Paddock Chronicles: Australian GP - Friday

The Daily Journal of our correspondents as they attend the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne.
Friday, March 15, 2013

melborune, March 15th, 2013 (F1plus/G. Polychronis).- An extremely busy first day in the paddock allowed us to learn the ropes and become familiar with all the media proceedings, which now feels like second nature. The excitement of walking past almost every big name in the Formula One industry you could think of rapidly waned and we swiftly became comfortable with the surroundings. It even felt completely normal as we approached the Ferrari hospitality area to ask for an espresso, while Johnny Herbert stood directly beside us.

Jacob, for a moment however, was unable to contain his excitement when he saw one of his childhood favourites – Damon Hill outside the Ferrari garage. I encouraged Jacob to request a photo, and sure enough, he approached the 1996 World Champion and introduced himself. He took the obligation to inform Hill about,considering it was plastered on his shirt, and he hollowly assured him that he would ‘check it out.’ Jacob was just in it for the photo though, which I expertly captured. He treated the fact that Damon Hill had heard the name ‘F1plus’ as a bonus.

I understood my colleague’s excitement when I saw one of my Formula One heroes – David Coulthard outside Red Bull Racing’s hospitality area. I knew that we needed to get back to business though.

We retreated back to the Media Centre, so we could watch Free Practice One on the many monitors that were available. Not being provided with live commentary gave us a somewhat different viewing experience, so we decided to treat ourselves to the pit straight view, which was just a few steps away from our position in the Media Centre.

After becoming immersed in the sounds, we realised that it was probably time to open up the MacBook and take some notes.

FP1 proved to be rather fruitless, however it was a great feeling to finally see the pinnacle of motorsport in action after what felt like an endless winter break.

Immediately after FP1 concluded, it was time for lunch. We decided to walk over to the Ferrari hospitality area to enjoy the free lunch they provided. This consisted of traditional Italian pasta, bread, salad and lamb. We enjoyed our meal along side fellow media representatives, including James Allen and Ted Kravitz. This proved to be a golden opportunity to ‘network.’ This was a good idea, as the Journalism industry is usually a case of ‘who you know, not what you know,’ as the popular saying goes. So Jacob decided to socialise with a freelance photographer. After we completed our meals, we sauntered back to the Media Centre to start collating our notes from FP1.

After some work, we briefly stepped outside to observe the RAAF F/A18 Jet Air Display. We have seen theF/A18s in action many times before, but it never ceases to amaze us how loud and impressive these machines are. There is nothing like the sound of a Formula One car however, which we were able to hear for the second time today as Free Practice Two commenced.

This practice session proved to be a bit more exciting than the first, with a few big names running intotrouble, such as Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Mark Webber, Felipe Massa and Adrian Sutil.

Jacob and Damon Hill at Albert Park's paddock area. 

As soon as FP2 concluded, we knew we were in for a busy couple of hours. Immediately after FP2 came to aclose I raced over to the Mercedes garage as Jacob worked busily on a document. My plan, as was everyone else’s, was to welcome Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg with a barrage of questions, only to be informed by a Mercedes representative that the interview had been postponed by an hour and fifteen minutes. I returned to the Media Centre to regroup. The clock struck 1830 hours and it was time for a press conference with various team bosses, such as Martin Whitmarsh, Toto Wolff, Eric Boullier and Jean-Michel Jalinier. Pirelli boss, Paul Hembrey was also in attendance.

While Jacob stayed in the press conference room, I darted over to meet Kimi Raikkonen. A large media scrum, which I was apart of, greeted The Iceman and it was a great pleasure to witness his media presence first hand. It’s not hard to see why they call him ‘The Iceman!’

We also attended other interviews after this, with Pastor Maldonado, Adrian Sutil, Paul di Resta, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. Many drivers had remained in their normal, tense states, except for Lewis Hamilton, who I felt was one of the most relaxed drivers I had seen in front of the media in a long time. He even felt comfortable enough to curse in front of the BBC and myself as he replied to a question. He used the word: ‘Shitloads’ to express how much down force he was experiencing. I don’t think anyone cared, considering he managed to get his point across more effectively than most other drivers.

After treating myself toanother free Red Bull energy drink (courtesy of Red Bull Racing), I made yet another trip back to the Media Centre to busily work with Jacob to provide readers with reports on Friday’s action.

After walking the same path countless times: paddock - Media Centre – paddock – Media Centre, we recoiled back to our apartment to work into the late hours of the night.    

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