So day two had arrived. I’m at my desk checking my list of events and the first practice race started at 1pm so I had a chance for a light lunch before finding the photographers’ shuttle car.
It was now 12.30pm so I went to get the shuttle car. This is where i made my first mistake. I went the wrong direction and ended up in the completely wrong place, so I asked security where the shuttle car for press photographers was. He had no idea so I asked another security, who could not understand English. Not a good start for me! I then eventually found customer services after around 45 minutes of walking around in the heat. Thank goodness I found someone who knew what I was talking about! I could now hear the practice race had already started so I was glad I was not going to miss it.
How wrong could I have been! The customer service lady said I need to catch the circuit bus which will take me to the south grandstand where I wanted to be, so there I was on this circuit bus with the general public and no sign of any press. I arrived at the south grandstand and security would not let me through because I was media not general public. I was told I needed to get on the circuit bus AGAIN and go to Gate 20, which is where I came in early in the day. I got back to the media centre ten minutes before the end of the first practice race and to be honest I was not a happy person.
The guy behind the photographers’ reception desk sensed something was wrong and immediately started to help. The second practice race was not for another two and a half hours so he showed me where I had to get the photographers’ shuttle car. It was just behind the media centre, so I had a tour around the circuit for no reason. But as it was a practice day, it was not too bad as the practice was not just for the drivers but for me too!
I took no chances on the second practice race. I was ready in plenty of time and trackside 30 minutes before the race started. All I can say is what a thrill: the sound of the roaring engines, the smell of burning rubber and the speed of the cars was awesome. Having not taken photos of motorsport before, I was so excited to be there.
By the end of the day, I was so tired and ached all over due to the walking and moving the top part of my body in tune with the cars speeding past me. Despite the poor start to my day, it ended pretty well and i was pleased with the photos I got.
The next day was warmer than day 2 but this would not deter me in catching the final practice day and the qualifier races. This time I went to the other side of the track, which proved to to a better place to grab the action, with smoke spinning from the rear wheels and sparks from the friction off the track. It also seemed louder than the day before.
When it came to the qualifier round the pace was stepped up a gear or two. The excitement from the crowds could be heard when Hamilton came into a turn followed by Rosberg: now the fight for pole position was on.
By the end of the day, Hamilton secured another pole position and was ready to take on Rosberg for the world title and the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix 2016.
By: Dave Taylor