Samuel, 13, is one of the GOSH patients who got the treat of a lifetime recently, with an exclusive behind-the-scenes trip to the 2012 Formula 1 Santander British Grand Prix! Read about his day of adventure meeting Formula 1™ heroes.
We arrived at Silverstone at 7.30, to be greeted by Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity staff. We had a quick breakfast (too excited to eat much!) and we were then whisked off and given paddock passes, which gave us access to the paddock area. We were then given a pit garage tour of the Mercedes Petronas garage!
My partner in crime Ollie and myself were given the chance to hold Nico Rosberg’s steering wheel, as the engineer specially took it off for us to hold – £35,000 for a steering wheel!!
A really nice man called Steve gave us a talk on the working of modern F1™, as we walked around the paddock area, and showed us inside the Red Bull Energy Bar (WOW!). We walked down the paddock area looking at all the other hospitality units – the most impressive were McLaren, Ferrari & Red Bull.
As we were walking in the pits, we spotted Lewis Hamilton just about to go into the McLaren hospitality unit and got a photo with him – me with Lewis!!
The noise and the buzz
After that, we left the paddock and went to watch the final practice – my first chance to hear an F1™ engine in action – WHAT A FANTASTIC NOISE!! We wandered over to Copse Corner for the 1st of the 3 qualifying sessions. We could soon see the buzz you get from being a fan, let alone a driver!!!
The speeds are unbelievable so much so that you don’t know how the cars stay planted and the drivers so committed (and this was in the rain)! But, almost as soon as Q1 had started it was over. : (
During the interval, we made our way to the top of Wellington straight, one of the fastest parts of the circuit, and where DRS (drag reduction system) is enabled. THE SPEEDS WERE PHENOMENAL, AND WHAT A NOISE, but the race was called off with a Red Flag, due to heavy rainfall!
Meeting the drivers
Once the qualifying was over we headed back to the GOSH unit, where we eagerly awaited what lay ahead of us, the chance of going to a signing, which was our chance to meet most of the drivers.
Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber, Kimi Raikkonen and Michael Schumacher were there, but neither of the McLaren boys had turned up, so our group leader got us in for another paddock session, to play the world’s most expensive game of hide and seek!
Shortly after arriving in the paddock, we were swarmed by pit crews and technicians, but still no drivers, and we only had 10 minutes left before we had to leave. But soon enough we started to spot some drivers, like Paul Di Resta and Felipe Massa, but still, no McLaren!
We all started to lose hope and admit that McLaren were not only fast, but also very good at hiding! With only 2 minutes we started to panic, but the boys came out to play with just 1 minute left of paddock time. It was one of the best few minutes of my life with my 2 favourite drivers, Jenson and Lewis!
Thank you soooo much to all the helpers involved, and for letting me have this fantastic experience, it was AMAZING – the day, the signing and the extra time in the paddock! Thank you.
Love Sam xxxxx
On Tuesday 4 July, members of the F1™ community, including F1™ drivers and celebrities came together at Battersea Evolution, for the eighth F1™ Party in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity to celebrate the official launch of the 2012 FORMULA 1 SANTANDER BRITISH GRAND PRIX. The event raised £540,000 in vital funds for a new surgery centre at Great Ormond Street Hospital, bringing the total raised for the charity so far by the F1™ community to over £3million.