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!)

Tales Of F1mania*: Picking A Bet/Picking A Fight.

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*In which I shall share snippets of (hilarious/sad/weird/random) stories garnered from my years of being a Formula 1 fan.


It was my first-ever F1 Grand Prix–I travelled to Singapore with a friend to attend the 2009 F1 Night Race and we were in Orchard Road, browsing in one of the Official Merchandise stalls.

I picked a Ferrari Kimi Raikkonen cap and a Red Bull Sebastian Vettel cap. While I was paying for them, I decided to make small talk with the sales guy:

“Who do you think will win this race?” I asked casually.

“Jenson Button. Or maybe Rubens Barrichello. Yeah, I’m gonna go with Barrichello.” The sales guy with a thick German accent confidently replied.

“Really? Well, I’m gonna go for Kimi Raikkonen.” I countered with pride.

“Kimi Raikkonen?! Oh, come on. You really think a Ferrari stands a chance in this race?!” (Maybe) German guy laughingly replied.

The other Caucasian males manning the booth with him were all smiling politely, but I could tell they totally agreed with Maybe German Guy. I looked to my friend for support, but being a non-F1 fan, he just shrugged at me, as if to say, “I’m not getting dragged into this.”

“Anything is possible with Kimi.” I haughtily declared as I snatched my bag of caps from him.

“Uh-huh.” Clearly, the conversation was over.

In the end, neither of us were correct, as Lewis Hamilton of McLaren won the 2009 F1 Night Race.

But, whose bet is still in Formula One now, huh?

I like having the last word.

Vettel the Underappreciated*.

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Hungaroring: Where the hungry takes the win in roaring fashion. Here are the facts after the dance of the chequered flag in this year’s Hungarian GP:

Sebastian Vettel has registered his 2nd win with Scuderia Ferrari.

It hasn’t always been easy, but somehow, he’s made it work.

He’s the only driver so far in 2015 who has finished within the top 5.

And he doesn’t even have a so-called “dominant” car.

He now has a total of 41 wins, equaling Ayrton Senna and moving into the top 3 of the all-time race wins list (only Prost and Schumacher are now ahead).

Third on the list. Just let that sink in. He’s not even close to 30 years old! His best racing years are still ahead of him. And he seems to have plenty of time to rewrite history, still.

Also, he’s now tied with Fernando Alonso as the driver with most total points scored with 1778 points (so far).

Won’t be long until he pulls away and takes the lead.

He beat pole-sitter, WDC leader and bookies’ favourite Lewis Hamilton.

Prior to the race, pundits were salivating at the thought of Lewis Hamilton finally taking sole ownership of “The most successful driver in Hungaroring”, a record which he currently shares with Michael Schumacher. When he took pole position in his dominant Mercedes, practically everyone thought that it was all but a done deal. Well, well. Isn’t it quite fitting that it was Vettel—Schumacher’s protégé—who spoiled the party, in a Ferrari at that, and effectively preserved Schumi’s Hungaroring joint-record (at least for now)?        

He dedicated his victory to the recently-passed on Manor GP driver Jules Bianchi.

Who says he’s ruthless/heartless/selfish? His spontaneous and earnest message to the team post-race, especially the part about Jules Bianchi was nothing short of heart-wrenching. Pass me a tissue, please.

 

All of that and yet, Sebastian Vettel is still obviously, massively underappreciated.

Here is a driver that is the only one even remotely close to challenging, and possibly reaching Michael Schumacher’s daunting F1 records, and yet he is still mainly associated with trivial things such as “The Finger” and “Multi 21-gate”.

I don’t understand why some people still choose to see the Darth Vader and not the Anakin Skywalker in him.

Denial? Crab mentality? Or is it ultimately fear of the genius/potential in him that he is yet to unleash?

My take is that this season has been a gamechanger for Sebastian. We’re now seeing a more mature, humbler, generally-better iteration of him. Adversity has become his friend. Vettel is in a middle of a…metamorphosis. It may not be such good news to his rivals but it certainly is a fascinating watch for us fans.

Luckily, his supporters are the Ride Or Die-kind. He doesn’t need to become Mr. Popular to prove his mettle. He is here to stay and fight. Deal with it, haters. At the end of the day, history will decide what sort of driver he is, and he will only fit between two categories: One of the Greats, or The Best There Ever Was.

So just do you, Seb. The rest shall fall into place.

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 *Yes, I am well aware that “underappreciated” is not in the dictionary. It was a conscious choice to use the word as it best fits and gives the most emphasis to the context of the article.

 

An Open Letter to Sebastian Vettel.

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Dear Sebastian,

This is going to sound weird considering that you don’t know me, but I feel like a proud…older sister*.

See, I liked you instantly the moment I laid eyes on you as a Friday Driver for BMW-Sauber in 2006. In all my years as an F1 fan, that has only happened to 2 other drivers: Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen, so you should be flattered as you’re in good, nay, excellent company. I cannot quite explain it, but there was something about you (and not just your youth at that time) that stood out for me. When I found out that you were nicknamed “Baby Schumi” in your native Germany (let it never be said that I don’t do proper research on the drivers I like), I knew my talent-spotting instincts were spot on. And when you got fined for speeding in the pitlane in that same season? Instead of rolling my eyes and tut-tutting, I laughed and thought, “This kid is going to become a World Champion.”

And boy, you sure made my 2006 prediction come true.

In massive, trailblazing style, at that. You made the then-relatively obscure, B-team Toro Rosso a fan favourite; You took the proverbial “David” that was Red Bull Racing to the top by beating the F1 “Goliaths” left, right, front and center; You raised the bar ridiculously high for F1 newbies; You took the hype surrounding your name and smashed it into pieces with pure talent; You rewrote F1 and Motorsport History Books over and over again.

But you are not perfect. You had your flaws. You hated losing and it showed. You didn’t just beat your teammates, you crushed them. You disobeyed your team. You won so much and dominated so much (not in the ways that Max Moseley likes, though) that you “inspired” a band of ill-informed, so-called F1 fans to boo you every time you appeared on the podium. You became a polarizing F1 figure. I mean, when you get compared to Darth Vader, you know you truly have it made as a Hero/Villain hybrid.

And then that hope, that prayer at the back of my mind finally happened: You decided to join Scuderia Ferrari, a.k.a. the F1 team that I still love/support even if it keeps on breaking my heart into smithereens (masochist much). I know it wasn’t a very-well kept secret, but it was one of those things that refused to sink in with me until I saw you wear that famous red racesuit, much like what happened with Kimi Raikkonen.

Speaking of, it is still pretty much blowing my mind right now that you will finally be teammates with Kimi. Could there be any more of a kickass pairing in F1 2015? None. Zilch. Nada. So please, carry on with that unique bromance thing you have with the Kimster. I’m so looking forward to the (unintentionally) hilarious adverts, interviews and shenanigans you two will provide for us fans this year. Oh, and there’s the racing too, I suppose.

I’m trying my best to keep this funny and light-hearted, but you see, every time I look at you in the Red of Ferrari, I am somehow reminded of Michael Schumacher, and it’s making me—for lack of a better term—very emotional.

I want you to know that I am not expecting a Schumacher-type of domination from you. I am not going to expect you to be The New Ferrari Messiah (or just A Very Naughty Boy**). While I want to say that I will not put undue pressure on you, I know that you are more than capable of handling the harsh and unrealistic expectations of both fans and critics. You live for the pressure. You thrive on pressure. You are not a 4-time World Champion for nothing. You have the talent, the heart, the dedication, the determination, the moxie, the ruthlessness, that intangible something that separates the ordinary drivers from the extraordinary ones. You are someone special and you know it.

Never ever be sorry for following your heart. The fight has not even properly started yet but I already want to thank you: Thank you for breaking out of your comfort zone. Thank you for having the balls to try to revive the wheezing Prancing Horse. Thank you for the leap of faith. Danke.

In my heart, I would like to believe that your childhood hero, your ex-ROC teammate and your beloved friend Schumi is already so, so proud of you.

Whatever happens this year and beyond, you are guaranteed my support and respect.

Best of luck and may you and your finger give them all hell!

 

P.S.

See you in Singapore later this year. There’s no way in the world I’ll be missing the Night Race with you and Kimi now representing Ferrari.

 

Sincerely,

Bouncebackabilitrix

 

 

svsf

Sebastian Vettel and The Door of Destiny.

 

 

Footnotes:

*I may be relatively old but I’m nowhere near the “I could be your mother” type of old.

**Oh hey, a Monty Python Reference!

Karaokers Time: Blank Space- Ferrari + Sebastian Vettel’s New Theme.

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Stop the presses. I can exclusively reveal that the new Ferrari SF15-T has a very special welcoming gift for its new driver, otherwise known as 4x-World Champion and ex-Red Bull guy Sebastian Vettel: A song! Not just any other song, but a song that might just perfectly encapsulate their new journey together.

Feel free to sing along. I know you want to.

Blank Space: The Ferrari Version.

Nice to meet you, where you been?

I could show you incredible things

Podiums, trophies, champagne, wins

Saw you there and I thought

“Oh my God, look at him race”

You look like my next mistake

F1’s a game, wanna play?

.

New challenge, German guy

I can read you like telemetry

Ain’t it funny, rumours fly

And I know you dreamed about me

So hey, let’s be friends

I’m dying to see how this one ends

Grab your licence, and Kimi’s hand

I can make the good guys bad for a weekend

.

So it’s gonna be forever

Or it’s gonna go down in flames

You can tell me when it’s over

If the high was worth the pain

Got a long list of ex-lovers

They’ll tell you I’m insane

Cos you know I love true racers

And you love to race

.

Cos you’re young and I’m reckless

We’ll take this way too far

It’ll leave you breathless

Or with a broken car

Got a long list of ex-lovers

They’ll tell you I’m insane

But I’ve got a blank space, baby

And I’ll write your name

.

Scarlet flags, crystal skies

I could show you incredible things

Stolen data, pretty lies

You’re the king baby I’m your queen

Find out what you want

Be that car for a month

Wait the worst is yet to come

Oh no

.

Crashes, DQs, perfect storm

I can make all the tables turn

Quali sessions filled with thorns

Keep you second guessing like.

“Oh my God, I need Q3!”

You’ll get drunk on jealousy

But you’ll come back each time you leave

Cos darling I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream

.

So it’s gonna be forever

Or it’s gonna go down in flames

You can tell me when it’s over

If the high was worth the pain

Got a long list of ex-lovers

They’ll tell you I’m insane

Cos you know I love true racers

And you love to race

.

Cos you’re young and I’m reckless

We’ll take this way too far

It’ll leave you breathless

Or with a broken car

Got a long list of ex-lovers

They’ll tell you I’m insane

But I’ve got a blank space, baby

And I’ll write your name

.

Tifosi only want love if it’s torture

Don’t say I didn’t say I didn’t warn you

Tifosi only want love if it’s torture

Don’t say I didn’t say I didn’t warn you

.

So it’s gonna be forever

Or it’s gonna go down in flames

You can tell me when it’s over

If the high was worth the pain

Got a long list of ex-lovers

They’ll tell you I’m insane

Cos you know I love true racers

And you love to race

.

Cos you’re young and I’m reckless

We’ll take this way too far

It’ll leave you breathless

Or with a broken car

Got a long list of ex-lovers

They’ll tell you I’m insane

But I’ve got a blank space, baby

And I’ll write your name

.

.

SVheart

So which is it going to be, Seb—Forever or Flames?

Stay tuned.