Formula Fun: Canadian Travels Edition


So, you all already know that I was in Montreal for this past grand prix. But what I shared was mostly a brief of the weekend and not the full experience of what all happened. I decided I would do a day by day recap of my trip, include some words on a few events that I think will shape my writing career from now on. So, if you will excuse me, let me tell you about my vacation to the wonderful city of Montreal. Also, try reading this in the combo Canadian/French accent. It’s a wonderful thing.

We start with Thursday. Which was our first full day in Canada, as we had got in the night before very late. Staying in Old Town Montreal meant navigating the metro to the track. Luckily, the metro is laid out sensibly, almost like a proper city where people can really use public transit to get around. (Looking at you Austin.) But, as we made our way to the Circuit Giles Villeneuve for open house day, I pondered what the trip would be like. I was hoping it would be a great weekend to meet new friends, and make online relationships more real, but my anxiety told me that I would end up alone in my hotel room a lot.
But, as we got to the track, I realized the energy of the city, the crowd, and the latent energy of the circuit wasn’t going to let me be down and out. I was there, and that was all that was going to matter over the course of the weekend. Thursday in Montreal is an open house, which I think more circuits need to embrace. If accessibility for the “poorer” fans is a talking point, then the Canadian Grand Prix is the example that other tracks need to follow. The amount of access to the pits we got was incredible. With the drivers coming and going all through the lane and seeing the cars being built. Lotus was blasting some sweet jams out, and looked to be having a fun time building their cars. Looking at the rest of the weekend, it seemed that mood was key to bringing them some good points.

Also, I managed to add two more drivers to the list of drivers I’ve met. With Nico Hulkenberg taking a quick jaunt around, and the very tiny Will Stevens looking dapper in his Manor gear. Both were adamant about being back in Austin later this year, which is always good to hear.
Thursday night was the first F1 Subreddit meetup, where I met what would be my squad for the rest of the week. Or at least, most of them. It was a long night of getting to know one another, getting drinks, and then in my case, getting peer pressured into dancing with French Canadians who were very tickled by the fact that I was from Texas. I think I might have hurt my bad leg, but it was all in the name of fun. It was also a really good time to shatter any ideas I had about holding back from social things for the weekend. That first night was a very good omen. It was to be a very great weekend.

Friday was maybe the best day of the weekend. Free practice one started as we arrived at the track, and hearing the cars running all around you is still an experience every F1 fan needs. And, where we were seated at turn 2 meant that we were getting a lot of action all day. Whether it be Kimi sliding it through, or a few spins and close calls, it was a great spot to watch all day. That is, until the rain came, in which case it meant that not only was there no running, it meant the longest walk back to the metro. That was sort of miserable. But, hearing the crowd reaction to Lewis stuffing it will always stick with me. But, after escaping the rainy spider hell that the day had turned into, it was time for karting. Reddit karting is no joke. Very competitive. We did a mini grand prix, which consisted of both qualifying and a race. Oh, and did I mention that these were indoor gas karts? Nine horsepower karts, all in various states of repair, meant that the racing was chaotic, fast, and fun. I came in about the middle of the pack in the first race, and then a shitty kart meant second last in the last race. But, it was of course a fantastic time. After that, it was dragging ourselves downtown to Will Buxton’s Tweetup. This night is where I got the most important information and connections of my writing life so far. Will Buxton and ScarbsF1 are both amazing. Very helpful, very interested in helping me out, and just so personable. And of course, taking shots with Fake Charlie Whiting is a highlight of my life so far. I won’t gush too much about what Will and Craig said to me, but I will just say that I can’t wait to speak to them again, because they are amazing. They make you feel like you’ve got this. And, they were more than happy to read my drivel that I posted this past Monday.

Now, Saturday was full of food poisoning and hangover, so I didn’t actually make it to the track. I will just go ahead and skip all the way to Sunday.
Race day was buzzing with an energy that I could never expect. It was all about the race. Hamilton and Rosberg looked set to battle. We had Vettel plowing his way through the field, and we had the two Lotus cars in the best position of the year. Now, with Kimi spinning, Bottas got his first podium of the year for Williams. It was an amazing day, and I can’t wait to go back next year. I urge you all, please go to a race. Try to go to Canada, or COTA. But please, if you ever see a race that you think is boring, you have to know, it is never boring there in person. I can’t wait to share the next race with you all.
 

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