Formula One -Derland: Abu Dhabi 2014

by Jamie Sanford on December 30, 2014

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It’s been a bit over a month since the last Formula One race of 2014 – my first time attending a race, the last race of the season, etc.

I cannot tell you how much fun we had, how exciting it is, how the sound is NOTHING like what I expected, how watching races on TV is so far removed from the live experience. It was overwhelming and amazing and reverberating through my chest and WOW.

I didn’t take nearly as many photos as I planned because I was doing the right thing and taking it all in.

We arrived at such a time that we would be able to see the driver’s parade at 3:30. The race was scheduled to start at 5. We got there early enough to walk through a large area of shops and food merchants. After some chicken nuggets – yes, I went all the way to Abu Dhabi and had chicken nuggets – we got to watch the podium presentation for the GP2 race that had just finished and start waiting for the F1 action.

Will bought me this in the airport on the way to Abu Dhabi.

Pre-race selfie with William and his brother Andrew.

The biggest downside of going to a race live is that you can’t see the whole track. Luckily there are giant monitors showing the feed that we see on TV to keep updated on the rest of the race.

There was a HUGE contingent of #teamLH at the race, supporting championship leader Lewis Hamilton.

It was Fernando’s last race for Ferrari. He’s off to McLaren with Jenson Button as his teammate!

Ferrari World was viewable through the marina. We didn’t get a chance to go but we will make it back at some point.

Our view to the left, unfortunately blocked, but we could see all the way down the straight. This was the DRS zone going into turn 11, we saw lots of action!

Here’s a distorted panorama of our view. It was the turns in quick succession that were wonderful. Plus, after the hard braking, the guttural sound of the engine hit you square in the chest, which was amazing and intense!

Did I mention the start? It was crazy.

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Here’s my Instagram video from lap 1. The crowd around us REALLY enjoyed Lewis’ blazing start.

Lap 1. The crowd went nuts when we saw the start! #abudhabi #abudhabigp #teamlh #golewis

A video posted by Jamie Sanford (@jamiesanford) on

The transition from day to night was so well done – the track lighting is no joke. It was also noticeably cooler in the desert after the sun went down.

So, after the most insane start, Lewis managed to pull away from Nico quite effectively. Andrew used his phone to get access to a live feed of the team radio transmissions that we were not privy to since we were not watching the race on TV. We knew something was wrong with Nico Rosberg’s car, which was confirmed later. Not the best for him, but ultimately, he and Lewis both finished the season with 3 races in which the car failed. Nico did manage to finish the race, but he was pretty far back as the car had multiple issues. Meanwhile, Lewis’ car wasn’t perfect either. If Felipe Massa had been given a few more laps, it might have been a victorious day for him.

We also watched some amazing moves and passes by Daniel Ricciardo. The Red Bulls had started in the pit lane because of illegal wings on the cars during qualifying, and both drivers did really well. Ricciardo finished 4th, Vettel 7th.

Side note – Formula One cars are BEAUTIFUL in person. It is not something you capture on television, but they are absolutely lovely. My favorites were the Red Bulls, Ferraris, and Caterhams. I really need to make sure I get a pit walk on my next race outing because I need to see them closer than we could from our seats.

As it was, the podium finishers were Hamilton, Massa, and Valtteri Bottas. It was wonderful to watch Lewis’ victory lap and also the podium ceremony. I am not sure that anyone isn’t happy for him, he drove his ass off all season and I think is the clear champion. Nico Rosberg performed in qualifying, but races actually count and Lewis had MANY more victories.

We really did have the best time. It was immediately clear that we would need to start planning to go to more races because this was GREAT. It was capped off by Romain Grosjean driving next to us in a tunnel near the circuit in a random Audi. He must really love to drive to be driving himself away from a race track where he has spent the last 3 days driving. I really hope he has a better season next year.

I don’t know what else to say. I was SO excited to be there, as were my husband and brother-in-law, and I think that the day will forever be clouded by a veil of pure joy. It only cemented my love for the sport. I am already super excited for next season, and am still contemplating if we can make it work to go to the race in Montreal in June.

Thanks to everyone who reads my Formula One-Derland posts!

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Formula One -Derland: Brazil 2014

by Jamie Sanford on November 11, 2014

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Rumors still swirling around Jenson Button and his apparent departure from Formula One. The man is such a joy to watch while driving or being interviewed. His McLaren has sucked the last 2 years, and I hope he will figure out a way to stay in F1. (Source)

Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso takes the sexy beard to new levels of sexy. (Source)

The Mercedes cars qualified 1 and 2, as usual. Lewis Hamilton was in 2nd, and stayed there the whole race. He went off the track a bit on 1 lap and it cost him the win. (Source)

No one cares about Rosberg and Hamilton when a Brazilian is on the podium! Congratulations to Felipe Massa for finishing 3rd and having the best time. (Source)

Interesting stats on qualifying and race performance between teammates. (Source)

Updated with these new results. (Source)

Lewis Hamilton has a 17-point lead in the driver’s championship. Here’s a great image from BadgerGP explaining what the champion result will be based on finishing in the final race. I am so excited to be going!

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Formula One -Derland: United States 2014

by Jamie Sanford on November 4, 2014

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Austin race! Everyone seems to really like going to Texas. I think I might have to go to this race next year.

The week prior to the race was a bit sad when we found out that both the Marussia and Caterham teams had been given permission to miss the next 2 races without penalty fees. Both teams are financially strapped, causing a lot of drama within the smaller teams. The larger teams with more money build better cars, get more points, win championships, which gives them more money to start the process over. Small teams have a much harder time. Hopefully everyone will be back for the race in Abu Dhabi.

Honestly, I almost don’t need to post anything else than this beard shot of Fernando Alonso and Daniel Ricciardo. We are also getting 80s teen movie villain realness from Daniel Kyvat in the back there. (Source)

Lewis Hamilton was on a roll with 4 wins in a row. His teammate Nico Rosberg managed pole position during qualifying, which made me a bit nervous.

Not sure why they have Astroturf on the track like this. Green paint would suffice. (Source)

After an AWESOME race with lots of wheel-to-wheel action (so much better than the boring race in Russia), Lewis won! (Source)

He even stole Mario Andretti’s hat because this year’s podium hats were not Stetsons! Weird. (Source)

Great graphic of the standings after the race in Austin. (Source)

Fernando and his triumphant beard took photos of snakes and squirrels on his jog in Texas. I’m guessing they don’t have those in Spain? (Source)

The race in Brazil is this coming weekend, and the final race of the year is on the 23rd in Abu Dhabi. We will be at the last race so the blog post will be delayed and also probably really long.

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Formula One -Derland: Belgium 2014

by Jamie Sanford on August 26, 2014

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Check out the Formula One wiki for more information.

I skipped a review of the Hungarian race. However, it was pretty awesome. Lewis Hamilton finished third after starting from the pit lane because his car caught fire during qualifying. He keeps showing us over and over how he is one of the best in the field. Here’s the wiki for the race.

Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium is perhaps my favorite track of the year? Check out this amazing elevation change at Eau Rouge. (source)


(source) Here’s Fernando Alonso driving up Eau Rouge. Tragically for him he had a penalty because someone from Ferrari got too close to his car before the start. I think he would have had a podium finish. The guy is so damn talented.

So, it rained during qualifying, and Lewis Hamilton got to get through it without having a car malfunction. His teammate Nico Rosberg managed pole position, with Lewis right behind him. I was already worried, because these two do not get along. Mostly, I have been unimpressed with Nico’s behavior.

(source) During lap 1, Nico tried to pass Lewis, and didn’t quite manage to get around him well enough, and then clipped Lewis’ tire. He broke his own wing, but managed to quickly pull himself to the front since he had punctured Lewis’ tire. Lewis fell back and had to ride a flat back to the pit lane. He never managed to catch up too far and retired later in the race, earning no points. Nico ended up finishing second to Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull, who no one is upset with.

(source) He’s always having a good time!

(source) Results.

The post-race was filled with drama, naturally. Nico Rosberg was booed on the podium because the fans were all convinced he did something shady that knocked Lewis out of the race. Then, we heard from Lewis:

“We just had a meeting about it and he basically said he did it on purpose,” said Hamilton. “He said he could have avoided it. He said ‘I did it to prove a point’. He basically said I did it to prove a point.

“And you don’t have to just rely on me. Go and ask Toto [Wolff] and Paddy [Lowe] who are not happy with him as well.”

“I was gobsmacked when I was listening to the meeting. You need to ask him what point he was trying to make because he just came in there and said it was all my fault.”

Oy. After this, people online questioned the truth of what was said. Awesome Formula One commentator Will Buxton had this:

So the people who were mad at Nico before he admitted to wrongdoing are REALLY pissed now. How unsportsmanlike can you get? We watch drivers go wheel to wheel all the time without hitting each other, these are professionals at the top of their sport who know how to race without putting anyone out for the day. Nico knew exactly what he was doing, and I hope he is severely penalized for it.

Back to racing in Monza in 2 weeks.

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Formula One -Derland: China 2014

by Jamie Sanford on April 22, 2014

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Check out the Formula One wiki for more information.

After the last race in Bahrain was so amazing, it was unlikely this one would be as exciting. It wasn’t, but it wasn’t boring either!

(source) What the hell, Fernando.

(source) After qualifying, the Red Bulls had managed P2 and P3 on the grid, and Lewis Hamilton managed to get on pole again!

(source) This is a great track. Lots of straights for passing with some serious turns.

(source) The start. Watch the white car that darts out on the left and then back to the middle, and you can see the contact between Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso. Luckily, both of them continued on without difficulty.

(source) Lewis took off and was never seen again. Luckily, fighting was happening on the track, including an exchange between the Red Bulls. During the last race, the team told Vettel to let his teammate Ricciardo pass, and he did. However, this time, he asked back which tires Ricciardo was running, and once he found out they were both on the same tires? “Tough luck” was all he said before not letting Ricciardo pass without a fight. As much as it looked like Vettel was showing us a little bit of a friendlier side, it’s clear that he is not totally on board with that.

(source) The other great fight of the race was in Fernando Alonso, who I have enjoyed watching for so long, and the reason that his fans are so into him is because he’s been driving a sub-par Ferrari for years and still giving it everything, and even got a podium result this time!

(source) Go Lewis! Also, thanks for helping me take the lead in our fantasy league.

(source) European races start in a few weeks in Spain!

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