Photography by Alex D. Kersten
Armed with paddock passes, good weather and a cheeky smile, qualifying at Shanghai allowed an access all areas day of Chinese hospitality and F1 interviews. By Alex Kersten.
Strolling down the Paddock on a sun kissed day of qualifying may sound like bliss, but in reality it really isn’t; it’s much, much better than that.
As we arrive in the BMW Sauber HQ, food, biscuits and drinks are thrown at us with as much pace as an F1 car on the home straight. Naturally with more than a week of Chinese food under our slimming belts, chocolate is a sight for sore eyes and satisfied nicotine-like cravings.
Being at the back of the pit lane, qualifying was watched from a television; hearing the cars tearing around, but watching them on a small screen is quite a surreal experience, if a little frustrating.
With qualifying finished and Vettel firmly on poll, a canter around the paddock is now in order to track down some VIPs. First though, we’re treated to a tour of the Sauber team garage by our host Sven Schäfer.
Looking down the paddock, a pack of hungry journalists and snappers suggests that the drivers are due to make an appearance, so we we’re sure to get in on the action. Although unable to speak to them directly, their very presence proved an awe inspiring experience, reflected by the haze of camera flashes and admiring glances.
As we slowly leave through electronic barriers manned by Chinese guards, a final glance back to the paddock is in order. Luckily for us, this wasn’t to be our last visit.