We'd moved hotels so were now a 2min walk from KL Sentral train station. The travel package we'd bought took us by train from here to the international airport, then by shuttle bus to the circuit. It took less than a hour to cover the 70ish km's, very impressive.
The Saturday of the qualifying was Kevin's birthday so we left quite early to make a whole day of it. The sky was blue & sun was high as was the temperature at around 37 degrees. There were far less people here than expected and so when we found our seats and discovered we couldn't quite see the tv monitor we were able to move up a bit for a better view. The new knock-out qualifying made things much more interesting than previously, and the 10 place drop for replacing an engine meant we had some interesting characters down the back of the grid where we were sitting on race day.
On Sunday we arrived earlier and were surprised to find the place already buzzing, some five hours before the race started. There was not so much sunshine around, more cloud though and some of it heavy so there was much talk of the possibility of rain during the race. There were Porsche Carrera and BMW Asia races on during the morning but to be honest we spent most of the first couple of hours at the merchandise stands, and managed to spend a small fortune.
We knew we wouldn't be able to move seats during the race so we had splashed out on a couple of pairs of ear defenders with built in radio's so we'd have Martin Brundle in our ears to talk us through what we couldn't see.
In the build up to the race the drivers paraded around in classic English sports cars, a carnival of pretty Malaysian girls and drivers nationality flags coloured the start/finish straight then finally the cars & drivers arrived on the grid. The grid was manic and it was hard to pick people out individually, Ralf Schumacher, Massa, Barrichello & Colthard were the closest drivers to us, so we could see them but beyond that it was just a mass of coloured overalls and huge tv cameras. We didn't see ITV either so guess they never made it down to our end.
We were interviewed earlier on if you could call it that when a camera was showed into Kevin's face, followed by a guy with a mike who said 'Stop! Who do you think will win?' 'Oh I don't know I'm not a fan' was his reply. A horrified look and a 'Oh god, you can't say that!' from Becky was rewarded with the camera & mike shoved in her face. A quick 'Jenson Button' and they were gone.
When the engines revved, the lights counted down to the start, and for a few seconds that followed the sound was phenomenal. Far louder than I (Becky) remembered, and our ears will probably never be the same again but it was awesome.
We saw Kimi Raikkonen crash and to be honest, that was the highlight, as after a couple more dropped out things pretty much stayed put. The rain never came despite the clouds & the fact that it poured all afternoon in the city, typical!
We stayed for the champagne & were pleased to see Button on the podium. Couldn't help but feel sorry for team mate Barrichello though who couldn't get the car to go fast enough them got a penalty for speeding in the pit lane, how's that for irony!
Though the race wasn't the best it was still an excellent and memorable weekend. It wasn't quite the carnival atmosphere you think you see on the tv and not so much glitz and glamour either.... think we'll have to try Monaco next.....