The exhilarating F1 experience in Istanbul Part – 2
GETTING SET FOR DAY 2 :
Coming back to the race itself, it was Day 2 and we had missed the practice sessions on Day 1.We just about reached in time to see the last segment of the Qualifying Session. We were sitting in the Tribune 8 Silver stand which gives a very good view of the last curve as well as the start and end of the race. We could also see the Paddock from a distance and whilst entering the Istanbul Park area itself we could hear the roaring of the engines from quite a distance. The arrangements were exceptional – whether it was the security or the shuttle service to take you to the different parts of the Park. The grandstand seats are plentiful and seats are divided as per pricing into the bronze, silver and gold price brackets.
The Pole positions 1 and 2 were taken by Ferrari with Felipe Massa at No. 1 and Michael Schumacher at No 2 followed by Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella of Renault in 3 and 4 respectively. It was all set for Race Day with the top two teams and top 2 players of each team to compete on the following day for the eventual winner of the Turkish Grand Prix at the end of the 58 laps of the race. After having seen the GP2 which comprised of 34 laps,I decided to get hold of a pair of ear plugs for the following day when the engines would roar louder, being the Race Day.
We got to know that we missed out on history being made on Day 1 when Sebastian Vettel of BMW became the youngest ever driver to compete in an official Formula 1 session at the age of 19 years when he participated in the First Practice Session. And during the Second Practice Session Vettel recorded the best time which augurs well for him in future Formula 1 events especially when a champion like Michael Schumacher retired at the end of 2006 season. For BMW it was Nick Heidfeld of Germany and Robert Kubica of Poland who eventually took Pole Positions at No 5 and No 8 respectively.
That evening we headed to the Taksim area which is the place to be, especially to try out some Turkish cuisine. Hala which is located in the Taksim area on Istiklal Caddesi in the Beyoglu area of Taksim was highly recommended to us. Beyoglu is the district on the north bank of the Golden Horn and Istiklal. Caddesi which means Independence Avenue, is in the heart of Beyoglu and is a very modern district where you will find many people even in the wee hours of the night strolling, shopping and snacking in this region. This area is exclusively reserved for pedestrians and comprises of boutiques, restaurants, cafes and galleries and the higher level of the buildings have residential flats. This avenue begins at the Taksim Square which is the main hub of modern Istanbul and on visiting this area you wouldn’t be surprised why Istanbul or rather Constantinople was called the Paris of the East by the 19th Century travellers.
Taksim Square is one of the busiest areas of Istanbul and on walking this street a couple of hours can just fly by as if you have been here for a few minutes. Hala is one of the many restaurants in this area and on one side of the restaurant you will find a man calling out in Turkish to come and try the handmade Turkish Ice cream whereas on the other side you have a native woman in front of the window rolling out thin dough, something similar to our open tandoor restaurants that you find here in Mumbai. You can try out Manti which is the Turkish ravioli served with a local yogurt sauce or even some of the kebabs that they serve and you would not miss your Indian food. Each one of us relished the Turkish food served to us and I would highly recommend Hala for anyone wanting to experience good Turkish cuisine.
It was Race Day and day 2 for us at the Istanbul Park.We spent some time in the morning visiting a few merchandise stalls. It was a complete festive environment with a band singing away, some of the finest sports cars on display and picture and souvenir collection opportunities. There were several events lined up before the big race. There was the VW Polo Ladies of 8 laps, followed by the GP2 race of 23 laps which is an ideal platform for some of the drivers to showcase their talent to move up to the F1 circuit. Continue reading for more exciting races of Turkey Grand Prix.