We got to the gate, literally across the road from where we are staying, by 10:30, and had to queue for bag check. Once in, you felt like you were somewhere special. All the features you usually see on tv are there in real life – the bridges with Rolex or Pirelli signage, the huge grandstands at critical corners – but the atmosphere is something else!
The day was spent sussing out the best places to see the best track aspects, food, drink, merchandising and generally soaking it all up. There was a historic Grand Prix run with heaps of really old GP cars, then the incredibly noisy Supercars, as well as the Porsche racing, all noisy but great to watch.
Free Practice started at 12 and we managed to get ourselves a barrier spot on the 100 m mark for turn 1. Amazing to be so close to these incredible machines.
Between the end of Practice and the final session for the day, we grabbed lunch, found the Petaluma wine bar, had a look at the historic cars and tried to work out the best place to get a stand seat for tomorrow. After another round of Supercars and Porsches, it was time for the final practice of the day.
Mercedes and Ferrari are looking good so far and while the Red Bull team are up there, they are not looking as fast. Williams sounds the best of all I reckon, though I don’t think Pete agrees! We have got our Red Bull team shirts now, so hopefully this will spur on Danny Ricciardo to go faster in FP 2.
After a day on our feet, we were in need of relaxation and headed up to the rooftop spa to soak away our aches and prepare for dinner.
Our day ended with a fabulous dinner at Heston’s place in the Crown complex. We had a window seat, looking out over the lights reflected in the Yarra. I started with Meat Fruit, Pete with Abalone Porridge (Australian version of Snail Porridge), then I had quail, Pete had lamb, and we finished with awesome deserts. A delightful meal and experience, though there were a few breaks in the service which we did not expect at that type of venue. We departed for a tram home feeling full to bursting, and fell into bed exhausted.