Australian Grand Prix

16 March 2014

Basically our first weekend in Melbourne Ben noted that he would like to attend the Australian Grand Prix, which opens the F1 racing season.  He did a bit of research and decided early on that he would be getting a grounds pass and checking it out.  In the weeks leading up to the race, which is held in Albert Park, traffic was a bitch!  Because its a road course, they started shutting down roads that we drive on everyday and setting up the race track.  In the week before the race, we could hear the qualifying rounds from our apartment and drove past the race location on my way to work every day!  It’s like the city of Melbourne was building the suspense and excitement for the race for us!

Ben Australian Grand Prix

Heather Australian Grand Prix

Obviously, the usual suspects were in it to win it.  I mean, living in Melbourne and skipping the Australian Grand Prix would be like skipping the Australian Open.  Just Plain Silly.

The day of the race was cloudy, overcast and seriously threatening rain.  We kept our fingers crossed that the race would not be rained out, because that would be a major disappointment!  We took the tram up St Kilda Road towards the track and entered through Gate 5.  We wanted to be sure we arrived in time for the flyover and the National Anthems, but realized as we were approaching that we were nearly missing the RAAF flyover!

RAAF Flyover(photo courtesy of Ben Grant)

Gate 5 Australian Grand Prix

We quickly reviewed the map and observed a man who was more excited than  a child to be attending the race.

Australian Grand Prix Map(photo courtesy of Ben Grant)

As we started making our way around the track in search of our friends, we discovered there was a car show happening on the race grounds.  We saw everything from vintage Mustangs, Mini Coopers & MGs to brand new Ferraris.


Vintage Cars

vintage cars(photo courtesy of Ben Grant)

Then, out of no where, the flyovers began!  This jet was so loud that we could here it coming before we could see it!

Flyover(photo courtesy of Ben Grant)

This pilot could turn this jet on a time!

(video courtesy of Ben Grant)

Following the flyover, they very casually played the National Anthem and then a Qantas flyover occurred.  It’s quite bazaar to see a massive jet flyover so low and slowly.

Qantas Flyover(photo courtesy of Ben Grant)

We waited expectantly, following the National Anthem and the Qantas Flyover, to hear “Gentlemen, START YOUR ENGINES!!!”  Unfortunately, either no one said this or they did not broadcast it within the race grounds.  This race was also a rolling start, so we did not get the excitement of cars fighting off the line.  We did, however, have a pretty good vantage point for the start of the race.

Australian Grand Prix(photo courtesy of Ben Grant)


(video courtesy of Ben Grant)

After a few moments of enjoying the race from this view, we decided to move around the track a bit more to see if there was a better view, which is when we came upon the flagman.  His arms must get very sore, because he waves that flag in whatever color is required through the entire race.

Green Flag Man(photo courtesy of Ben Grant)

yellow flag man(photo courtesy of Ben Grant)

Australian Grand Prix(photo courtesy of Ben Grant)

Australian Grand Prix(photo courtesy of Ben Grant)

Australian Grand Prix(photo courtesy of Ben Grant)

I expected that I would be in need of earplugs and kept my eyes open for them, but it turns out they changed the engines and they are now much quieter.  We sort of missed the sound of the souped-up V8s ripping by and we didn’t need earplugs, but it was still pretty awesome.

(video courtesy of Ben Grant)

About 45 minutes into the race we still hadn’t found our friends, so we continued on looking for them.  They had fantastic seats on some of the bleachers, which set Ben up for super photos.

Australian Grand Prix(photo courtesy of Ben Grant)

Australian Grand Prix(photo courtesy of Ben Grant)

Australian Grand Prix(photo courtesy of Ben Grant)

Australian Grand Prix(photo courtesy of Ben Grant)

This race is interesting, because it’s 58 laps or 2 hours, whichever comes first.  We had, in fact, RSVP to a race party overlooking the course.  At about 6:15 we decided we should head over to the party and catch the end of the race from above.  Her view, which overlooks Albert Park all the way to Philip Bay, was AMAZING!

Albert Park(photo courtesy of Ben Grant)



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