Sunday, 15 May 2016


It was race day, full of chills and spills and thrills.

It started early, with a serious crash in the GP2 race in front of us, so serious that the GP2 driver was taken off in a stretcher.
A smoking tire 
Off he goes. Hope he's OK.

It continued with the Porsche race, where 3 guys tried to go into a corner where 2 would barely fit.
NOT the guys involved. Imaging this corner, 3 cars side by side. The skid marks tell the result 
Stranded in the gravel trap
The gravel traps at Barcelona are good at catching cars. The Porsche was stuck. A Nissan 4X4 came to tow him out and almost got stuck.
Let's pull him out backwards 
Whoops. Stuck. 
How about forwards?
Finally they called in the heavy artillery. 
"The crane, boss! The crane!" 
A pick up artist 
A dangerous job. A track worker in Montreal was killed doing this
In Montreal, the driver parade has each driver in the back of an Austin Healy convertible. Here, it's Indy-style on the back of a semi.
The semi arrives 
The drivers look bored
After they passed, a small black F1 van pulled up. Out popped local sensation, Spaniard Carlos Sainz, who's cheering section was right next to our grandstand.

It's... a driver!!! 
With handlers! 
Getting interviewed!
Then another black van pulled up, and a guy jumped out, ran over, and put a Spanish flag on Sainz. It was Fernando Alonso.
Need a bathroom? 
Wow! He waves!! 
An actually good photo.
Alas, it was time to leap back in the van and race off.
Alonso can run!
Yeah, back to the race.

The race started. Teammates Hamilton and Rosberg crashed in the 6th corner, taking each other out, breaking Rule #1 (never take out you and your teammate); the crash occurred before they even got to our corner. The rest of the race was a see-saw battle between the two Red Bull drivers and the two Ferrari drivers. A Force India caught on fire in front of us.
The video looked like he had afterburners on coming through our corner
With ~10 laps to go, it was Red Bull (Verstappen) -- Ferrari (Raikonnen) -- Ferrari (Vettel) -- Red Bull (Ricciardo), with all 4 cars within seconds of each other.
All 4 cars in one shot on lap ~58
Ricciardo was catching Vettel and I was sure he was going to pass him, then his tire blew, and came off right in front of us.
What's wrong with this picture?
The race was won by Verstappen, his first ever win in his first ever race with Red Bull (he was promoted from their junior Torro Rosso team last week). And he's 18, making him (1) the youngest ever driver to race F1 when he started last year; (2) the youngest ever driver to win an F1 race; (3) the youngest ever driver to be on a podium at all and (4) the youngest driver ever to lead a lap in F1. So I'm sure there was a party in his pits tonight.

After the race, us and about 5,000 people stopped off track for a beer (the track is alcohol free). The beer was good. The BBQ looked better.
The beer tent. 
One of the places to eat. Paella on the lower right, BBQ in the centre

Then we went back to the train via the busy party streets of Montmelo...
The route to the train 
Parties on the street 
Yes, ALL drinks -- including beer -- were €1
Now, see the trees in the photo above? That crowd? That crowd is the line to get on the train to Barcelona. From the start, it was 75 m to the trees...
How many people?
...then around the corner, where it was 150 m to the station...
More people!
...then a double line to get into the station, then a massed crowd to get through the ticket machines, then a plug to get down the stairs, then a bottleneck to get along the platform.

But we made it.

We got home and came out of the metro station to find a crowd bigger than we left at the track.
What? Paral.lel is solid people!
Well, as my friend Edwin reminded me recently, Europeans take their soccer seriously. FCB (Football Club of Barcelona) just won the LLiga Champions Cup. Today was their victory parade, which started at the waterfront ~1 km from here, and took 2 hrs just to get to us.
Their bus, still 4 block or about 500 m away 
I love this shot 
Looking the other direction, towards Place d'Espanya 
They're actually getting closer, but the crowd is getting bigger 
The police "breaking trail", making space for the bus 
The team. Lionel Messe is on the other side, unfortunately 
And off they go
I swear to goodness there were close to 1,000,000 people on Paral.lel, and I am not exaggerating at all. There were 87,600 people on the track today.

That's a lot of parties.

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