Nic Gilbert's British GP Visit

SILVERSTONE Grand Prix 2017

A dedicated Formula 1 fan gets up at 4.00am, drives an awesome Jaguar to a beautiful Hotel in Marlow Buckinghamshire.

Our chauffeur was waiting to drive us to the airfield...nice car but not the real deal!

Waiting at the airfield was the helicopter......anybody would think we were late all this waiting on us !

Flying towards the circuit before making a flyby, got a great view of the chicanes

The Paddock Club entrance was a ‘Grand’ affair.

Now the fun really started........ 8.45am Champagne and croissants offered before one even enters the Williams suite!

We had the perfect view from the balcony over the pit lane, my first and only complaint of the day was......’I’m not tall enough’ to see right down over the cars. I was offered a box to stand on. As we were VIP guests it wasn’t your usual beer crate either!

It was a busy day as we were given a full guided tour; the first visit was to the back of the garages at Williams, where we got to listen to team radio. Felipe Massa wasn’t happy with the set up of the car and soon arrived back into the garage.....sooner than one would think possible! After all that excitement we were offered more champagne and ‘nibbles’.

Now to watch free practice 3 from the balcony, this was time to learn where the best place to stand was for good pictures, I got a lot of pictures through railings first but moved right along to the first corner after the start/finish straight.

A pit lane walk has to be one of the most exciting things to do. As we were guests of the Williams team we got to go right into their garage and up to the cars, no one said don’t touch, soooooo yes I touched Massa’s car!

Better than that.....I got to meet him, autograph and picture.

Just happened to be walking past the Ferrari garage (with my Williams team pass hanging round my neck) the engineer said if I ditch the pass I could enter their garage too.......pass in pocket almost as fast as the Ferrari car can go.

Lunchtime was a real treat, served by Michael Caines a ‘proper’ 2 star Michelin Chef. I got his autograph, whilst on the hunt for stars. Whilst lunch was being served we got to watch the main event from the balcony, awesome sight of the cars. We could watch the Williams team working at the pit lane wall.

The rest of the day we were left to entertain ourselves, which I used wisely!! Got to sit in a Formula 1 car and had a (VERY) quick go at changing a wheel on a Formula 1 car

After the pit lane walk we spent time in the paddock club, quick picture of Lewis Hamilton’s car, which was being guarded, that’s ok just don’t touch until the guard turns his back on you!

I did get chance to discuss tactics with the one and only Lightening Mc Queen.....

We then watched Channel 4 and SKY sports making their live recordings. Quick chat with Mark Webber and Damon Hill, autographs of course as I was on a mission to get as many autographs as I could! Martin Brundle had to ‘trot off’ before I could get to him.

All this whilst I was still on the hunt for autograpghs. I managed to get Pascal Wherlein, Marcus Ericsson, Nico Hulkenberg. I did manage to see Kimi Raikkonen, Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas.

One of the best days ever, then the nicest surprise of all was when leaving for the flight home (ok, back to the hotel) was an autograph and cuddle with Johnny Herbert!

So ok, some of my autographs were from retired F1 drivers but I knew them all and supported them.....showing my age!

Now I have to say, the best car I saw was the XKR I arrived and left in......

Nic Gilbert

#BritishGP #Silverstone #WilliamsF1

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