Day/Night 3 – Singapore F1 Grand Prix (Sep 28)

Yes, the race was successful and turned out to be a night to remember. It was also a frustrating and eventful night on all fronts. For me. For Team Ferrari and for Prancing Horse fans. Here’s why. After scouting for the past two nights, I learnt the lesson of going early and finding a damn good spot to camp and take pictures and watch the damn race. We set off at 230pm and dily dallied till 6pm till I found a spot at Turn 11-12 at the bleachers. Chose to be alone for a good 20 mins but in the end caved in and joined the rest who moved on to Turn 13 to check out the place. By the time we got there, there was already a crowd. Lucky we rented the TV ($100) to watch. I could only catch a glimpse of the race from a considerable distance. Left the camera with the long lenses (300mm) to the tall Kris Raikkonen to snap pictures. Wasn’t in the freaking mood anymore. Will let the pictures do the talking.

Pictures of pre-race fans to the race itself at Turn 13 before drama ensued.

Once again, nomadic friends wanted to be on the move. Considering Massa was leading comfortably, I went along. Along the way, there were shouts about Piquet crashing his Renault. And I heard from a faint distant from the not-so-giant screen saying Team Ferrari had an incident at the pit stop. I ran along to Turn 17 and once again, there was already a freaking crowd there. I could only see glimpses of the race and wasn’t tall enough to peer through the heads to look at not-so-giant screen. And the rented TV wasn’t with us. Was with a friend so I was left absolutely freaking clueless. Who the hell wanted to move??? Now, I see almost nothing except cars zooming by. I got updates from a friend via sms and whispers of people talking at Turn 17. Argh! This is NOT fun. A disappointment for Ferrari and a disappointment with myself. Next time, listen to your heart and trust your instinct, Ronald. Stay at one freaking spot, get a good view and rent your own TV — be selfish and NOT share.

Quick pictures of the race (Alonso leads, Hamilton chases, Coulthard chases, Massa drops to last, Kimi crashes, Barichello crashes) at Turn 17.

Above: David Coulthard fails to clinch podium. Almost.

Above: McLaren chases into 2nd spot after safety car mess.

Above: Team Ferrari crashes out

Above: Alonso coming around Turn 17…

Above: Alonso drives away into the night with a considerble lead. His first win this season.

And below are some pictures post-race.

Above: I got lucky. Sort of.

Above: Ashley as well.

Above: Another roadkill picture. Kinda explains my frustration for the night.

Suggestions to improve the race:

  • More screens please. And bigger screens. As if watching toy cars from a distance. Couldn’t even see the words/standings/drivers names.
  • Walkabout area to extend nearer to Turn 7 and Turn 1-2. Let the fans get near , ok? The corporate people are bored already!
  • Rented TV price for race day to decrease? More people will rent if that’s the case.
  • Bumpy roads to made even closer to the race. Drivers were complaining about it all the time. Buay paiseh meh?
  • Let the common folk be more involved. Most heartlanders didn’t really care about the race. Perhaps make it free to watch from a certain area (remove the bloody horadings) on race day when tickets are fully sold out. Besides, it’s a STREET circuit. Aren’t we all entitled to watch for free? Public space OK.  Seriously.This is Team Ferrari signing off. For one last time, si bei char and shiok ah!!!!!!!!!
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Day/Night 2: Singapore Grand Prix 3rd Practice & Qualifying (Sep 27)

Which way? It's a walkabout so we're everywhere!

Which way?

Armed with a new set of awesome camera and lenses (300mm) thanks to Zhaoxing Alonso, I was trigger happy on Saturday. Was supposed to return him the camera on Sat night so I had to shoot as many good pictures as I could. And I couldn’t stop shooting. Pictures of signboards, buildings, cars (but of course) and yes women. For those who accused me of being voyeuristic, well here’s an equation to ponder over — 20 cars + 1,000,000 babes = F 1.

Entered via Gate 4 and started shooting at the circuit park. Went to meet Ashley Hamilton and Ghim Kovalainen (surprise!), who ditched their grandstand tickets (well done) and joined Kris Raikkonen and me, Ronald Massa, on the walkabout. We went back to the usual turns (Turn 14, Turn 11, 12 and 13) and camped at Turn 13 and Turn 11 later for a while for the 3rd practice to start. Below is a gallery of pictures of people — fans and babes alike.

After dinner, it was qualifying action and we were at Turn 17 to catch the action. Mark Webber crashed into Turn 18 barrier the previous night at this stretch. Team McLaren (Ashley Hamilton and Ghim Kovalainen) went to their grandstand seats to watch the action instead. We managed to get some good shots here. Plus shots from Turn 11 and 13. See Above Gallery.

And the 3rd session (10 mins) during Qualifying was exciting. It was Hamilton leading. Then Massa. Then Hamilton. Back to Massa. Finally, the Brazilian clocked the fastest lap (1:44:801) and clinched pole. Ole!

Massa has went on to win races from pole and it seems like a Ferrari victory is on the cards since overtaking is harder on our circuit. Go Ferrari! And it’s time to celebrate — with pictures on the track! Yes, we’re on it and we’re cool people.

The chicane

Go Brazil! Go Massa!

Roadkill?

This is Team Ferrari signing out!

Day/Night 1 – Singapore F1 Grand Prix 1st and 2nd Practice (Sep 26)

Day 1 was spent scouting / recce-ing the track. Kris Raikkonen and I, Ronald Massa, entered via Gate 6, checked out Turn 13 (Merlion side), walked down the straight stretch towards Esplanade at Turn 14, then took the underpass to the opposite side (Gate 7), checked out some babes, walked past Turn 15, 16, 19, 20 and finally trekked across a U-shaped cluster to reach the Singapore Flyer zone to meet Sasha and collect tickets for R & M. Phew. We, the Ferrari team, covered half the track in an hour or so — on foot.

Above: Entering via Gate 6. First foray into F1! Note: Blue-and-white stripes shirt is not in support of BMW Sauber. Had to save Ferrari polo for the next 2 days.

Above: We all need an ice cold beer on a sweltering and balmy late afternoon.

We then walked back the same route (bummer!) and started practising some shots at Turn 19.

Above: Toyota approaching Turn 19.

Above: Red Bull after Turn 19.

I used my trusted point-and-shoot camera and the pictures turned out not so trusthworthy at all. Kris fared better with Ghim’s camera (thanks dude). Then walked till Turn 14 and took the underpass to Turn 8. Took some pictures and videos here. Nice angle and spot for shutters.

Noticed the massive crowd spilling in from Gate 3 and had to part through the crowd like Moses to get out of the area and walk a considerable distance across St Andrew’s Cathedral to reach Gate 4 to pass tickets to R & M. We’re nice people.

We trekked back to Fairmont/Swisstoel cos an apparent friend working there (Ai Niang, you reading this?) promised to bring Kris Raikkonen and me up to the hotel’s rooftop to view the track. Turned out to be a bluff. See, nice people get conned, cheated and bluffed.

We went back to Gate 4 and reached a dead end walking the straight Padang track, seeing a glimpse of Turn 10, which is supposed to be an exciting turn due to the high kerbs which the drivers complained of on Thursday night.

Above: One of the accredited photographers at Padang Track telling us his settings for camera.

Went opposite to the Circuit Park and walked towards Turns 11 and 12. Realised these are the best spots to take photos due to the slow turns doing a “S”. Took a lot more pictures here before proceeding to the other prime spot further down at Turn 13.

Above: Ferrari approaching Turn 11.

Above: Alonso leading the 1st practice at Turn 11.

Above: Raikkonen during the 2nd practice on the chicane at Turn 11.

Turn 13 turned out to be the area NEAREST to the cars because the cars slowed down on a tight left turn. We snapped pictures away. The next day, the area was cordoned and shifted further in so it’s not that near anymore. Damn the safety marshals!

Above: Raikkonen approaching Turn 13.

Above: Lewis Hamilton at Turn 13. Up close and personal.

Above: David Coulthard at Turn 13.

Observations on the Race itself

  • Hamilton clocked the best time in 1st practice (1:45:518 / 20 laps) and Alonso clocked the best time in 2nd practice (1:45:654 / 30m laps).
  • Mark Webber crashed into the barrier at Turn 18 after braking too late on the left turn.
  • Turned out the street circuit was really bumpy where the cars kept hitting the surfaces. Well, Singapore didn’t have that much time to even the roads but props to a great event held! It’s perhaps even bumpier than Valencia GP but it’s OK! Next year will be better!
  • Seems like the cars have lesser chances of overtaking on our narrow circuit.
  • Massa (the real Massa, not me) will do well on this dry track and if he clinches pole on Saturday, the Brazilian driver will coast to victory on Sunday just like he did in Valencia. Fingers crossed.

End of 1st and 2nd Practice on Friday night (26/9). Qualifying tomorrow. Go Ferrari! Go Scudeira!

It’s seriously char si lang (read: noisy) but shiok lah. Who needs earplugs when you can hear the real damn thing and feel the real damn thing and see the real damn thing in front of you? Welcome to the Singapore Grand Prix and first night race in the world.

It’s Team Ferrari here signing off. Roger out!