My F1 weekend in Jerez

Jerez Cathedrall

Last week I had the great pleasure to fly out to Jerez de la Frontera to enjoy 3 (couldn’t fly out for the first day) days at the Circuito de Jerez for F1 testing. I (along with my girlfriend and another friend of ours) arrived at the airport at about 11am on Friday morning, and jumped straight in a cab to the circuit. Getting out of the taxi to be greeted by the screams of V8 engines was very exciting, and buying our €10 tickets for General Admission was quick and easy.

The first day was spent by the Senna chicane, as the rest of the circuit had not been opened up to the fans. It was a good place to get pictures from (as you can see below), but it’s not a place where you can really see an F1 car open up (as I had before at my only other live F1 experience, 3 days at Copse for the 2009 British GP). The Red Bull and McLaren cars looked very assured in this section, with the Ferrari looking quick but more twitchy in Massa’s hands. Michael Schumacher in the Mercedes piled on the mileage after some problems with the German team’s new car before, and ended the day fastest on a 1.20.352.

Times from Friday’s running:

Pos  Driver              Car                   Time       Gap       Laps
 1.  Michael Schumacher  Mercedes              1m20.352s            112
 2.  Felipe Massa        Ferrari               1m20.413s  + 0.061s  116
 3.  Jenson Button       McLaren-Mercedes      1m21.009s  + 0.657s  69
 4.  Jaime Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m21.214s  + 0.862s  72
 5.  Mark Webber         Red Bull-Renault      1m21.613s  + 1.261s  113
 6.  Adrian Sutil        Force India-Mercedes  1m21.780s  + 1.428s  73
 7.  Sergio Perez        Sauber-Ferrari        1m21.857s  + 1.505s  56
 8.  Timo Glock          Virgin-Cosworth       1m22.208s  + 1.856s  57
 9.  Vitaly Petrov       Renault               1m22.493s  + 2.141s  65
10.  Pastor Maldonado    Williams-Cosworth     1m22.591s  + 2.239s  38
11.  Jarno Trulli        Lotus-Renault         1m23.216s  + 2.864s  40

All timing unofficial

We set off for the circuit somewhat casually on Saturday morning, expecting a few more fans to turn out for Fernando Alonso’s appearances over the next two days. We severely underestimated the level of Alonso-mania in Spain. The roads leading into the circuit were jam packed, and we were only spared a long wait in the traffic by our adventurous and savvy taxi driver, who convinced the Guarda Civil to let him off an exit that was previously blocked to all traffic! After getting into the circuit we found that the stands were filling quickly, and the circuit security were quickly opening up the other sections of the circuit to allow all the travelling fans in. This was perfect for us: more access and a great atmosphere. Alonso’s fans stood and cheered at his every passing, as if it was as important as a real Grand Prix. Quiet inspiring stuff, and us plucky Brits did not shirk from our own patriotic duties, cheering on Lewis Hamilton at every time he passed by too.

Times from Saturday’s running:

Pos  Driver              Car                   Time       Gap       Laps
 1.  Nick Heidfeld       Renault               1m20.361s            86
 2.  Fernando Alonso     Ferrari               1m20.493s  + 0.132s  131
 3.  Michael Schumacher  Mercedes              1m21.054s  + 0.693s  114
 4.  Lewis Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes      1m21.099s  + 0.738s  36
 5.  Kamui Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari        1m21.242s  + 0.881s  84
 6.  Sebastian Vettel    Red Bull-Renault      1m21.574s  + 1.213s  98
 7.  Sebastien Buemi     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m21.681s  + 1.320s  92
 8.  Heikki Kovalainen   Lotus-Renault         1m21.711s  + 1.350s  61
 9.  Rubens Barrichello  Williams-Cosworth     1m22.227s  + 1.866s  99
10.  Paul di Resta       Force India-Mercedes  1m22.945s  + 2.584s  64
11.  Jerome D'Ambrosio   Virgin-Cosworth       1m25.471s  + 5.110s  72

All timing unofficial

Sunday’s attendance was slightly reduced from the manic Saturday, but still a hefty crowd turned out for a dewy Sunday morning of F1 running. It was during this day that we took a full trek around the circuit, to get some good photos and videos of the cars, circuit and ambience.

For on-track action, we spent most of Sunday based at the Dry Sac hairpin, a great place to watch drivers taking their individual lines and braking points. I have to say that Sebastien Buemi won the weekends ‘Latest of the Late Brakers’ award for some of his efforts, handled very well and hitting the apex bang on. Despite his lack of a quick time, Force India’s Paul Di Resta looked very assured through this section of the circuit, and nailed the apex of Dry Sac every time. Something Alonso couldn’t say.

Times from Sunday’s running:

Pos  Driver              Car                   Time       Gap       Laps
 1.  Rubens Barrichello  Williams-Cosworth     1m19.832s            103
 2.  Kamui Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari        1m20.601s  + 0.769s  86
 3.  Fernando Alonso     Ferrari               1m21.074s  + 1.242s  115
 4.  Sebastien Buemi     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m21.213s  + 1.381s  90
 5.  Bruno Senna         Renault               1m21.400s  + 1.568s  68
 6.  Heikki Kovalainen   Lotus-Renault         1m21.632s  + 1.800s  43
 7.  Nico Rosberg        Mercedes              1m22.103s  + 2.271s  45
 8.  Sebastian Vettel    Red Bull-Renault      1m22.222s  + 2.390s  90
 9.  Jenson Button       McLaren-Mercedes      1m22.278s  + 2.446s  70
10.  Jerome D'Ambrosio   Virgin-Cosworth       1m22.985s  + 3.153s  45
11.  Paul di Resta       Force India-Mercedes  1m23.111s  + 3.279s  99

All timing unofficial

Evening’s were spent enjoying Spanish wine, food and balmy weather, and was much appreciated after long days sat in the sun at the circuit. We flew back to the UK on Monday afternoon, and finally got back home tired but happy after a really good weekend.




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