Awaiting for the most awaited moment – The F1 Grand Prix Winner
All the 22 participants who would later be competing with one another for the F1 Grand Prix went around the circuit in the Driver’s Track Parade, waving at their fans who greeted them with thundering applause. The F1 Race was finally flagged off to cover 58 laps of the circuit. Felipe Massa who had taken Pole got the opportunity to take the lead and piped Schumacher at the post for the no 2 spot. Coincidentally, the results for the F1 at Interlagos in Brazil for the No 1 and 2 positions were similar to the one at Istanbul with Felipe Massa of Ferrari winning and Alonso in 2nd position and Schumacher losing the third position at Interlagos to Jenson Button of Honda by about 5 seconds. Last year’s winner Kimi Räikkönen of Finland racing for McLaren Mercedes had to retire in the first lap itself due to an accident. Even though the fastest lap was recorded by Michael Schumacher, it was the pit stop that Schumacher took, that gave Alonso the winning lead for the Driver’s Championship in 2006 as well as ensuring that Renault won the Constructor’s Championship in 2006 and the Brazilian Grand Prix was a mere formality especially as Alonso finished at the No 2 position ahead of Schumacher.
It was my first F1 experience and I must say that seeing the F1 live is truly a must and there is no better place to experience the F1 than Istanbul especially for Indian fans as it is in close proximity to India and the closest anti-clockwise circuit. Importantly, it also gives you the opportunity to explore a wonderful city like Istanbul – the only city in two continents as well as the country which is surrounded by the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.
Napoleon once said, if there is one state in the world, Istanbul would be the capital of it and truly so due to its strategic location and being a city extremely rich in history and civilization. Firstly, it was ruled by the Greek Byzas who discovered the place known as Byzantium in 667 BC, thereafter it became part of the Roman Empire in 64 BC and later the name was changed to Constantinople when Constantine became Emperor in 324 AD. Later it was conquered in 1453 by Sultan Mehmet II and was then called Istanbul. Over the years, the Christians, Muslims and Jews have lived in harmony and created a city rich in culture and architecture – one that is marveled and remains one of the wonders of the world.
Amongst the greatest sights in Istanbul include the Hagia Sophia Museum, one of the world’s greatest buildings; the Blue Mosque which is believed to have been built by the same stonemasons who helped build the Taj Mahal in Agra; the Topkapi Palace which was the official residence of the Sultans for over 400 years and contains several precious objects in its treasure room.A trip to Istanbul would be incomplete without taking a cruise along the Bosphorus and moving from Asia into Europe and vice versa. There is the Süleymaniye Mosque and the Dolmabahce Palace, the Galata Tower, the Grand Bazaar as well as Spice Bazaar and many interesting sights and sounds of this beautiful city.
During my visit, not only did I witness the F1 but also the Super league match between home favourites Galatasaray playing with Gaziantepspor at the Ali Sami Yen Stadium in Istanbul. Founded in 1905, Galatasaray is the oldest and most successful club in Turkey. If you are in Istanbul and a football fan, I strongly recommend you to find out during your visit whether Galatasaray is playing in Istanbul and you will have one of the most memorable experiences witnessing one of the most popular teams of football in Turkey.
We at Compact Travels, besides offering F1, also organize packages to see matches at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul which is the largest stadium on the outskirts of Istanbul with a seating capacity of 75000 spectators. In our next issue we will be highlighting the interesting sounds and flavours of Istanbul- a truly vibrant city.