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British Grand Prix, 2009

21 Jun 2009 / in events

Hopes were high at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone this weekend for a British win from Jenson Button. Everywhere I looked Union Jacks flew, banners waved and Jenson T-shirts were sported. There were lots of Lewis fans there too (many of who are also Jenson fans) but we all knew Lewis couldn’t win in that dog of a car. After Jens qualified only fifth on Saturday, and Vettel looked so strong on pole, I think the crowd realised it would be a miracle for Jens to pull off a winning stunt. But everyone cheered, clapped, waved and tooted their airhorns virtually every time he whizzed past. And they did for Lewis, too.

The lights went out and the race began, and before they’d even cleared Becketts less than halfway round the first lap, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel was storming ahead. And by the time the cars reached Stowe corner, where we were seated (with a clear view all the way down the Hangar Straight and as far over as Bridge) Vettel was already pulling clear – almost driving a different race. Barring disasters, Vettel was already the winner, so the interest for me would be what was going on in the dog-fights at the back.

And as ever, Lewis didn’t disappoint. He hounded and nipped at the heels of Kubica, monstered Piquet (pictured below) then later in the race he got into a great scrap with Alonso. They didn’t always show this on the TV coverage, but following it live was wonderful.

Formula One may be the ‘Hollywood’ event, but it is often processional and doesn’t provide the best incident-packed racing. Take GP2 for example, of which there are two support races at the British GP. In Saturday’s GP2 race over 36 action-packed laps, we got wheel-to-wheel dog-fights, thrilling overtakes, prolonged harrying and a life-depends-on-it sense of sheer mad bastardness that F1 all too often sadly lacks.

Take driver Karun Chandhok for example, pictured below, in the blue car in the middle, a local boy from Brackley, His aggression, courage and creativity at the wheel is a sight to behold and makes superb viewing. His persistent monstering of Roman Grosjean was epic! As my husband Moth would say: “this is proper sport, with engines”.

After the F1 qualifying session finished on Saturday, some of the crowd started to leave before the GP2 race had even begun. Moth wondered: ‘what’s wrong with them? Don’t they like motor-racing?’

Another equally thrilling support race run at the Big Prix is the Porsche super cup. Like GP2, it’s got lots of scarily close wheel-to-wheel action, and daring manoeuvres. To see road cars hurtling round the track right o the edge of what’s possible for them to do is wonderful entertainment. And even if you don’t know much about this class of racing, the track commentators are so informative and entertaining, you soon become gripped.

Finally, with all the media chatter about how marvellous Silverstone is (and it certainly is conveniently close to us) there is something seriously inconvenient about the so-called ‘home of British motor-racing’. The ‘conveniences’. They are simply appalling in their sheer lack. For the whole of Stowe corner, which must house perhaps 5,000 spectators, perhaps 35% or more of which are women, there are just 14 ladies’ loos. What a pile of shite, Silverstone!

Photos: Moth Clark

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