Today was a great day out on the Asian side of Istanbul at the Turkish Grand Prix.  Arjan and I sat in the 2nd Tribune, which was a great vantage point to see almost everything except the grandstand area (and even that was visible if you walked a bit).

Formula 1 View from our seats 1

I had never been to any kind of auto race before -- to Joel Demay's Twitter question, I can't compare or contrast with Indy or Nascar.  What I do know is that the setting for the 2nd Tribune was more than a little austere.  Basically the same bleachers you'd find at any American high school football stadium, and really nothing else but a small TV screen so far away that I couldn't even read the standings through my telephoto lens.  There were a few porta-potties, and a really awful, limited concession stand, whose queue was at least 250 meters long at one point.

Formula 1 Concession

Still, these corners were a great place to sit, because it was both uphill and a set of tight turns.  That meant every driver had to downshift as they moved past us, and means that I was able to get some pretty good photos, even without a tripod.

Formula1 Kimi Raikkonen Formula 1 Coulthard  Formula 1 Honda Barrichello  Formula 1 - Safety car leads Massa

The race was over pretty quick -- it certainly took longer either way to or from Sultanhamet in Istanbul.  Arjan Radder and I traveled there with a couple of men from Singapore, who said they had flown to Istanbul just for the race.  They sure knew a LOT about F1 and cars in general.  It was enjoyable to talk with them.

Overall, it was definitely a unique experience to actually go to the race.  I feel like we lost a little something not being able to see the pit action or much of anything on the TV projection.  They say that the Istanbul Grand Prix, now in its third year, has been growing and attracting local interest.  They sure had a lot of empty stands and a bit of infrastructure work they could do to make it a better experience (wider bridge/crosswalks and more of them would surely help).  Still, there's nothing quite like being there, and I'm glad I did it.

Formula 1 Brill 2

I'm in Athens now, and will be working Monday.  In the meantime, be sure to check out all the pictures I've posted so far from this trip in my flickr set for Istanbul and Athens.  Good night!

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