My colleague’s friend had arranged to meet us at 11am and she and her husband turned up at the hotel on time.
I emptied the ‘loot’ in their car’s boot and she gave me an envelope to pass to my colleague. Sounded very sleazy but all above board. My colleague’s friend seemed to have lost her accent and sounded more Chinese than Malaysian. They wanted to give us a ride to the F1 circuit but we declined their kind offer since it was too early and we wanted to grab some lunch.
Like the day before, we visited Yang’s fried dumplings (小杨生煎), one of the famous dumpling chains in Shanghai.
As there was no seats inside the restaurant, we decided to buy takeaway.
A few units down there was a noodle shop and we decided that we could eat there before our trek to the circuit.
A local guy who was sharing the same table as us noticed that we are from Singapore and started chatting with us in English. I was genuinely surprised by his rather fluent English. He asked about Singapore’s weather and we asked about Shanghai’s. Apparently the unusually warm weather was not the norm in mid-April.
It was a scrum getting metro tickets; many of the machines either couldn’t take notes or had ran out of change. After getting our tickets with much effort, we were not able to enter the gantry and had to go to a service counter. Annoyingly a middle-aged cut my queue and shoved his card from the side just when it was our turn. Not cool at all.
There was a long walk at the interchange between metro lines 2 and 11 and most of the commuters were spectators at F1 like us. There were entrepreneurial vendors who were selling ear plugs on-board the crowded train; 10 CNY for a pair was still quite reasonable.
Being a veteran from the previous year’s China GP, Ying got us to buy the return metro tickets first before exiting the station. Since officially no outside food was allowed, we finished our already cold 生煎包 before entering the circuit.
The security check was crap; we managed to walk through without getting our bags checked. Lesson: never make eye contact with the security staff.
As it was still early we walked around the fans’ area. Despite all the dying animals, there were still plenty of die-hard racing fans who made the trip to Shanghai.
Shanghai International Circuit was the fourth track that I had been to (after Marina Bay Street Circuit, Istanbul Park and Sepang) and it was safe to say that Singapore’s street circuit remains as my favorite.
After enough milling around, we walked for around 10 minutes to Turn 1 where our seats (780 CNY each) were located. Before going up the stands, we picked up half a dozen of ice-cold Tsingtaos for 50 CNY. As far as I could see, no security staff bothered to stop the guys who were passing cartons of smuggled beers over the fence and these peddlers were having pretty good business.
There were attempts to create Mexican waves before the race started; I thought that they were quite successful. I had problems finding the frequency of the live commentary but luckily Ying intervened.
Since what happened at the race can be found here, I would just share some pictures that we took during the race.
The view from the seats were not bad; although we couldn’t see the pit action, we got to see several over-takings at Turn 1.
It had been an unusual warm weekend at Shanghai but the cold winds midway through the race which forced us put on all our layers. Strange weather indeed.
We didn’t wait for the national anthems to be played before getting off our seats and made for the exit. It would be a long way back to Singapore….