Welcome to Part Two of a special piece looking at Formula One from a live perspective, and we are continuing from where the first part finished, so if yet to read Part One then please click here.
Practice and Qualifying
You awake early on Friday and must pinch yourself immediately to remind yourself that you are at the Italian Grand Prix, before quickly getting dressed and ensuring that you have your tickets on you.
When arriving at the track and walking towards the entrance, you are immediately surrounded by posters, banners and fellow F1 fans all gathering for the big weekend as if you’ve arrived home.
Soon you are hearing the engines of support race cars blazing away as you pass through security and purchase an official programme as you set sight on the fan zone, which contains everything from team merchandise to pit stop simulations and opportunities to meet the drivers.
Then of course you grab whatever you need and head to your seat for the main action as you catch your very first glimpse of the track when climbing the stairs, and it is the track that you’ve seen on tv for years now in front of your very own eyes.
You find your seat and take everything in from the smell to the noise to the atmosphere and on track action, whilst looking at the first car roaring into life to see if it belongs to your team or driver as they leave the pits.
At that point, you suddenly accept that you’re actually there because hearing and seeing those cars live is like nothing else as the ground vibrates and all noise is downed out by the car as the crowd descends into silence.
First and Second Practices go by quicker than you thought they would as the F2, F3 and Porsche Super Cup help fill up the day, before thoughts turn to Saturday and Qualifying as you ponder what the grid could look like.Embed from Getty Images
As is traditional, qualifying is always packed as you see the cars venture out in anger for the first time at close to 200mph.
Everything looks like a blur at those speeds but you still could tell which team it was as we whittle the field down for Q3.
Finally the session you’ve been looking foward to begins; Q3 as the frontrunners all head out.
You then anxiously look at the screens and talk to those around you that have the live timing app out, trying to figure out who is where and how they compare to other drivers.
The first times are done and it’s a Ferrari on pole as Monza erupts in sheer joy with everyone in red on their feet cheering every time that a Scuderia flies past.
You can feel the emotion coming out of the seams of the whole track and after much confusion.
Soon after much confusion we have the pole postion decided and it’s a Ferrari on pole much to the Tifosi’s delight, although Mercedes are right in between them.
It’s race day and your heart is racing at the thought of seeing over 10,000 horse power thundering around the track for 53 laps.
The red lights come up one by one and its lights out and they’re away as all 20 cars fly past you as they jostle for early position.
The top two fighting closely for the lead, everyone is on their feet shouting and hoping their driver is on top, even after the pitstops as you get excited watching the strategies play out in front of your eyes.
Your driver is then suddenly very close to the lead as Leclerc leads Hamilton through turns 1,2 and 3 then someone goes off and you hope they haven’t crashed before seeing both carry on as everything calms down.
By the last few laps, you know who is going to win as the Tifosi are screaming in joy at the thought of a Ferrari winning for the first time since 2010, and the first time that Ferrari have won the opening and closing Italian GPs of a decade since the 70s.
As the checkered flag falls, everyone begins to erupt in delight as they battle for position to get close to the podium, whether it by climbing fences, running and diving through gaps.
Smoke grenades go off and people take souvenirs from marker boards to tyre marbles as the top three head out onto the podium that overlooks the track as Monza once again erupts in pride as Leclerc lifts the winner’s trophy.
Soon afterwards, everyone go their separate ways beaming with happiness and hoping for more of the same next year.
Whilst others head off to the airport to catch a flight home, I go back to the hotel with a sense of sadness because F1 is my second home and it will be a while before I attend another race.
For this is how F1 feels to me because it’s pure passion and admiration for the drivers and the sport in itself and keeps us going again and again.
I will therefore end with this if you’re thinking of going to a race weekend and considering Monza.
The atmosphere alone is worth it because it is just amazing and I would like to thank my other half, Louise for taking me back home.