Trip Start Jun 08, 2011
8Trip End Jun 15, 2011
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Though busy, I expected a larger crowd at the metro station but it is only qualifying, after all - it'll probably be chaos on race day. The atmosphere wasn't quite like I had expected - definitely busy, but there wasn't the real buzz in the air that I hoped for. The support race immediately preceding qualifying involved Porsches - a far cry from the technology of modern F1 cars. The atmosphere improved greatly as the F1 cars hit the track - the sheer power and noise of the engines can only truly be appreciated in person. You can feel the engines reverberate as much as you can hear them ... even with ear plugs, your ears ring with the tone of the engines.
The classic duels between Michael Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen ... one would put in a hot lap capturing pole, only for the other to snatch it away by a tenth of a second. This would go on and on until the the session was closing, and the drivers were besting each other by only five hundredths of a second ... you'd never know was on pole until the very last lap of the session, put in just as time expired.
Anyway ... you'd think that such a trick wouldn't offer much of an advantage over a single lap of qualifying, but there was one session where pole was won by just one thousandth of a second! Broadcasters offered up a graphic showing what a thousandth of a second would mean over the course of a single lap - had the two cars been racing side by side to the finish line, that tiny fraction of a second would have only been a matter of inches! A little slingshot like that could mean the difference between qualifying first or second, which could mean the difference between winning or losing the race, which could result in World Championships being won or lost ... once again, it was epic ...
Montreal is renowned for its festival scene during the summer, and this weekend was crazy around the city - beyond the F1 race, there was Les Francofolies (a famous Francophone and world music festival), and Nuit Blanche sur Tableau Noir (a visual arts festival). The vibe around Montreal was incredible this weekend ... Crescent street was shut down to traffic for the entire weekend and was the centre of the city's F1 celebrations.
Our evening wrapped up at the Beaver Club, and I know what you are all thinking - no, it isn't one of the strip clubs Montreal is famous for! It's actually a pretty renowned restaurant at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth. Overall, the meal was good, but didn't quite live up to the billing, though it did do a good job of highlighting Quebec products and producers. But no matter how good the food may be there ... seriously, who the hell names a restaurant the Beaver Club, especially in Montreal??!?!?!