...and then there is the actual race day, the most exciting day at the event (though I do not want to miss the other two days). Race day is also the day when most people come to the event. If I recollect the announcement over the speakers correctly it was 80609 people (in that range...) who came to race day and I believe I heard something like 260.000 people for all three days, but don't quote me.
Again, the day starts late and after a heavy security search, I wanted to get a close-up look at some of the drivers. There are certain points within the race track where we see the right drivers walking right by you, at a certain date and location. Those I won't name here, since it is depending on your ticket category if you even get up close.
I was lucky and got a real eye-to-eye moment with Webber, Vettel, Alonso and a few others. With some of them you can feel the stress they must be going through ahead of the race, while a few others are very relaxed and give autographs, smile and wave at people.
The GP2 series race is in full swing when the F1 drivers walk to their garages, followed by the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Race. This is all happening during daylight and by that time the grandstands and the platforms are filling up with people.
So, in order to get a close look at some of the stars I actually missed a good place at my intended platform in Turn 3. By the time I got there, there were too many people up there and I was not in the mood to push myself in.
But I had a view other options in mind and they turned out to be better locations with a better view of the start of the race. I later changed mid-race to another location so I could see the end of the race and of course the fireworks.
Drivers track parade is happening just before the actual race and gives you a great view of all the drivers, as they parade-by in their Oldtimers with their names clearly visible on the side of the cars. By then all seats will be taken and you will have to live viewing the action from a third or fourth line in front of the fence.
I was a bit annoyed by the huge amount of alcohol which was consumed by some groups of men, mostly from (sorry to say) Australia and New Zealand. Beer was spilled everywhere and some of the seats/stands where turned into swimming platforms of beer. Some of those guys where also so drunk that they had no more feeling for time and place. They had to go to toilets (which takes anywhere from 15 mins to 20 mins) and some decided to go get another few rounds of beer....all while missing the start of the race!
It is getting exciting when all drivers bring their cars into the starting positions and leave the pit lane, driving one round, followed by the warm up round. When the lights finally go from red to green all cars will pass you with an unbelievable noise (still some had no ear protection!!) after which every face turns around to face the huge screens where the first maneuvers at the first view turns will be seen.
Funnily EVERYONE tapes the start of the race. Well, me too! But I see more hands and cameras/mobile phones than race cars.
One of my F1 friends shares my view on another point, which is that in Singapore there are a lot of people who seem to go to an event rather than a F1 race. Many people don't really watch the race or the whole race, but spend time with friends, eat and drink or even just going to concerts and other activities. At other race tracks there are more people who will watch the entire race until it is finished. Here in Singapore it is a constant coming and going (with many people blocking your view). I had one couple in front of me (western and asian) who were engaged in heavy kissing and hugging throughout the race. I think they never even watched a single round!
Well, as the race comes to a close, there will be more people pushing onto the platforms again and as expected my favourite driver won the race, cheered by myself but booed by some unfair sports fans. Whoever you support at a F1 race, no driver should be booed, for anything!
Fireworks in Singapore happens immediately after the winner goes over the finish lane, which some drivers are still on the track. And it is a grand firework!!
As it happened last year but at a different location, some of the parts of the fence will be opened and fans are streaming onto the race track, running down to the pit lane to see the three winners of the race getting their price, showering themselves with Champagne and giving interviews. I was lucky enough to do just that too and got some really nice close-up shots of the stars and myself.
That is really it! After the interviews thousands of people are moving back to either the Padang Stage to see the concert or walking towards the exit gates. Walking on the race track itself is somewhat exciting (and of course I picked up some rubber from the track as most people here do). Besides that it is a faster route out of the race, and brought me faster to the Padang where Rihanna just started her concert, but that is a completely different story, which I posted already.