Team McLaren Fan Blog: Santander British Grand Prix 2014
Hello there and welcome to my blog on the 2014 Santander British GP. I would like to start with a bit about myself. I've been a McLaren fan for a fair few years now, mainly thanks to their rich history in F1 and their impressive driver line ups over the years. What really impressed me the most is when I got the huge privilege of going on a tour of MTC! That place is like a different world. Trophies galore and an opportunity to see all their old race winning cars. This is a must recommend to any die hard McLaren fan out there.
For the first time since I've been going to Silverstone I had arrived on a Thursday. Silverstone had offered a free pit walk to any 3 day pass holders. I couldn't believe it when they had announced this, the first thing I wanted to do was go see the McLaren garage up close and see where the action happens. We arrived around 8:30am; the queue was already huge with the gates opening at 10am. As the queue moved through and the gates opened we started our very first walk in to the pits at Silverstone. It was like Christmas had come early. The first thing I wanted to do and did was go straight for the McLaren garage. Being so close to the cars and the mechanics up close was something I never imagined. It was fantastic and naturally proceeded to take at least 50-100 photos! At this moment I also got the news I never expected, a tweet from @TeamMcLaren asking if I would like to be the official blogger for the British GP. I couldn't believe it, I instantly said yes, what an honour it was, not only to be asked to do that but to do it for our home grand prix was unbelievable. The day ended with us making our way to the International Pit Straight for a special SkyF1 show involving drivers. To my surprise I didn't expect Kevin to be part of this. What a great sport he was too, they had set up a penalty shoot out on the track for the drivers to take on. Kevin took it on indeed! It was great to see.
We got up and arrived at the track fairly early. I wanted to take full advantage of being the official blogger and made it my goal to do the best possible job. The first thing I wanted to do was arrange a meet up with some fellow McLaren fans on Twitter. I hadn't met any of these before so this was kind of nervous for me. We decided the meet point should be the F1 village. Around 12pm @Smceneaneyril (Sarah) @Sareyware (Sarah) @Dinalli (Andy) had arrived and I instantly knew I had nothing to be nervous about. They were a lovely bunch of people and great McLaren fans too. We spent some time talking and having some laughs. Got to say McLaren fans are the best without doubt! The Friday ended watching FP2 in the sun at Stowe, I've never watched a session from there before and have to say that there is a great view of the action. I got to see plenty of Jenson & Kevin; the only downside was I ended up very sunburnt, all worth it to see the team and F1 on the track.
Saturday started off with rain, rain and more rain. Based on the last few days we thought we might avoid the rain this year, clearly I had forgotten this is England and at some point during the British GP it rains! FP3 was wet through with not much running involved. We had made our way to the International Pit Straight to watch this and qualifying as we thought it could be the best place to see some action. Come qualifying we were glad we made this choice. The qualifying session was one of the best I personally have witnessed at the British GP. It had everything. Jenson and Kevin had made it in to Q3 and I just hoped they qualify in a good position without any incidents. The rain was on and off throughout. With only a couple of minutes left of the session I thought it was over. The rain had just started again and it looked too damp to improve on previous times. To most people's surprise all the cars headed out. Jenson had looked on it all of the qualifying so we had our fingers crossed he may be able to sneak a place or two up the grid. As the chequered flag fell we watched in anticipation. Lewis Hamilton went straight in to the pits (at the time we didn't know why) and next round the final few corners was Jenson, he was flying, but from the seats we had we couldn't see what time or what place he had got. Kevin soon followed with what looked a quicker time. It took us a few moments to realise what had happened. Jenson qualified in 3rd!! Me and many thousands were up and cheering. I couldn't believe it, so much joy and emotion over that especially it being #PinkForPapa weekend too. I don't even think Jenson could quite believe it. But for that moment McLaren were up at the top of the grid, it was fantastic, no doubt the team was elated. There was such a good vibe in the stand and when I found out Kevin qualified 5th as well it got even better. By the end of the day I had pretty much lost my voice through cheering and screaming. It was a fantastic moment for all McLaren fans.
After all the fun and excitement of Saturday race day arrived pretty quickly. Today was all about one man, John Button, to show support towards Jenson and his family McLaren had designed these #PinkForPapa shirts for us all to wear. They were a huge hit. From where I was sat nearly all of the people around me had either one of these shirts or was wearing something pink. What a sight it was, Jenson must have been overwhelmed by how positive it all was and how many people actually got involved with it. Today was all about Jenson. Our support from the very first minute was huge! Big cheers for Jenson every time he passed us, our air horn couldn't cope with all the McLaren support and soon just gave up. I had every possible finger crossed Jenson could get a podium. What a drive it was from him, sadly he couldn't quite make 3rd spot, we were all naturally gutted but at the same time ecstatic. He drove an amazing race for himself, for John and for McLaren, you couldn't have asked much more from him. As an ex driver of McLaren we were also delighted to see Lewis win the race, he drove superbly throughout, but I wouldn't give driver of the day to him, Call me biased but I would give it Jenson. The team have struggled this season through various things but somehow Jenson drove out of this world to bring the car home in 4th, keeping the likes of Alonso and Vettel behind him. This was a great day for the team, both cars finishing in the top 10, a big haul of points and a very happy fan to see the team giving it their all. Win or lose for me I'll always cheer McLaren on. Always #BelieveInMcLaren
Top Tips for the British GP.
Expect the unexpected when it comes to the weather at Silverstone. From your wellies to your sun cream all types of clothing is needed because you never know what the weather will bring.
If you’re a big fan of camping this is the place to do it. There is always some form of entertainment set up for fans to enjoy, there is plenty of amazing fans to chat all about F1 and the atmosphere is fantastic.
Look out for the Red Arrows on race day. Just before the race starts the Red Arrows put on a superb air display for the fans. It is a must watch, with plenty of stunts and loud noises, this is not to be missed!
Visit local pubs and restaurants. Many a F1 fan visit places like The White Horse over the weekend. It always has a good vibe and plenty of friendly people to talk about F1.
Arrive in plenty of time. If you are driving to the track each day the roads can become very congested so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get there so there is no rushing about. They also do park and rides which can make life easier.
Do a walk of the track. I highly recommend doing this, it gives you the opportunity to see one of the most historic tracks from all angles. Whether it is from Becketts or Club you will get some great views of the cars flying around this track.
After the race on Sunday be sure to head towards the main stage in the F1 village for the after party. With special guests and appearances from the drivers it is a perfect end to a perfect weekend. Plenty of fun, jokes and entertainment make it is worth staying for after the race is over.