Friday, November 13, 2015

AUSTIN 2014: "The Nico & Lewis Show" Rolls On...

Tomaso, Claudio and "Friends" breathlessly watch the A-L-L conquering Renault powered Red Bull F1 car scream by in Downtown Austin last year. (The Tomaso Collection)
It's funny thinking how much the Grid's changed in one year's time, with Seb' Vettel replacing Fernando, and Alonso replacing Kevin "Bacon" Magnussen, who's just broken his hand! While sadly two Tail-gunner Charlie's, i.e.; Caterham & Marussia were missing from the grid - giving us a paltry 18-runners. Whilst Karmically, I'd just met one representative team driver apiece at Buxton's Big-time Bash, nee Marcus Ericsson & Alexander Rossi...

Fri, 10/31: Halloween!
First of 3-Dazes at the Circuit Of The Americas racetrack, where Claudio' & Mwah watched the 2 90min F1 Free Practice sessions before taking Shuttle bus back to Downtown. As sadly, and STUPIDLY! This great Alternative Transportation option, vs. everybody driving their automobiles continues seeing its price increase each year - gouging the race fans more 'N more! As I've just read it'll be $25 per day again this year; SHEISA!

In a pre-cursor of this year's grid, an even younger? Max "Dutchboy" Verstappen and Felipe Nasr drove in (Free Practice) FP1 session for Scuderia Toro Rosso and Team Willy', aka Williams respectively. As we know that Verstappen's a Toro Rosso race driver, while Nasr's joined Marcus Ericsson at Sauber after their very messy divorce with "Guido-the-Dutchman!"


Met an amazing gentleman who came all the way from Belfast, Ireland to attend the F1 race. The amazing part? He was alone in a motorized wheelchair and had a speech impairment, for which he didn't talk much, but opened-up when I asked him if he had a favourite team/driver? And he made my day by saying Red Bull,  but NOT Vettel,  Daniel Ricciardo instead, as Mark Webber was his favourite driver and he'd really wanted to come last year...

Then Nelie came Downtown 'N met us to go to Austin's Fan Fest where we caught the end of The Flying Balalaika Bros, a Russian music group who were all dressed up in costumes.

Nelie took lots of pictures  of racecars for Mwah and we stayed and  listened to "Heavy Petty," a local Tom Petty cover-band who were very good, as I didn't realize Tom Petty had so many hit songs!

Then, even though I'd really wanted to hear the "Hello Kitty" Cats from Japan David Bowie cover-band, it was going to be another 45mins set-up time + hour+ concert and I was shivering due to my FREAKIN' STUPID cold I picked up Thurs evening or on Aeroplanes to Austin, Tuesday? Although I still think I got I-T at Buxton's Big-time Bash, since the AIR was really nasty in there, albeit NOT nearly as Narly as Singapore's, but nonetheless, a very stale, foul air! So instead of waiting around as mentioned & getting home some two hours plus later, we left the venue and went home, thankfully!

For some assorted pictures from Austin Fan Fest & Buxton's Big-time Bash, see;

Sat, Nov 1st
Now with a full-on feverish cold, Clyde & I went to track for second day, this time with Nelie driving us to & from COTA; with Saturday being the coolest day of entire week, with temperature in low 60's, (Fahrenheit) as I think 63 was the high, which was some 20+ degrees cooler than when I arrived.

Arrived for the 1hr FP3 (Free Practice) session "Justin-time" & stayed thru 'Qualie, i.e.; qualifications; 3 sessions of 18, 15 & 12mins apiece, with just four runners apiece being eliminated from the miniscule field of 18-cars before the Top-10 Shootout - where my hopeful race winner Brittany, aka Nico Rosberg finally stepped-up his "A Game" by breaking Lewis's stranglehold of leading 10-straight sessions when finally besting him in Qualie' Q2.

As won't it be nice when there's 22-cars on the grid next year when Haas F1 arrives! Although it appears the Salad Days 'O 26 Benefited runners On-track are long gone...

Then Rosberg  continued walking the walk, after saying he had more in hand, time wise, before besting his rival Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton for pole.

As its pretty amazing how the two drivers have completely "Flip-flopped" in qualifying results this year. As Nico totally dominated en route to the inaugural most Pole positions award (P1) last year - whilst Lewis has already sown I-T up this season...

Then I wisely stayed home rest of day, first taking a long afternoon nap, then going to bed early while Clyde went back to Austin Fan Fest for headliner Joan Jett & The Blackhearts late that evening...

Close-up 'N Personal with Ferrari F1 Showcar. (The Tomaso Collection)
Sun, 11/2
Race-day Baby! And we got UP an hour early, even after I'd told Claudio & Nelie multiple times about the "Fall Back" time change the night prior. Lazed around before leaving for just the Pre-race activities, as we were there before the Driver's Parade and then although a tad bit boorish race for the overall win, a delightful 'Mega Scrum for the middle places which saw lots of good  battles over positions 5-thru-12, albeit, as Y'all know only down to tenth place pays F1 championship points,

I vaguely recall lotso' good "iecking" between  midfield runners, i.e.; Button, Alonso, Raikkonen, etc w/lots of  back 'N forth action occurring thru our (Turn) T11 corner, before Rosberg, who'd been leading from the start was apparently Asleep at the Wheel as Hamilton serenely passed him into T12, which was  the turn foling the long straightaway DRS  zone after our T11 vantage point.

As  the WRONG driver won! Although Lewis Hamilton made history by becoming the most winningest British driver in Formula 1 history (that day) by scoring his fifth race victory in-a-row and 32nd  overall, eclipsing Sir Nige', 1992 F1 world champion Nigel Mansell's tally of 31 career Grand Prix victories from '94.

(Photos Courtesy of Austin Hostess Nelie)