General Travel

Awesome Tour of Sydney – The Italian GP

Mark Webber Time is something I’ve been really tight on the past few weeks. I’ve been in Romania for a wedding, at a 4 day music festival in Laois, and jetsetted off to Italy for the Grand Prix. The brief for the 5th Sydney challenge was to: “run your very own Sydney-themed event”. I’ve had to bend the rules slightly due to my schedule. Hopefully that’s cool. Instead of running my own Sydney-themed event, I turned the Italian Grand Prix into a celebration of all things Mark Webber. Mark drives for Red Bull and is a native of New South Wales.

You really get no clue on how fast those things move until you see them up close and personal. I travelled over on the Wednesday with Elly and George for a full week. You may remember Elly from her idea to build my ANZ Stadium replica. We made a trip to Italy’s biggest shopping centre and got all the stuff we’d need. Party gear, a few towels, champagne and things like glue, scissors and such that I’d normally have access to. Here’s what we got:

Have you figured out what the towels are for? Correct, they’re the colours of the Australian flag. The blue towel forms the base with white and red towels cut into bits to make the Union Jack, the Commonwealth Star and the Southern Cross. Glue brought all the bits together nicely. We were in at the track on Thursday for a pit walk and I almost got Mark’s autograph (he just left as we got to him). 🙁

On Friday, we cheered him on through first practice where he placed 9th. Formula 1’s qualifying system has changed in that the hour is split into 3 qualifying phases (click for details). Mark would need to be quick enough through the first two phases to make the third and he was, coming out 11th in the first phase and 6th in the second. Here’s the man himself with my makeshift pit board indicating his time:

It all comes down to the last qualifying phase to decide the positions for the top 10 though and unfortunately Mark didn’t have his quickest of the runs finishing in 10th. 🙁 We retired back to the hotel after the session (via a beautiful meal, loves me Italian food).

Sunday was race day so I donned my Sydney outfit from Week 2. 🙂 The Formula 1 race was due to start at 2pm but we knew it’d be busy with people literally camping out overnight on the seats. Since we had general admission tickets, access to the grandstands was out (they’re ridiculously expensive) so we found a nice spot around by Lesmo 1 corner. We’d made the decision to rent a Kangaroo TV thing, which allows you to watch live race coverage on it, so myself and George went off to get that whilst Elly kept our seats. After an hours walk down to the F1 village, we returned and bidded our time until the driver’s parade and anticipated the race start proper. As I mentioned earlier, Mark was starting 10th on the grid so from a position like that it’s easy to get tangled up with someone in the first lap. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened as his car was involved in a crash at the second chicane before he’d even reached our part of the circuit. It was his first retirement of the season. 🙁

After the race finished we made our way out onto the circuit and up to where he’d crashed out. Two Italian lads spotted the Aussie flag on my back and were big fans of the New South Wales native (even though their first love is Ferrari) so we took this shot:

Here’s myself, Elly and George at Curva del Serraglio just before we left the circuit:
DSCF6857 All in all, a great week away. Hope Mark does a bit better this weekend. We’re coming close to the end of the Awesome Tour of Sydney so watch out for another post on that later today.

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