The boy Jimmy is in the habit of buying four weekend tickets for the British GP every year. This year some of his normal companions (his family) weren’t able to go on the Friday, so he asked me, Kip and Steve if we wanted to go instead. Game on.

Silverstone_29.JPGI’m not always the greatest fan of Formula One but it’s good to have a day out with your mates every now and then.

I volunteered to drive there, and we decided on an early start, so I picked up the geezers and we were in the circuit before 9am. As we were quite early, we were in varying states of breakfast, so first stop was to level up the playing field a bit by buying food. So we had a round of bacon rolls, breakfast rolls and veggie whatever-Steve-had followed by a round of coffees. We took the coffees up into the stands with us to await the start of the first GP practice session at 10am.

On the programme for the day were two Grand Prix practice sessions, two practice sessions for GP2 and some Porsches at the end.

The first session lasted 90 minutes, with a mandatory requirement to come in and “give back a set of tyres” at halfway. Lewis Hamilton was fastest followed by Nico Rosberg.

So at halftime we decided to progress our way around the circuit in an anti-clockwise direction. One of the good things about the practice days is that you’re allowed to walk around and sit in any of the grandstands. Seats are only reserved for the Sunday main event. It gives you the chance to try the view from different places.

Significant other changes in F1 since I last visited an event are that the cars are much, much quieter, and the structure of practice sessions has been changed to encourage drivers to spend a lot more time on the track.

During the gap between the first F1 practice and the first GP2 practice we walked around to Stowe Corner and up to Becketts. There are a lot of grandstands at Becketts and therefore also a healthy collection of food stalls. Well, it was after 12. Lunch o’clock. Lunch involved beer too. And by now, the weather had picked up a bit and the sun was coming out.

We stayed at Becketts long enough to see the first half of the second F1 practice session too. In this instance, Hamilton was fastest again but Rosberg had a bit of mare with his car and didn’t make an appearance for the whole session, which no doubt didn’t make him happy.

At halftime we again decided to move on, in this instance walking along lengths of the perimeter fence where the circuit was really close. This provided some very fast views of cars screaming by at “full welly” on the approach to the Becketts S curves. When you’re 10-15 yards away they really do seem to be going quite fast.

Silverstone_65.JPGWe mooched our way from here all the way around to the old start/finish straight (now renamed the “National Pit Straight”). At this point the boys had another beer, with me having a coke. The National Pit Straight is evidently where the GP2 cars were garaged up too, judging by the noise. We didn’t actually go and watch the GP2 second practice though.

As we were leaving here there was some chat about whether it was time for second lunch (or early tea). Steve went for chips. Jimmy nicked some.

We walked around the back of Luffield, where I got slightly distracted by a Trig Pillar which happens to be a YOSM. It’s been on my radar to do for some time, so this was the perfect opportunity to grab it, as I was inside the circuit anyway.

We ended up at a point that used to be inside the circuit but is now outside. Or inside. Or maybe not. Regardless or whether it was in or out, it did have loads of food stalls and Jimmy decided he needed a pig sandwich.

We sat up in the stands at Village, notionally watching the Porsches, but information on what we were watching was a bit lacking, so most of us drifted off into a snooze, or were playing with our phones, whilst occasionally glancing up at the cars.

This was probably a good indicator that we’d had enough, so we jacked it in and were back in the car by about 6pm.

We’d been debating what to do in the evening for a while and once we were in the car we were still debating, but eventually decided to go into Stony Stratford for a Ruby. Over our last couple of evenings out we seem to have changed our curry house of preference. Life moves on.

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