Another Grand (Prix) Day Out in Melbourne…

Another Grand (Prix) Day Out in Melbourne…

After our ‘playing with fire’ experience, it was soon time for an even more thrilling Melbourne pastime – one that we hadn’t planned to do but that we certainly won’t forget in a hurry!..

The first Grand Prix of the 2011 season, The Australian Grand Prix, was held in St Kilda’s Albert Park and it seemed sacrilegious for us to be in town and not attend (despite the ticket price which was slightly beyond the backpacker budget!).

We took the tram from Flinders Street Station which brought us right up to Gate 5 of the park – once we had collected our tickets and been given our map and what’s on guide we made our way over to the track, where the pre-F1 V8 race was in full swing. The noise was unbelievable already and we couldn’t imagine just how much louder it would get when the main race began!

As well as all the on-track action there was plenty going on trackside too. The park was divided into different zones such as ‘Action Zone’, ‘Kid’s Corner’, ‘V8 Village’ & ‘F1 Central’, so we made our way around each of them, taking in the various car displays, music bars and glamorous girls as well as indulging in the obligatory hot dogs and ice cream!

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One of our favourite zones was the ‘action zone’ where we witnessed one of the most spectacular motorcycle stunts either of us had ever seen – the Globe of Death…

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The Globe of Death is a 16 foot metal sphere in which crazy bikers ride around eachother both horizontally and vertically, miraculously avoiding any crashes! Here is a video that we took of four, yes four, stuntmen riding around this deceptively small sphere! WARNING: Loud rock music about to blast your eardrums!

Once we had finished gawping at the stunt show it was time for the main action of the day! We somehow blagged our way into the Vodafone Vantage Point enclosure, so got a great trackside position right by the straight. While we were waiting for the Quantas flyover to kick off the main event, Richard ran off to buy us some earplugs – it was a good job he did as the noise was deafening!Next was the F1 Drivers Parade where Button, Hamilton, Schumacher and co. waved to the crowds during a lap of the track! A short while later it was time for the real action to start! As the cars came screeching past us it was difficult to pick one out from another and even more difficult to try and snap a picture. This was the best we managed!…
[singlepic id=4069 w=520 h=440 float=center]The whole atmosphere surrounding the race was exhilarating – whilst we weren’t quite sure what was going on around the other side of the track – we felt privileged to be a part of the first Grand Prix of the year. You don’t get this sort of atmosphere when you’re watching it on the telly!Just as the race was ending, everyone around us started to brace themselves for the ‘track invasion’. We could see the security guards eyeing us all up but got the feeling that this didn’t really matter to the majority of people there! As soon as the checkered flag went down, we, along with hundreds of others, flung ourselves over the barriers and ran as fast as we could down the track.

Everybody congregated in front of the podium where Vettel (race winner), Hamilton (2nd) and Petrov (3rd) were preparing to collect their trophies. It was manic – everyone was straining to get a look at the F1 icons – and shouting at the inconsiderate people climbing the fences to get down!

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Here is our pic of winner Sebastian Vettel – taken in the split second that someone moved their head out of the way!

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Once the drivers disappeared for their interviews and the excitement began to die down, we took a few minutes to stop and take in where we were.

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We had such an amazing time and the weather was fantastic all day long. The whole experience was one to remember and something that we may just have to repeat at the British Grand Prix later in the year!
We took our time leaving, ignoring the rush to get out and walked the entire length of the track as the sun went down over Albert Park…

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