Monday, June 9, 2008

The race and beyond.

Okay, sorry for the late update. I've actually been home for about 18 hours now. The race ended and we headed straight for the car and onto the highway.

Soooo..... We awaken for race day. Excitement fills the air. Make the Monreal Bus/Train trip to Ile Notre Dame.

We decided to walk towards the hairpin for a hopefully fantastic vantage point. We come up to a clearing next to the straight between turn 9 and the hairpin. Seems like a decent spot. We figured we could check a little harder for a super awesome spot. We come to an opening right at the braking point for the hairpin. You can see the cars dive down the straight into the hairpin under hard braking, make the turn and catapult out the other side. Plus, there are huge screens within viewing distance. Seems like a sweet spot but there are lots of people here. There are people that have apparantly been here for hours before us. We ended up watching the parade lap and the first few laps of the race from the first spot. Cool, yet not cool enough. Just a quick glimpse of the cars as they pass.

Here's a video of the entire field passing on lap 2 from that spot.


video

We walk back down to the spot at the hairpin. Much better. You get to experience every sound an F1 car can make. Full throttle near top speeds, heavy braking and downshifting (the backfiring when decelerating is a great sound, you don't get to hear that on tv), low speed cornering and full throttle exit. This spot is awesome! Plus, don't forget the screen! The screen kept us updated on things we couldn't see (like Hamilton rear ending Raikkonen in the pitlane, that SOB)

Here's a shot of our view complete with a view of the entirely sold out grandstands...
(Notice the number on the braking marker. Yes, that's how late they can brake.)



It may not look like much but it's just what we wanted.

Here's a video of the speeds they were passing us at. Mind you, the cars were probably no more than 15 feet away. If you listen when the hairpin is empty, you can hear the cars coming out of the chicane down the straight.


video

Here's a video of the cars coming back out of the hairpin. Again, it may not look like much but you could see all you needed.


video

Well, like I said, once the race was over we headed straight for home. The drive was relatively uneventful. Oh! Except for the gas station near the US border where I asked if there was a washroom inside and the guy pointed to the building next door and told me through the glass doors and up the stairs. Seemed odd, the building next door was dark and appeared closed. Upon entering, I could hear a television playing loudly. Up the stairs, the was a room with a huge tv playing some movie and there was no one around. Well, on the way out of the washroom I find that the movie is actually pornography. Hmm... I head out to the car and Eric goes to use the washroom as well. He comes back....

"Did you see the porn....."

"Yeah, lets get outta here"

After that, nothing else happened. Some rain and I almost fell asleep a couple times.

All in all, the trip was outstanding and I can't wait to do it again next year.

Thanks to all for reading. Huge congrats to Robert Kubica and Team BMW Sauber, big WTF to Lewis Hamilton and all my condolences to Kimi Raikkonen.

Johnams

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Team Ferrari

video

Post-qualifying

Alright, we're back.

We walked the mall for some more monopoly money and a couple of bottles of water.

YA RLY!
Remember Clearly Canadian?  That was good stuff.

Trains in Montreal have tires.

  After we made use of Montreal's public transportation system, we arrived at the circuit.  It was quite a walk to find a decent vantage point and it was blazing hot, near 90 and totally clear.  I suppose it beats the thunderstorms that were forecast.  Lemme tell ya, all of this was well worth it.  F1 in person totally blows away F1 on tv.  Seeing these cars first-hand is absolutely amazing.  Eric and I were giggling like idiots the entire time, and this is only qualifying.

Here are some shots.





Not sure if you can tell in the picture, but Mark Webber's definitely throwing countersteer into this slide.  Shortly after, he spun at the exit and piled the right front corner into the wall.


Poor Mark Webber, he was going pretty damn fast too.  Oh well, he'll pick it up tomorrow.  I have faith in him.

I have more shots but they're pretty much more of the same.  I'll see yas.

Johnams

Friday, June 6, 2008

Downtown

Drove to downtown Montreal.  It's a pretty sweet place, tons of people out.  Lots of fancy cars (360 Modena, F430, Lamborghinis) and even more fancy people.  There was a bunch of sections of the city that were blocked off for what looked like some sort of festival.  We didn't want to stay out to late and we couldn't find any parking so we didn't get to check em out.  Tomorrow.  We drove over to the Casino de Montreal on Ile Notre Dame at the center of Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.  We weren't able to walk around but it's super cool looking.

Random blocked road
You probably can't see but we were driving behind a Vodaphone Mclaren Mercedes transport vehicle.
Crossing the bridge to Ile Notre Dame and pulling up to Casino de Montreal.
Casino de Montreal
Post trip meal.
The McDonalds logo in Canada has a maple leaf on it.  Picture of Eric pointing out this fact mid chew.
I'll have updates after qualifying tomorrow.

Johnams

Culture shock

So we woke up around 5 and slummed around the hotel like all day.  We decided to walk to the mall that is in the same lot as the hotel.  Not a single familiar store.  Not a single familiar language.

I was having a problem with my iPhone, so we stopped at the Apple store so I could ask about it, completely not realizing that Canada never got the iPhone.  It's strange when someone walks up to you and greets you in french and you can just respond in english and the conversation would continue as normal, in complete perfect english.  Well, this guy sure knew a lot about the iPhone when he said that he knew nothing about the iPhone.  Definitely owns an unlocked iPhone.  Long story short, problem solved.

We head to the food court and I decide on a ham sandwich.  The guy tells me minimum $10 on a card so I have to hit an atm.  I put in my card, ask for $20 and receive Monopoly money.  Hmmm, we'll see.  I use the Monopoly money for my sandwich.  It totally works!

After completing the transaction (in which I received more Monopoly money) the guy asks me where I'm from.  US.  Which country?  Um, I assume he means state so I respond Illinois.

California?

Illinois.

Confused look.

Chicago.

Oh!  The conversation then moves to a discussion on politics.  Notably, who will win the presidential election.  Weird.

Eric and I are going to make our way to downtown Montreal now, camera in hand.  See ya then.

Johnams

The hotel

We walk into the lobby and up to the desk.  Eric and I are kinda nervous about the whole French thing.  The woman behind the counter smiles and says "Bonjour!" I respond with "Nope!" She speaks perfect english.  What a relief.  The room's pretty sweet.  Especially considering it was one of the better deals in the area.  Okay, I'm gonna sleep now.




Into Quebec

Things are starting to get more French.  Signs and so forth.

No one's on the road.  I'm nearing pass out mode.  I suggest Eric sleeps in case I don't make it.  Unfortunately, driving with no company drives me further to passing out.  I'm determined to make the entire drive.

An errant run onto the rumble strip awakens Eric as it's getting light.  Can't appreciate a sunrise due to overcast skies.  Random and senseless conversation and bear searching keeps me awake.

We see this...

The welcome to Quebec sign.   I have to make it to the hotel now.

All road signs are entirely French now.  We pass the time learning French so I know how to obey appropriate traffic laws in construction zones.  Luckily some are pictorial.

It's drizzling slightly and there are more cars on the road.  People headed to work.  French looking people.

It's 7AM locally and we hit morning rush hour from the surrounding suburbs of Montreal.  Great, that'll keep me awake.  Traffic moves rather quickly and before I knew it (because I was zoning out here and there) we are approaching the hotel.

I see this...

I don't know what it says so I just keep driving.  Someone starts honking.  French people have short tempers.  Or maybe they knew me or something.  I don't know anyone in Canada though.