Thursday, November 19, 2015

USGP: Neither Mud nor Rain can stop the Fans from witnessing an Entertaining Race at COTA during 2015 F1 weekend




The Red Bull Racing F1 drivers entertained the crowd as best they could: Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat made a particularly special effort during Saturday's Wash-out at Circuit Of The Americas! (Source: f1fanatic.co.uk)

After two straight days of heavy rain, the weather finally cooperated for the Formula 1 Circuses biggest show with plenty 'O action, even a few passes for the lead...


Sunday, Oct 25
With qualifying having been cancelled the day prior, Qualie' got moved to Sunday morning - which Nelie graciously drove us to and dropped us off at the track to stand in the RAIN some more!

And thanks to Carlos Sainz Jr. for which I discerned as Claudio and Mwah were seated in a packed shuttle van making its way to the circuit's various corners. From somebody's Smartfone broadcast behind us, we basically only missed the first 4mins of Q1 when the Toro Rosso driver clouted the wall causing a Red Flag stoppage period.

As the funniest part of the whole weekend was standing there in the rain and telling Claudio the cars sounded like they were off to the far right of me, that's because they were. As you're looking the wrong way Tomaso!

Most impressively though was Daniel Ricky' Ricciardo's pace in Q1 as the Aussie ended the session quickest ahead of the mighty Silver Arrows, albeit everybody's lap times were nearly 20-seconds adrift due to the constant precipitation.

It was ok standing in the rain, now adorned in my vintage "Fly Yellow" raingear last worn at Portland International Raceway during thy Champ Car Dazes! Having sagely taken said ancient rain gear with me at the last moment - wearing one final time before retiring them, since the waistband NO longer worked, etc. As Claudio said when I told him to hold up when leaving from Qualie: Your Pants are Falling Down; Hya!

As we stood at Turn-11 again thru Q2 while the rain got harder and the wind began Ah-blowing! As guess what? They cancelled the final portion 'O qualifying, i.e.; Q3, the Top-10 Shootout for Pole!

Thus, the remaining 15-competitors were locked into their Q2 finishing order with Nico Rosberg on top for his (then) third consecutive Pole, followed by Lewis Hamilton and then the two B-I-G' BULLZ, nee Red Bulls with Ricciardo leading team-mate DK, nee Rooskie' Daniil Kvyat, with the Milton Keynes Boyz starting ahead of both Scuderia Ferrari's, Force India, Team Willy' and thy rest 'O grid.


Then struggling back towards the Drop-off Parking lot area whilst holding up my pants! Nelie picked up the Drowned Rats & took us home to dry off, change socks, etc. Eat lunch and then turn back ground and attend the race which took place in the DRY; Hurrah!

As we set out casually late for the race, as our first parking lot was closed like many due to being flooded. For which I thought it was well done having somebody on duty to provide us with a flyer giving directions to our new assigned parking lot. Unfortunately, after driving past the High School replete with an F4U Phantom Jet denoting  the school's entrance - we discovered our secondary parking lot was full. As Y'all need to go to the High School; CRIKEYS!

There we, along with many other stragglers boarded one of the numerous School Bus Shuttles, as I'd forgotten how cozy its riding in seats designed for K-12 Students with my knees firmly stuffed into the seatback and NO room to move my arms with Claudio pinning me in!

The intrepid Tomaso & Claudio prepare to tackle the elements Sunday morning at COTA! (The Tomaso Collection)
Naturally we were late to the race, sadly missing the start and first 25mins approx before finally arriving at our favourite Turn-11 vantage point. Standing at the back of the Queue, I yelled voraciously my approval of Ricciardo's pass of Hamilton for the lead, albeit I feared it wouldn't last after inquiring if the track was forming a dry line?

Unfortunately it was; Oh Crap! As there goes the race as far as I was concerned. As its truly a pity these days that there's only two true competitors with the Silver Arrows (Mercedes) being virtually unbeatable. Whilst la Scuderia's (Ferrari) Sebastian Vettel seems the only driver able to give them any competition.

Yet if I remember right, Vettel uncharacteristically spun-off at the T11-12 complex directly in front of us, or was that in Qualie? As the German raced  his way onto the podium from a 13th place start after Ferrari elected to switch Power Units to their Monza-spec PU which made sense since Austin has longish straights and Mexico was certainly a power circuit with its monstrous three-quarter mile front straight! As this change incurred both Ferrari drivers 10-place Grid slot penalties...

Thy undisputed ROY (Rookie Of the Year) Max "Dutchboy" Verstappen came home an excellent P4, tying his best finish to date while Sergio Perez was a fine fifth en route to his  home race the following week.


While American F1 rookie Alexander Rossi acquitted himself quite well at home, even flirting with a possible point scoring finish! Yet it wasn't to be with the likes of double world champion Fredrico Suave, nee Fernando Alonso soldiering home 11th. Although not too sure how "Suave" Fernando is these Days, whilst Rossi finished P12...


And won't even get started on the MUD, other than it was everywhere! With Claudio being kind enough to scoop my entirely caked sneakers globules off for future Mud-bogging adventures whilst thoust 'Ol banana yellow rain pants kept my jeans protected while I got mud everywhere else - as we first slithered our way onto the waterlogged grass to watch the race from lawn chairs - as the MUD threatened to suck off my shoes if I didn't keep moving!

After hauling ourselves out of the sodden grass carpeting; Hooah! We traipsed about COTA to attend the Post-race concert performed by Elton John, who played for two solid hours and was amazing! Before getting home at 9:30PM for a 14+ hour day; CRIKEYS MATES!

SIR ELTON ROCKS!
Sir Elton John did the Post-race Podium Winners interview and naturally was delighted with his fellow Brit Hamilton's victory, as we listened to this before beginning our Madcap adventure of getting to the concert, as the race ended some seven minutes before 4PM with Elton slated to perform from 6-8PM, it should be a breeze getting there in under two hours, right?


AFTERMATH...
Naturally, Monday was absolutely dry with bright sun and warm A-L-L day, as Claudio and Mwah just Chilled with me finishing the most enjoyable book Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon by Buzz Aldrin, which naturally made me appreciate Elton John's rocketman song Sunday evening...

Returning home Tuesday, I was flying home on United Airlines and quite happy that they'd been willing to change my flight home after having changed it originally after booking to include a nearly five hour layover in San Francisco; YIKES! Thus I was overly pleased to have had it changed, returning home via Houston again and arrive home 4hrs earlier than anticipated!

Ended up sitting next to a pair of United employees, with a friendly pilot taking my window seat and a Customer Services Supervisor named Maggie taking the middle seat, allowing me the more convenient aisle seat instead.

They were both very friendly and let me chat their ears off which made our 4hr 11min flight much shorter. As I-T became the running joke for the majority of the flight after the pilot told us when the Captain turns on the fasten seat belts sign and the plane hits mild turbulence its because he needs to go to the bathroom; Hya!

Arriving at SeaTac Int'l Airport early evening to a balmy 57-degrees; YIKES! Where's my jacket! And sitting on the Shuttle Express bench I thought, did somebody PEE here? As a driver came by and called out Tomas Hur-hur-hum? NO! Wasn't doin' his Payton Nationwide commercial impression. So I asked him twice if he'd called my name? And led me to his van. I got inside, buckled the seatbelt as he said I'll be right back. Then he asked me if I was going to Redmond; Huh? OOPS, WRONG TOMASO!

Returning to the benches, it still smells like pee! Uhm, actually smells like rotten fish... As there was a couple standing across from me who'd been fishing somewheres' - as I heard their driver muse 'bout spraying perfume on themselves next time, as another passenger said excuse me, I need to ride in another van, I cannot take the smell!

And then it RAINED all day Wednesday, the first of three solid days, getting absolutely SOAKED again Friday afternoon walking home from thy local grocery store. As welcome to thoust rainy season; Sigh! As all I can say is I survived Austin's Mudfest at COTA; Yeehaw!

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