Friday, September 28, 2012

F1 Singtel Singapore Grand Prix - Day 3

Sunday was of course the BIG DAY of the F1 race and also included races in the GP2, Ferrari and Porsche series. But there being no rush for me to come along (and also nobody to watch the race with!) I went along quite a bit later. To my surprise there were still people queueing for Fan Zone tickets to the Katy Perry concert in the evening, the queues seemingly very well managed by the ushers. That is, until tickets started to be given out! At which point, the usual black-hole-like gravitation to the source of tickets developed...

Unfortunately, queuing like a stoic Brit, I was about 10 people behind the front of the queue when wristbands ran out! Never mind, I wasn't expecting one anyway...

So then I explored a little bit on my own, with my earphones in of course waiting for something interesting to happen on the commentary radio for the qualifying and the races that were happening before the big event. Complimentary tattoo, anyone?

I spent about an hour watching the GP2 and the Porsche Cup while sussing out how busy my favourite spot would be.

In front of the strange puppet, a group of  dancers appeared, dancing traditional ballroom but in stilts. They looked like they were having such a good time! And understandably too, they had an audience of  500 people watching them totter around in 1920s dress. At least it clears up the mystery of the 'circle of small flowers' that I had seen being assembled earlier in the week.

So the next performance at the Padang Stage was Noel Gallagher and his strangely-named High Flying Birds. It was still daylight when he came onto the stage, which sadly did him no favours as he groaned into the microphone!

The stage area was quite quiet so, learning from Bananarama, I knew that they would eventually let people into the Fan Zone to help make it look a bit better attended. Maybe that's why Noel was sounding so unenthusiastic? So I positioned myself near one of the entrances and waited for the floodgates to open.
So I've always quite enjoyed the music of Oasis and also enjoy Noel Gallagher's new band's music. I have bought his album and enjoyed listening to it. But I was quite disappointed by the live performance. Noel came on stage and sang at least 4 songs without saying a word to the audience. He could sing OK but it wasn't exactly polished or enthusiastic. Then he tried engaging us by asking if we were enjoying the races (of course to lots of cheering). And of course he replied with "I don't know F- all about car racing. I can't even drive!" And then launched into the next song!

So before giving him any chance to improve his game, I went to watch The Proclaimers. They were much better and seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves!

Then ran over to my favourite spot to watch the F1 race itself. Mercifully there was room for a tall one at the back, even leaning against the rear fence, so I settled myself in for the 2 hour race. Now, I won't try and commentate on the race since there are paid professionals many times better than me at that. But I will direct you to this wrap-up:

So some highlights (and low points) for me were certainly:
  • The start. So much enthusiasm from the rest of the spectators!
  • Safety cars. Always amusing to see the Merc speeding round the track at awesome speed... and the F1 cars barely idling behind.
  • Hamilton retiring with gearbox failure after leading the race very convincingly from the start
  • Maldonado suffering an electronics (?) failure
  • Button vs Vettel, jostling even under the yellow flag
  • Schumacher completely destroying his and Vergne's car during an amazing rear-ender at Turn 15!
  • Senna retiring with literally 30 seconds left on the clock, but got no coverage since the winners were about to finish!
So I'm supporting Williams and they are the only team where neither car finishes, despite Maldonado starting as P2 and Senna putting up a good fight to stay in the rankings! However it was nice to see Frome lad Button on the podium again.

Then there were Fireworks which I just about managed to catch a glimpse of through the trees:

CG125 doing a victory lap...

And then I went for the traditional Singaporean dish of 'fried carrot cake' which is more like a mix of omlette and carrot pieces, and nothing like the British dessert!

Next, we walked the track towards the Padang stage area, where Katy Perry would be waiting for us.

And indeed she was! So were 50,000 other people, making for a huge crowd and probably the biggest (and hottest) I have ever been in. What an atmosphere! Here are some shots of KP doing here thing:

So, basically, it was an amazing show! ALMOST as good as Maroon 5. Katy Perry is one of those people who I'm never sure if she can sing or not, listening to her studio albums. But yes, she can really belt it out, with all the power and tunefulness you'd want. I was impressed! She worked us up very effectively and played with the crowd like a pro. Plus, her stage show included raised platforms, fireballs, lasers smoke and fireworks so it certainly appealed to all the sense!

After that, we were waved farewell by the Ushers who were clearly just schoolkids from Singapore and seemed to have had an awesome time.

And I got one last walk on the track (where I found a small gift for Craig).

And for me, that was the end of the Formula 1 Singtel Singapore Grand Prix. Definitely a highlight of my trip, would recommend it to anyone and I will gladly go again next year if anyone would like to accompany me!

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