Thank you to all you who took the time to submit you McLaren Fan Blogs.
Congratulations to Neil Hopkins from Nottingham (UK), whose blog we have chosen. Enjoy...!
I used to follow Formula 1 from a distance, taking in the races with interest, but without a desire to see a particular team or driver win. However the 11th July 1999 was a day that would quite literally change Sunday afternoons for the rest of my life.
After making the journey to the Silverstone circuit from my home in Nottingham with my friends the night before, I was looking forward to seeing my first grand prix. Perhaps not as excited about it as my friends but they had been to Silverstone several times before! We entered the circuit, replenished our supply of drinks and took our seats ready for the action. The atmosphere was already incredible. The stands were adorned with flags, banners and messages of support. The passion for the sport was obvious.
We started chatting to the people sat beside us, who had come down from Scotland to support McLaren's David Coulthard. They had camped out for days to get these seats as it had always been their dream to attend the British Grand Prix in order to see their hero. This was not just a race, but something they had been gearing up to for months.
I don't remember too much about the race except for the problems that Schumacher and Häkkinen had, but it was the sight, the sounds and the feelings I experienced as the McLaren of David Coulthard drove past on his way to winning. The atmosphere was electric.
The fascination with McLaren from the fans and my friends – which I had struggled to comprehend before the start of the race – now made perfect sense. The emotion and the love of the sport was infectious and I had caught the bug! That day in July 1999, really did ignite a fire in me, which is still burning!