of me. I was almost too afraid to touch them, fearing I might be hallucinating. But they were real, and although both copies were not at their premium condition, I would have gladly paid 100.00 SGD for a copy. See, it has taken me 6 full years of hunting down this book, and I will shamelessly admit that my trip has already been 80% made after snagging one. Oh, and there was this one guy who chatted me up whilst I was basking in the sheer beauty of the book’s cover–I think he was flirting, even. Unfortunately, several things went against him: He’s an Everton fan, he had a thick accent that I had trouble comprehending, and no man nor demigod will be able to distract me while I am holding a copy of Michael Owen’s book. So if you ever get to read this, Francis, sorry to cut our “chat” so abruptly. Don’t worry, it’s not you, it’s me (and my Owen obsession).

THE book I’ve waited 6 whole years for.

A few hours and several hundred SG Dollars later, my friend J and I were back on the track, just in time to catch the parade of gorgeous Ferrari cars that preceded the Qualifying Session:

Gorgeous Ferrari cars lazily drives past, tormenting the petrolheads.

Qualifying Session then commenced, and we were all reduced to constantly transforming ourselves from amateur paparrazzi to boggle-eyed spectators.

My infamous “jinxing powers” worked yet again, as only a few minutes after I was telling J that we need to see an interesting “race incident soon”, the commentators blasted on the sound system that Ferrari’s Felipe Massa just ahd a car problem and had to retire from Qualifying. I was craning my neck to try to catch a glimpse of Felipe’s yellow helmet, and sure enough, I caught sight of him being whisked off back to the pits by a race marshal on a scooter:

Below are some clips from Q1 and Q2, respectively:

Fernando Alonso of Ferrari got the pole, Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull was a close second, and the two McLarens in 3rd and 4th. With all 5 of the Championship contenders in the Top 5, predicting the race winner would have been nothing short of a Herculean task.

Day 3

Two days of non-stop walking, stretching/contorting our bodies to get better views, and screaming, caught up with us fangirls, so J and I were in no rush to get up and channel Road Runner come Sunday morning. We spent nearly 3 hours having brunch, and took a walk around the neighborhood before deciding to drop by The Good Shepherd Church to hear the 11.45am mass. We can’t help it, 11 years of strict Catholic schooling is still ingrained within us. It happened to be World Migrants Day that Sunday, so the mass was lighthearted and peppered with cultural references from several countries whose workers now call Singapore their home.

After doing some last-minute shopping and a lazy late lunch, we’ve decided to head to the track early, for fear that our precious spot near Turn 14 would be occupied by unworthy spectators. I’m paranoid and territorial like that. Thankfully, our favorite spot for the past 2 days was still free when we got there, and we even got to see the tail-end of the Porsche Carrera Cup race. Unfortunately, the afternoon sun was still blazing hot, and we spent some time hiding under my umbrella to avoid being baked.

A shot from the Porsche Carrera Cup Race.

At the stroke of half-past six, one of my favorite parts of the race weekend finally started– The Drivers’ Parade. It is not very often that a racing fan like myself will see all the F1 drivers up close (well, around 2-3 meters away, anyway), sans their helmets and racesuits, and I’m ever grateful that for this GP, they put all drivers on separate cars instead of lumping them all on one truck. Maximum exposure for them and maximum squealing time for fangirls like me.

Apologies for the quality (or lack, thereof) of the photos below–I was trying to multitask by looking at the Drivers zooming by and taking photos and chatting with my friend all at the same time. Suffice to say, I need more practice before I can join the game show Distraction:

Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel. The red horns I wore during the race were in his honor. 🙂

Red Bull’s Mark Webber. He sort of looked like a giant on top of a top car. 🙂

Lotus Racing’s (Blurry) Heikki Kovalainen. He was moving so quickly!

BMW-Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld. From Mercedes GP to Pirelli Test Driver to his 1st F1 Team in 1 season. WB, Quick Nick!

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton.

McLaren’s Jenson Button. he got a lot of screams from female fans, to be fair.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.

After the thrill of the Parade, we took a few moments to compose and to steel ourselves for almost 2 hours or hardcore racing. As soon as the five red lights went off, our area went quiet as everyone held up their digicams, iPhones and camcorders to record the first few laps. And yes, I was one of them:

The first 3 cars were never really in danger of losing their positions, even as some of the cars became casualties as the race wore on. As I was discussing with J the predicted WDC standings if the top 5 contenders finish in their current positions, the biggest surprise of the race occurred, as McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton fell by the wayside after bungling an attempt to pass WDC rival Mark Webber. The spectators, especially the McLaren fans, all gasped in unison as they absorbed the information that their golden boy and the 2009 race winner would not get a victory, nor any points from this race.

The Safety Car leading the pack:

The Race Restart after the SC Period:

Lewis Hamilton gets a ride back to the pits:

The racing sadist in me wanted to see more racing incidents, and just a few minutes later, Lotus Racing’s Heikki Kovalainen spun right in front of us as he had a mild collision with Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Buemi. Here’s Heikki’s swift recovery:

However, Heikki’s “exciting” race was not over yet, as his engine suddenly caught fire and he had to play the part of an impromptu firefighter by taking the car to the start-finish straight to extinugish the flames. Well played to Heikki for his quick-thinking!

EDIT: Here’s a clip taken by a spectator of Heikki channeling his inner firefighter (via WTF1)

The top 5 positions were fully cemented going into the last few laps, and there was a palpable buzz in the air as the spectators prepared for the cars to cross the chequered flag:

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso won from pole, the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber were 2nd and 3rd, while Jenson Button of McLaren finished in 4th. 16 cars were classified and barring a few banged-up cars (and buckets of sweat and fire extinguisher remnants, in Kovalainen’s case), everyone was safe and sound.

Now, on to another favorite ‘tradition’ of mine–the Drivers’ saluting the fans post-race, on their way back to the pits:

I was satisfied enough with the race results–the Ferrari fan in me was pleased that Alonso notched another win for the Scuderia, but since I am firmly behind Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel’s bid for WDC, a part of me wished the young German took home the full 25 points. Alonso’s win, however, made the 5-way WDC title-fight even more exciting, and let’s face it, for a true racing fan, it’s extremely hard to be worried and over-analytical when you’ve just witnessed a spectacularly-staged race by a truly efficient and tourist-friendly country with some of the most passionate F1 fans.

So, what’s the best way to let out all the extra energy post-race? TRACK INVASION!

The spectators mob one of the Official F1 Safety Cars. bet the blokes inside felt like proper superstars!

Below are my Personal Tips on Attending the SG GP:

  • Plan ahead and plan early! You can save a lot when you purchase tickets through their website http://www.singaporegp.sg during their Early Bird Promo Period. Keep a lookout for seat sales from your local airlines as well.
  • It often rains in Singapore, mostly during early/late afternoons, so best to bring a small folding umbrella and/or a raincoat with you at all times. It hasn’t rained during the FPs, QLF and Raceday for the past 2 years I’ve attended, but best safe than sorry (and soaking wet).
  • DON’T forget to bring earplugs! The sound of the F1 engines are unbelievably loud and can cause damage to the ears of the uninitiated. Bring your own from home if you’re a cheapskate like me, but if you do forget to take some, there are vendors outside the track that sells some, but they are expensive at 5 SGD a pair. Better to buy the Survival Kit, which contains a pair of earplugs and a disposable plastic poncho, from inside the track from the Red Cross Volunteers.
  • Speaking of being a cheapskate, I also brought several pieces of bottled water along with me for the entire trip. The track allows each person to bring 1 500mL (max) bottle of water, so if you want to spend your hard-earned SGD on other things, pack light and stock up on water.
  • If you refuse to cough up moolah on overpriced F1 merchandise, then just go walk along Orchard Road or drop by any Singapore Tourist Information Centers and get loads of race-related freebies such as mini race flags, fans, postcards and posters.
  • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes at all times–You’re going to be moving and walking around a LOT! My friend and I had a right giggle at some of the girls who were dressed like they’re attending a party or they’re going out clubbing–Short, shiny dresses and 4-inch stiletto heels to watch a race? Really?
  • Make the most of your ticket– One of the unique, and fantastic things about attending Singapore GP is that spectators will never get bored, what with the constant stream of entertainment and performances available pre- and post-race. Get out there and go to all the shows while you can!
  • Always have your digital camera/camcorder on hand. Bring extra memory cards and batteries if you can. A lot can happen in a span of 1 FP/Qualifying Session/Race, so you’d better be prepared to capture those moments!
  • Don’t be afraid to make some NOISE! As a crazed football fan, I’m used to hearing (and making) a lot of noise over the smallest and silliest of things. Last year, I was more than a bit puzzled when my fellow spectators seemed to be too timid to make noise throughout the race, and I was probably the loudest fan in our area during the Drivers’ Parade (Yeah, I got a lot of amused looks and laughter with my uninhibited reactions, thankyouverymuch). This year, I was a little bit more restrained, but I still made a lot of noise to show my appreciation and excitement. You are not in a church or in a library, so make yourself heard!
  • Above all, forget about any worries/fears/hang-ups and just ENJOY!

Just like that, my weekend of pleasure and hedonism had to come to an end.

There you have it– 17 years of F1 fandom, 5 months of saving and planning, 3 days of pure bliss.

Thank you, racing gods.

I’ll see you again next year, Singapore. Don’t worry, I will hurry back.