From the stands: Nikolai Vogler watches two races in one week

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Lap 2, Hungaroring, 2010

German F1 fan Nikolai Vogler went to his home race at the Hockenheimring and the back-to-back round in Hungary one week later. Here’s his view from the stands.

While the F1 teams had to handle two races with just one week in between, me and a group of friends decided to follow them to the German and Hungarian Grands Prix.

Thursday 22nd July

Today was an amazing day I had waited a long time for. I packed a tent and my clothes in the car and drove to Speyer, a city near the Hockenheimring. There I met a friend, who, like me, is an F1 fanatic. But we don’t share quite the same view on drivers – he’s a Fernando fan, I support Lewis.

We headed off to the track where we were joined by another friend. We took in the pitwalk and a tour by bus around the track. All day long it poured with rain. We saw many cars and some drivers in the pitlane, but today was just the beginning. The engines stayed silent for now.

Friday 23rd July

Today we heard the lovely sound of the F1 engines again for the first time since we were at the Nurburgring last year.

The first free practice session was wet, but this was no reason to feel bad. We saw many spins and smaller mistakes by the drivers, lots of good action at the track. But Lewis stuck his car in the barriers and his running was limited.

We decided to sit at the south grandstand where we can see the motodrom, the corners before the finish line. The second practice was good to, but not as entertaining as the really wet first one.

Most of the support for German drivers seems to go to Sebastian Vettel, but there were many old and new ??Schumi?? fans too.

Saturday 24th July

On Saturday the weather improved. I was a bit sad of it, because I knew that now there was no way there would be anything other than a Red Bull on pole position.

Vettel got pole position and most of the German fans where happy about it. I thought Lewis’s performance was good after his crash on Friday, but Ferrari are clearly faster this weekend.

Sunday 25th July

Race day. Everyone was at the track early to avoid the traffic. After all the sessions of training and the qualifying, now we would finally see all 24 cars in action in the race.

In the morning there were many support races – including GP3, GP2 and Porsche Supercup – to fill the time until the Grand Prix starts. The drivers are taken around the track on a flatbed truck to wave to the fans

There next action on-track featured drivers performing stunts on motorbikes. It’s all a side-show to the main event, which gets under way at two o’clock.

There are sighs of disappointment in the crowd as Vettel gets away poorly and cannot hold his position in front of the field. It isn’t the closest race we’ve seen and there’s no big crash – but a big scandal. While Massa is in front, he gets a message (hidden but obvious), to let Fernando pass. And he did. He has to.

What a shock. I never thought that you can do such an order again so obviously. I really never could imagine that after the scandal in Austria with Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello, that someone could be so bold, to do it again this way.

In the end, Fernando officially wins the German Grand Prix, Massa finishes second. A double win for the team but a big loss of credibility for the sport. Many people who went home after this ‘race’ were unhappy.

But we have another chance to see a real race, and spend the next three days travelling to Budapest and sightseeing.

Thursday 29th July

On our way to Budapest we overtook some of the teams’ race trucks. We went to the Hungaroring on Thursday which was my first time at the track.

We pitched our tent in a campsite with an international flavour, surrounded by Germans, Austrian and Poles. The weather was sunny, and we went to the pitwalk again. This time I got an autograph from Lewis – my highlight of the day.

Friday 30th July

For the first day of action in Hungary we went to the Red Bull grandstand, after the last corner near the gird. We saw some Formula BMW and also the F1 practice sessions, which were a bit dull, because there was not so much action on the track.

After a hard day walking around the hilly track we headed back to the camp site for a barbecue.

Saturday 31st July

The highlight of the day was qualifying, but it was horrible to see how fast the Red Bull drivers were. It looked like it was going to be a very boring race.

Sunday 1st August

We watched the GP3 race in the morning, where there were two big crashes including one car flipping over. Fortunately nobody got hurt.

After all the support races it was time again for the big event. The race seemed not so good at first, until the safety car brought the action back.

Vettel made a mistake, so he got a drive-through penalty. That was his race done, he was third in the end. But the other Red Bull driver was a worthy winner. Fernando Alonso finished second, while the British guys were unlucky (Hamilton) or not fast enough (Button) the day.

After this dramatic race, with crashes in the pitlane and hard driving between Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello, we were happy, but also sad that our last F1 trip of the year had come to an end.

But we’ll be back again, this time at the Nurburgring in 2011.

See TrueF1Grit’s comment here for another view on the Hungarian Grand Prix from a fan who was there.

Image (C) Williams/LAT

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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25 comments on “From the stands: Nikolai Vogler watches two races in one week”

  1. now that is what you call a F1Fanatic.
    well done Nikolai, love the report and thanks for sharing, you must of had a wonderful time, an a great experience.

    sometime i wished i lived in Europe and was able to follow the Grand Prix circus.
    living down/under (NZ) makes it far too expensive.

    1. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
      8th August 2010, 20:37

      Yep, we need Hampton Downs to host a race, it’s already getting the Moto GP next year, so F1 would just complete it

      1. Is it? That’s the first I’ve heard of it. I googled ‘Hampton Downs Moto GP’, and this article was the fifth option! A New Zealand GP would be cool though.

        Oh and nice insight to a week following the F1 circus Nikolai!

  2. Thanks for the talkup on your great 2 weekends Nikolai. So what did you friend, the Fernando supporter think of what happened at Hockenheim? And how did the public at the track react to it?

  3. Sound like you had a good couple of race weekends, hopefully next year I’ll be able to join you. Good report, nicely done.

  4. christopher (sennaboy3)
    8th August 2010, 11:10

    I will be doing something similar, going to SPA, Monza & Singapore with a couple of MotoGP races thrown in! The countdown is on for SPA, my favorite track on the F1 calendar.

    1. Rob Gallagher
      8th August 2010, 11:54

      I am so jealous…

    2. Spa, Monza, Singapore, and a couple of Moto GP races…that’s an impressive trip itinerary!

  5. Interesting :)

    You say tour freind was a Fernando Alonso fan, what did he say about the overtake on Massa?

    1. The same thing the lewis’s fans thought when Hekki let lewis past.

      1. “When?” is not a long enough comment, please do explain when Lewis Hamilton was allowed to pass Kovaleinen.

        1. Hockenheim, 2008

          1. a bit like china 2008 then (raikkonen having to almost stop to let massa past). and thousands of other examples throughout motorsport history.

      2. Jeeze, not this nonsense again.

  6. Penelope Pitstop
    8th August 2010, 14:16

    Thanks for sharing! I’m so jealous, since I missed the first race I was supposed to attend (Montreal) and will miss the other (Spa), too. I’ve been in the hospital since the end of April (now in rehab), so it’s been hard to keep up with F1 news.

    1. All the wishes to you so that you get well soon & attend an f1 race in the future.

    2. nice to hear how your doing, i hope you’ll be able to visit GPs soon.

      And again congratulations on your birthday last week.

  7. christopher (sennaboy3)
    8th August 2010, 14:51

    just a quick comment on these two races: have we ever seen such somber podiums on back to back weekends? between Massa & Vettel, you’d think the hangman’s noose was about to come down. watching the F1 Review of ’90 today, it’s striking to see the sheer joy of the drivers as they celebrate compared to today.

  8. Nice trip by Nikolai Vogler & friends & very well written. I wish I could make my dream true in 2011.

  9. Jealous of you Nikolai! Here’s hoping this Niko will get to do the same some day :)

  10. maestrointhesky
    9th August 2010, 12:52

    I was at the Hungaroring only. What an experience though! I didn’t appreciate how deafening they were, but also the gear changes sound like explosions going off on top! Amazing! Going to try and make it an annual event and try a different track each year!

  11. We’ll,
    the friend who is a fan of Fernando says it was team-order, but he think it’s okay. The german fans were not so interested at Hockenheim, but the fans in hungary show their emotions and make thumps down when Fernando went to the grid.

    Thanks for your positve feedback!


    1. Well Fernando did pretty well in Hungary, being closest to the flying bulls and half a second faster than Massa.

      Thanks again for sharing your experiences of that great trip.

  12. I went to the British and Hungarian Grand Prix, not the same, but still :D

  13. 2 German fans – one supporting Alonso and the other Hamilton??? What is wrong with them?!?

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