Formula One Night Race

I never really considered the prospect of watching any of the F1 races, not when they first made their way onto our shores in 2008, and not even now when they are into their fifth year. I thought it would be rather pointless sitting at the sideline in tolerance (or not) of the heat and noise, and not being able to see anything other than bright colours of the race cars zipping past at speeds of 200 kmph or more.

Well I was partly right. But even with just that, and on a night where the excitement was relatively muted because it was a qualifying race, the live experience of seeing the cars in action and hearing the thunderous roar of these high performance machines was quite unparalleled.

One of my friends had a pair of complimentary tickets (yes yours truly is the el cheapo sometimes) for the Padang grandstand and asked if I’d like to attend and of course I said yes! Ok maybe not so emphatically because we all know how much I love our classic tropical humidity, but I thought it might be a great experience and since the weather has been a little kinder these few days.

So here’s how the ticket looks like:

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I didn’t bring a camera along so I didn’t take any photos of the track or the cars from where I sat, not that I think my reflexes would be quick enough to capture the cars in motion. But the view was splendid, with us being in the third row. There were three qualifying rounds with cars being eliminated each round but the final one sealed the deal for which driver would have the privilege of starting from pole, which is considerably important for our track that is supposedly a tough one for overtaking. Not impossible but tough. I haven’t been following F1 these few years so I was really lost as to who’s in what car, I just saw the Ferraris, Red Bulls, McClarens and whatever flying past and the atmosphere was wonderful I can only imagine how electrifying it must be on race night itself.

After the qualifiers ended at about 10, the Ferrari challenge came on but we didn’t stay on for that. We went back onto the Padang where hordes of people congregated and waited for the concert to begin at 11.

We do have quite a beautiful night view, especially from the Padang that is boxed in from each side by skyscrapers, this being the CBD side of it.

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Maroon 5 burst onto the stage promptly at some minutes past 11 and the crowd just went wild when we heard the first sounds of coins being slotted into what would be a payphone, one of their hits. It was an hour of non-stop entertainment from Adam Levine and co., and he proved to be quite the crowd puller as the women went crazy over him and even the men got so high when popular songs like This Love, Won’t Go Home Without You and Harder To Breathe, amongst others, were performed. The part I liked most was when after a short break they came onstage again and sang She Will Be Loved, acoustic style. The entire field sang along for that song, and even guests of Swissotel were all perched on their balconies listening in to the concert. The response from the crowd beat that for their final song Moves Like Jagger, probably because that is more difficult to sing along to, or perhaps everyone was just too caught up dancing to the catchy tunes of that song. It was fantastic seeing everyone enjoying themselves so much and we certainly had a great time despite it being a little muggy sometimes and second smoke marring our enjoyment momentarily.

The stage setup was pretty amazing and it easily trumps other stages in some concerts I’ve watched. You can just think of how much money went into this whole F1 business. But I was glad I went and am really grateful to my friend for the ticket and an excellent night out!

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