I’m an early riser.
In the summer, I’m up with the sun, which often means 5 and 6am starts no matter what time I go to bed. But even I couldn’t be bothered to check out FP1 and FP3 at this year’s Canadian Grand Prix because, well, I would’ve had fuck all to do between the morning and afternoon sessions. I wasn’t about to watch CTCC or Ferrari Challenge. I’m not that old.
So I headed to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for FP2 and Qualifying, the afternoon sessions of the 2014 Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal. My mornings were spent at Les Trésors de Napolean at the Crypt of the Notre-Dame Basilica not 50m from my apartment and Marco Polo – An Epic Journey at the Montréal Museum of Archaeology and History just around the corner. The latter exhibit was sublime, one of the best displays of curations I’ve seen in some time. The former was utter shit, with a paltry display of artefacts and no storytelling ability to speak of.
But enough arts and farts, let me share with you some photos and videos of my first F1 experience!
FP2: Friday June 6, 2014
Once I’d taken the ferry from Montreal’s Old Port to the island where the race was held, I had to find my seats… To the left!
Here’s the view from my seat at Turn 10, known as “the hairpin” or “l’épingle.” Given that I had no idea what I was doing and didn’t ask for anyone’s advice, I’m pretty happy with this choice!
My hunched seatmates…
FP2 underway… Hey look! Nico! Note the turquoise gloves.
The Mercedes-enginged Williams cars aren’t as attractive as the chrome Mercs but the retro Martini livery goes a long way. Curiously, there was absolutely zipzerozilch Williams Martini merchandise available on-site. After searching every single shop in the city, I found a single Martini hat at a shop on St. Paul Street in Old Montreal. I would’ve sprung the $70 for it but 1) that’s actually stupid money and I’m not that Bitcoin rich yet, and 2) it didn’t fit over my increasingly prominent Jewfro. So.. yeah.
While all of the cars sounded like the wild-eyed offspring of a jet fighter and a Pagani Huayra, the Ferrari and Mercedes sounded even more intoxicating than the rest. Before this weekend, I’d never heard an F1 car in person, so I really can’t speak to “those good ol’ days,” which is a good thing because I already do that too much anyways in pretty much every other domain. This is what reading classics and philosophy gets you. My poor wife… (for the record, she stayed home)
This’d be Turns 6 and 7 where, if memory serves, Jensen Button passed Seb Vettel on the last lap of the Grand Prix in 2011. I’m pretty sure Jim witnessed this live. The lucky sod.
Here are Turns 7 and 8, occupied by a Sauber, a Caterham and a MEDICAL MERCEDES GL.
Speaking of emergencies, this is what a Montreal fire truck looks like.
Back at Turn 10, I took a little video…
The badass W05 sounds like a Messershmitt, neh?
Qualifying: Saturday June 7, 2014
With fewer clouds in the sky, I donned more sunscreen for Saturday’s 1:00pm Qualifying session.
Somehow, though I’d been unable to during FP2, I made it through to the south end of Île Notre-Dame, through the “General Admission Only” gates, despite having grandstand seats at the other end of the track. Not sure if yesterday was the oddity or today was but I made the most of the opportunity, winding my way past the Casino de Montreal in search of new lands.
Right beside the Casino de Montreal and right along the Quai is the long, sweeping Turn 12. Note the crew of flag-waivers and other mysteriously official figures.
Not a bad look at Lotus’ poorly performing but sweetly twin-tusked E22. According to Mr. Scarbs, these tusks act as “a wing mount and turning vane solution.” So now you know.
I kept winding my way around the track towards the start/finish line. This is what the back on those grandstands looks like. Under a tree there, I found myself some shade and a reprieve from the sun’s rays.
Finally, Nico took pole and the crowd loved it! On the right, you can see where the trophies will be presented on Sunday. I’ll likely be at the other end of the track at that time so this shot’ll have to do!
Smartly, certainly in hindsight and up until this exact moment, I decided to join Team Nico before Qualifying. Proof:
— CarEnvy.ca (@autobusiness) June 6, 2014
I still think Nico crafted his victory in Monaco two weeks ago with that little run-off in Qualifying, but hey, he earned this Pole.
The crowds’ cheers could even be heard over the serene sounds of water flowing and birds singing around Turn 5.
Heading back towards Parc Jean Drapeau and my ferry port, there was Nico’s grinning mug, 12 feet off the ground. As the first non-Vettelian and non-Hamiltonian on Pole since 2006, Nico definitely deserves to smile in the general direction of Buckminster Fuller’s iconic geodesic dome.
There’ll be a separate post for the race tomorrow. If three posts in three days after a 5 months sabbatical isn’t too confusing for you…
[Photo credits: author]