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The Unofficial F1 World Tour 2010 - Part 1 - The best bits of Alex Snell's Formula One travels

Published by Alex J Snell

We've been following the progress of Alex Snell since he embarked on his globe-trotting adventure, but now we have teamed up to bring you the best bits of his journey so far right here on Sidepodcast. Thanks to Alex, and you can follow the blog directly, or his Twitter account to keep right up to date.

19 countries, 5 continents, 11 teams, 22 drivers, and one guy...... Hi there! Thanks for taking the time to find out who on earth I am, and what this is all about! Well, let's start with the easy stuff first. Me? I'm just like you. I'm an ordinary guy who happens to be a big F1 fan. This year though, I won't be watching the Grand Prix from the well-worn comfort of my lazy-boy. Nope, I'll be at the circuit. In fact I'll be at all of the circuits, for every race, for every session, and for every lap.

Race 1 - Bahrain

Overlooking the Virgin Racing and Lotus Racing garages in Bahrain pit complex.  The track can be seen weaving its way through the desert in the background.
Credit: Alex J Snell

Arrived at the circuit just as the first engines were firing up - gloriously deafening! Had a result with my seat too, it's about 10 metres ahead of the start line - perfect view for the start of the race! Also managed to bag Sutil & Liuzzi's autographs which was a bonus!

Anyhow, Button's just fired up his engine so I'll wrap this up.

Jeez, what a sound!!

The Three Ferrari Amigos arrive for duty.
Credit: Alex J Snell

Had a good start to the day, on the advice of one of the official photographers we plonked ourselves in front of the entrance by the stage, why? Because this the entrance all the teams use, we managed to see the Ferrari engineers, the guys from Lotus, Cirgin, and Red Bull - so pretty cool.

I've also managed to add the autographs of both Virgin drivers, so that's 4 down and 20 to go for the full set!

Needless to say it's scorching here again, and I'm loving it! Not having to check the weather before you go out (cause it's always hot!) is blissful!

Teams busily work on their cars prior to the start of the 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix.
Credit: Alex J Snell

Seeing the race live was even more exhilarating and awe-inspiring than I thought it would be. The sheer force of the noise generated by a full grid of F1 cars revving their engines is something everyone should experience, F1 fan or not!

As for the actual race, I fear my purchase of a Vettel shirt may have jinxed the poor chap! What I know for sure though, is that the several hundred Ferrari fans I was surrounded by took great pleasure in hearing his ailing exhaust note, cue me hiding under my cap (also with Vettel emblazoned upon it - doh!).

Race 2 - Australia

I've been mostly getting adjusted to the time, which thankfully I'm up to speed with now! I have at least managed to do a little exploring though, despite only getting out of bed at 2pm yesterday afternoon!

I've had a good stroll around Central Melbourne, which I have to say is great! It's full of things to do. At the moment there's a food & wine festival, a flower show (yeah I know, lame, but it still counts!), a beer festival (that's more like it hey?), and at the moment I'm sitting outside the ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image). I'm tempted at this point to pretend I'm up on my arts, but the truth is it was the first place I stumbled upon that had free wireless!

The Melbourne street circuit's undulating asphalt offers drivers a rough ride.
Credit: Alex J Snell

Making my way into the circuit it was immediately apparent how different the atmosphere was from Bahrain. Now, there was nothing wrong with Bahrain, but the heat meant there was only one central place where everyone congregated, and only a few covered grandstands to choose from. Whereas Albert Park is what it says on the tin - a park! So you can wander around practically the whole track perimeter, making sure you don't miss any of the great views (of which there are loads with the lake inside the circuit loop, and the Melbourne city skyline glistening in the distance). It's also great to get so close to the track, you're literally only a couple of metres from the trackside, with nothing but some industrial chicken-wire between you and the cars!

Two Ferrari cars await unboxing in the Melbourne garage.
Credit: Alex J Snell

I heard someone shouting my name, looking up it was the guys from @ausgrandprix. Before I knew it, I'd been handed a high-vis jacket, bustled through a metal gate and found myself standing in the pit lane - yes, the real pit lane!!

What followed was 20 minutes of sheer fanboy bliss! Not only did I have the opportunity to walk the pitlane, but I was shown around all the garages, within touching distance of the actual race cars that were parked in them - unbelievable!

So when you see Schumi or Alonso chatting to his engineers in his garage over the race weekend - well, that's where I was this afternoon!

Vitlay Petrov takes his excessively bright Renault around the street track.
Credit: Alex J Snell

Only 2 hours till race time! Fingers and toes crossed as it's not raining at the moment, but the gloom is pretty ominous! The V8's have just finished up and I think that half the Aussie fans came for them alone! They absolutely love it over here, and I can see why, action galore! Proven by the fact that there is now a small army of marshals clearing up the lumps of bodywork the cars lost during the race!

As soon as the race came to an end, the gates onto the circuit were opened and I bolted, as did everyone else. Some were stopping to pick up bits of rubber from the track, others to stand on the finish line, or the grid slots, some just didn't have a clue and found themselves caught by the surging tide of bodies! I, however, followed the majority and went for a quick sprint up the main straight. Which turned out to be an inspired choice as I just managed to catch Jenson as he sprayed the champers - awesome!

After that I made my way along the pitlane fence, narrowly missing getting on the TV over Jake's shoulder (next time Humphrey!). Oh, and I have to say thanks to the random Lotus mechanic who came out of the garage to hand out free bottles of Lotus branded water - thoroughly decent guy (and thinking about it I should have kept hold of that bottle - doh!).

Stay tuned for the next chapter in Alex's adventure, and check out more great pictures on his Flickr account.

All content in the series The Unofficial F1 World Tour 2010