So, which was better? Actually, each has its pros and cons. While the campsite (Spa d'Or) was a lot closer to the track, public transport connections weren't that great (and the campsite's own shuttle was exorbitantly priced), so it still took a long time to go there and back on Thursday and Friday. Driving in on Saturday and Sunday was actually pretty hassle-free, but it took at least an hour just to get out of the carpark after the race on Sunday. It actually turned out to be a lot of fun getting to pick our spots to watch the different practice sessions and the race, and we saw a lot more of the track than we had in the grandstand. The disadvantage was you had to arrive really early to get the best spots. On raceday, we woke up about 6.10 and were at the track before 7.30, all to watch a race that didn't begin until 2 pm! (And trust me, it got pretty crowded pretty early.)
The people at the campsite basically told us there was no way to get to the track on Thursday afternoon for the pitlane walk/autograph session. We suspect they might have been withholding some information about the bus routes in order to promote their own shuttle service (which wasn't running that day), but luckily since we had been in 2013 we remembered that there was a bus line that ran along the main road, about a 20-minute walk uphill from the campsite. We weren't sure if it would be running at a good time, but we thought we'd take our chances rather than just sit around the camp doing nothing.
|The bonus being that I finally got a proper picture with the famous "Drink Drive in Tiège" sign (Bernie says...)|
Other than that, things were calm, but man were there a lot of people in the pitlane. It was basically impossible to move or to see anything once the popular drivers started coming out. Unfortunately, I lost my Dad and he stuck in a spot where he managed to get some photos of Nico Rosberg (boo) and even saw Lewis Hamilton (sob!) I only managed sightings of Marcus Ericsson, Arrivabene (Ferrari team boss) and Sebastian Vettel.
|Marcus Ericsson having a good time in the car|
|I hoped to see something of the Mercedes garage, but it was impossible, and I was very uncomfortably shoved up against a fence too|
|So I moved on to Ferrari and managed to catch a few glimpses of Vettel through the crowd (wearing the cap in the middle)|
|Standing on hallowed ground|
On Friday, after watching practice, we managed to get royally lost out in the Belgian countryside. We had already done a ton of walking around the track, watching FP1 and 2 from different vantage points around Pouhon and also checking out the area around Les Combes, and my cellphone died after recording nearly 12 km of walking. We got so lost that I think we added at least another 5 km on to that, downhill thankfully, so by the time we got back to camp we were exhausted and filthy, it being a very hot day too!
|The countryside around the track is quite pretty though!|
|Another beautiful day|
|A Lotus spinning at the corner|
|Quite proud of this pre-race panorama|
|The crowd on the hill|
|Showing off my Mercedes cap|