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Old 5th November 2012, 21:32   #1
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Default Indian Grandprix 2012 : A Tribute to Schumacher

I had absolutely no plans to go for Indian GP this year. It all changed on october 4th when Michael schumacher announced the retirement and that set the turmoil in my brain. I ve seen this guy race since 98 and i cannot get enough of it. My happiness had no bounds when he signed up for Mercedes. Now i m extremely sad to see him retire. He was the reason i decided to go for the grandprix this year. My brother dropped out and i decided to go alone.

I had a good idea of the track as i had attended last year too. Did a lot of research regarding different stands. searching for photographs, running the onboard footage of drivers and extrapolating to the stands to imagine how the car would look when i take the picture. My final conclusion was Star stand one East would be the best place for action, it proved right both last year and this year too. But then i had clicked the cars enough and more from that angle in 2011. Finally after passing through different levels of confusion i booked my tickets.

Then came the Heart break. My flight was scheduled for oct 28 from coimbatore and to reach Delhi at 2 30PM. Two days before i get a mail form BIC the i was invited to meet all 24 drivers on thursday 3:00PM for an autograph session. I had fixed hospital commitments and there was no question of changing it. Disappointment was at its deepest. One opportunity that came knocking to my door and i had forced myself to shut the door.

Reached Delhi on the evening thursday 28 and next morning i drove my cousins Honda city via Mehrauli and Badarpur to Noida. I remembered the roads from my last visit and GPS was always there. On friday i got caught in a traffic jam and lost one hour at noida and reached the circuit half an hour before the first practice closed. Had booked a parking ticket and also bus service from noida city center so that my options were open on sunday Traffic. Parking area i got was quite a walking distance from the gates.They had good lawn grown on the parking stands effectively reducing dust.

After walking to the inner circular road, hitched a ride on circuit shuttle bus. Now that bus was directly imported from late cretateous period with reptiles inside. Probably these are the small details where we fall just short of perfection. Yes budget will be a concern but returns should be higher if you give 100%. Lets see how it evolves over next few years. If the crowds deplete like this year, from last year, they wont even be able to hire these buses and then soon end up walking around the circuit. Its an expensive sport, but success depends on the interest shown by people and more importantly JP group needs to do more for promoting the sport and not just get some bollywood clowns. A person who loves the sport also deserves to be in Mclaren garage and not just Mandira bedi. Glamour is needed but fans should be the criteria. In India sports does get hyped by the presence of stars, but it needs to get more closer to fans if racing has to continue in India. The group has done a great job so far but they need to do more. I may sound a bit negative at this point, but all im saying is they ve pushed it this far a bit more final push may give them a handsome reward. You may tell they ll improve on yearly basis, but if the crowd doesnt turn up how ll they sustain the race in years to come. Bollywood stars wont fill the stands the fans will.

The Merchandise

This was a very surprising.Among the big teams Mercedes and Lotus had no merchandise outlet. Last year mercedes were open and they idiotically sold 2010 car model with a 2011 paint scheme which did not go down well with me when the salesman argued otherwise. I was looking forward to buying a 2012 model, if a proper one but the stall itself was missing .

Ferrari - Had some nice T-shirts, stickers, bags and no Proper car models.

Mclaren- Very nice T shirts of Hamilton, very nicely finished car models but lacking in details with respect to the model year.

Force India- Very nice collection of shitrs and sweaters, keychains but no car models.Thats something again surprised me as i was thinking in India atleast people ll pick their car models as not only they ve a decent performance but also a nice looking car in terms of colour and the present nose.

Redbull- The most beautiful car model of the pack. Extremely well finished you could feel the quality in your hands. I so much wanted to buy it. But someone else beat me to it.

FIA - Had the best outlet, obviously as they had stuff from all the companies. some rare car models of ferrari and schumachers first F1 car. But options were substantially less in all stalls compared to previous year. Probably they must ve felt that sales were less last year. Last year they had 1996 model which i had pre planned to buy this year but they did not ve the model.

The largest Shop was that of Airtel. They had three codemasters 2012 Playstation games fixed to a dummy racing car. It was fun.When i generally play i keep the brake assist totally off, and changed the settings accordingly and when i was done i forgot to switch it back on.The next person who tried had such a tough time at the corners, i was standing behind with a evil grin on my face. He he he. Though i set it back for his next lap.

From the Grandstand

The Mighty Grandstand has two tiers , the upper and the lower. I had booked in the upper tire as i had suspected the fence in the lower tier would come in the way of photograpy and it did turn out right. My calculation said my seating should be in front of mercedes pit. But turned out just 2 blocks ahead of it. Its a fabulous view form the grandstand and truly lives upto its name.There's a corridor running the entire length of the stand which exits into seating blocks named in alphabetical order on the right hand side. And on other side it opens into the space overlooking the merchandise area, the west end and the sunset. Stand at the left corner you are right in front of pit exit & get a complete view of the cars blazing uphill towards the corner 3, and then nearly at the speed of light they flash by the long straight sinking behind the paddock building for a fraction of a second before blasting past it. Hard brake into turn four where they momentarily vanish from sight & then you see them plunging down hill from there. If you go to the right most end and just peep beyond the grill, what you get to see is pure heaven. The entire twisty section comes into view with cars doing a quick left right before the semicircle, a small downhill then another very fast left right and if you find yourself there around 3 or 4 pm the late evening sun gives a beautiful reddish pink hue to the haze. And finally from the corridor, the view of the cars racing towards the last but final corner. The track at this point dips in such a way,the late evening light reflects from the cars and the track giving it a golden hue. You ll love every bit of it. I did.

In any other open stand i could put up with the scream of the engine of say, two or three cars in a row. After that i needed ear plugs. I wanted to experience the sound in the grandstand. So waited for one car to pass, and by the time the next car came i had my ear plugs shoved in tight. The amount the sound gets amplified as it echoes between the pit building and the grand stand is beyond ones imagination.

Crowd was pretty less on friday and gradually built up from then onwards. It was the usual practice sessions with teams running round and round learning the data from the track and car. Few pit stop practice. Mclaren has a interesting way of practicing. Few crew members push the car back to about 15 feet then one chap sits behind the wheel. while rest of the crew position themselves in their places at the stop, the crew with the car push it froward towards the pit, the chap sitting behind the wheel brakes and the wheels are changed in few secs. They start all over again. The stand was near empty, so sat in front of mercedes pit waiting for michael and got to shoot him getting in and out of car and pit stops. Mallya had his few kingfisher babes pose in front of force India pit. pretty girls were having tough time keeping up the plastic smile on the face as every XY chromosome wanted to stand with them for a snap.They were the most clicked, more than the cars. And one was not very happy standing in the sun. Sitting up there under the great canopy of the grandstand, it was pretty fun to watch.

This is where my adventure started. Now other than Grandstand ticket i had picked a ticket in the west stand so as to get some good picture of cars. If i were to jump the compound it d be hardly 2 mins to reach the west stand, but here i had to get down from the 4th floor then walk nearly half a kilometer to the gate, then along the inner road for another three forth kms to reach gate 17 of west stand. i had planned to spend half the time of each session in each stand so that i cover the cars in different times to catch them in different lights and planned to be in west stand for evening session when the light would be golden and red. I stayed in the grandstand for second practice session to catch the pit crew and the happenings in the pitlane and evening went to west stand for qualifying and got some great shots. I went to all possible spots in the grandstand looking for ideal spot to click the race start and in general the cars.

Race day

Last year i took the BIC bus from Gurgaon and got stuck in traffic on the way back after race. This year i would not repeat the mistake. I took the morning metro and reached the track by 12 noon. The pit lane was coming to life and people trickling into the grand stand at a steady pace. The pit lane walk was on. You could sense the what the atmosphere building into. From the youngest to the Oldest, all were very eager to see what this F1 was about and they were about find out in few hrs time.

28th october 2012 is the day that i ll remember forever. Not because of the race its because, as a racing fan i was extremely lucky i saw 8 world champions - Schumacher , Niki Lauda , Damon Hill ,Kimi , Alonso , Vettle , Button, Hamilton. It was a fantastic feeling.

We always see on tv how the start builds up with them showing how many minutes remaining to race. While it feels an eternity on tv, its few minutes in reality. Thats how fast the time flies. First the FIA chaps place the car number boards in the respective grid slots as their qualifying order. Then the grid girls march from the last corner holding high the respective country flags of the drivers and position themselves on the grid. Same time there were one dance group doing Bhangra up and down the pitlane, a redbull chap joined them for a dance. Jhonny Herbert and Damon hill were commenting for their channel. Hill looked like was having some back porblem, was very uncomfortable in one position was constantly squatting, streatching. Then two characters showed up on the pitlane, one from Star trek, looked a distant abandoned cousin of Darth Vader, Sonakshi and another in a nice blazer and jeans and ridiculously looking sky blue framed dark glass lady type goggles, turned out to be Ajay Devagan and for a change head not tilted to one side. Gagan was tagging along with them. Mandira Bedi was looking for some attention at Mclaren Pit. After sometime the Drivers walked between row of girls and on to the back of the waiting lorry for drivers Parade. As expected Schumacher Kimi Alonso Vettle Hamilton got maximum claps and loud cheers when Karthikeyan walked in. Schumacher and Vettle were engrossed in deep conversation, the two Finns were socializing, Massa was fooling around, Button flaunting his smart looks, Few of them sipping on some kind of electrolytes. Sanjeev palar was poking the mic into everyones mouth and was acting clown. He too got some cheers when he appeared. Alex yoong doing some interviews. After the customary parade, they returned to the pits.

About 10 mins later the pitlane gates opened and the mechanics with all the tyres and the contraptions took position on track awaiting their drivers. Meanwhile through all this there was a constant hum of the engines with an ocassional spike, warming themselves up be let loose in sometime. The first cars to come out in every session were the Force India and when they emerged out of the pit the crowd went up in a loud cheer. Fantastic. They drove down the pitlane, briefly paused at the pit exit before shooting off for practice runs. One by one the cars came out drove along the pit lane then went round the track for a practice run, re entered the pits and continued the sequence. They then positioned themselves at the back of the grid with engines in off mode and in neutral gear gear. The crew push the car along the center of the track into their respective grid slot. Quickly the wheels were removed and wrapped in blankets and the driver jumps out . As usual Berni was ambulating along and had a brief conversation with Christian Horner, who looked a bit amused. The Mercedes and Mclaren too had a prolonged serious discussion, Norbert Haug and Martin Whitemarsh. How the next half hour flew be i dont know. Before i realised three minutes was left to race.

Cars were already fitted with the tyres for the first stint and placed on the track. the Mechanics and the crew cleared the place as did the grid girls. one by on the cars left the grid for a warm up lap. Everyone trying to get adequate temperature into the tyre were drifting the cars from one side to other and catching them. If they are really talented, i say, they should try that in Tata Safari. ;-)

My plan was to be at grandstand for the start till the first round of pits, capture some the actual pit stops then to be at the west stand to shoot the cars in late evening light. I had to decide between catching the winner at the chequered flag or michael on the final lap. I opted for the latter.

In order the cars took up position in the grid. What started as a hum built itself into a cresendo and as the five lights illuminated, 24 cars hit the peak revs turning into a absolute scream ,it was chaotic. In the words of Steve Slater, the five lights illuminate and when they go out the Indian GP is off to a start.... Vettle raced down to the first corner, behind him the 23 monsters went roaring. My camera had a tough time catching up with the speed.

The speed at which these cars accelerate is unbelievable. you have to see it to believe it. In a flash they pounced into the first corner. As the pack reached the third corner i could see a silver car slow down, next came the dreaded announcement, Michael has picked a puncture. His race was effectively over in three corners and so was mine. Took some shots of cars and waited for the first round of pits. Once Ferrari, Mclaren, Mercedes and Red bull completed their stops i realised that it was already around lap 30. Then i ran, literally the entire kilometer and half and raced up the steps and took position which i had identified previous day itself. Vettle zipped by. Then came Fernando, Kicked up some dirt at 13 and flew into 14 taking extra kerb at the exit and lost. He went from one opposite lock to other in a flick of the steering and caught the car. While there was a collective gasp, one nando fan in the went mad and addressed him with some healthy words. In the mean time i did not see Michael come around, i looked at the monitors and saw that Merc has retired from the race. I cursed myself for the bad luck, after all the running with some 10Kgs equipment this had to happen. By then it was last few laps remaining, i went to grandstand. Vettle had already become the winner while i was on the way back. Did not get to shoot Michael on final lap nor Vettle crossing the chequered flag. But managed to reach the grandstand in time for the podium celebrations.

All in all i had thoroughly enjoyed every moment of racing and i was so very much proud of the event in our country. Extremely satisfied with the ground work i did before hand and results are the pictures. The walk back to the bus mall took longer than ever. In that tin can contraption ,so called the bus i had the icing on the cake....

Sat in the last row of the bus to noida city center. Had a metro to catch. There were this couple sitting to my left. I guessed the lady was the sister. God help him if she were to be his GF. Well I was listening to Mark knopfler with ear phones pulgged in. Then I heard Excuse me...din realize it was thrown at me. Few secs later she said Excuse me, again. I removed my ear plugs and askd yes. she was like could please turn down the volume of your pod it's too loud. The entire bus can hear it. I was somewhere caught between politeness & decency on one side and rolling on the floor and burst with laughter on the other.. As politely as possible, with a obvious grin extending from molar to molar I said..ma'am it's the speakers on the bus.



No she was not a blonde.

Here are the pics...
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Old 5th November 2012, 21:38   #2
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Default Re: Indian Grandprix 2012 : A Tribute to Schumacher

These pictures are of combined practice sessions and qualifying.
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Old 5th November 2012, 21:40   #3
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Default Re: Indian Grandprix 2012 : A Tribute to Schumacher

The Pre race build up.
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Last edited by drkakkilaya : 5th November 2012 at 21:48.
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Old 5th November 2012, 22:00   #4
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Default Re: Indian Grandprix 2012 : A Tribute to Schumacher

The Race in a few shots...
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Old 5th November 2012, 22:08   #5
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Default Re: Indian Grandprix 2012 : A Tribute to Schumacher

Podium Celebrations....Naughty Vettle
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Old 5th November 2012, 22:09   #6
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Default Re: Indian Grandprix 2012 : A Tribute to Schumacher

Great pics! Lucky you to have had the opportunity to sit in a prime seat and watch the fun! BTW, what gear did you use for the clicks?
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Old 5th November 2012, 22:20   #7
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Default Re: Indian Grandprix 2012 : A Tribute to Schumacher

And finally, collection of my best shots from Indian GP...
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Old 5th November 2012, 22:22   #8
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Default Re: Indian Grandprix 2012 : A Tribute to Schumacher

Just the way Nando is carrying the trophy says so much in contrast to Seb....
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Old 5th November 2012, 22:24   #9
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Default Re: Indian Grandprix 2012 : A Tribute to Schumacher

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Originally Posted by neel385 View Post
Great pics! Lucky you to have had the opportunity to sit in a prime seat and watch the fun! BTW, what gear did you use for the clicks?
canon - 70-200 f4 , 10-22, 300mm f4. 40D Body.
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Old 5th November 2012, 22:30   #10
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Default Re: Indian Grandprix 2012 : A Tribute to Schumacher

Good glass you have with you!! And quality of the pics are top notch!! Good going mate!!
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Old 5th November 2012, 22:36   #11
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Excellent photography, @drkakkilaya!

I've been itching to go for the Indian GP since last year, but both attempts have been thwarted by my/our beloved Pune University, scheduling the exams bang in the period of the F1 weekend! :frustrati
So your pictorial coverage of the event comes god-sent! Gives me all the more reason to not miss it next year, exams or no exams!

Thanks and regards,
Harshal.
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Old 5th November 2012, 22:54   #12
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Default Re: Indian Grandprix 2012 : A Tribute to Schumacher

Awesome photography.
Must have been an awesome experience. Adding this to my bucket list.
Lovely ladies too. :P

@neel385: Good glass you have with you!! ....Seem to be a fan of Yoda.

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Old 6th November 2012, 07:25   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harshal.Bhosale
Excellent photography, @drkakkilaya!

I've been itching to go for the Indian GP since last year, but both attempts have been thwarted by my/our beloved Pune University, scheduling the exams bang in the period of the F1 weekend! :frustrati
So your pictorial coverage of the event comes god-sent! Gives me all the more reason to not miss it next year, exams or no exams!

Thanks and regards,
Harshal.
Yeah !!! That's What I call a die hard fan... Exams or no exams..
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Old 9th November 2012, 17:01   #14
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Default Re: Indian Grandprix 2012 : A Tribute to Schumacher

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Old 19th November 2012, 00:12   #15
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Default Re: Indian Grandprix 2012 : A Tribute to Schumacher

Lovely pictures and great write up.

Thanks for sharing.
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