Sat | Dec 10, 2016

Formula One's 'wow' factor

Published:Monday | November 10, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg of Germany steers his car ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton of Britain during the Formula One Brazilian Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, yesterday. AP
Security guards hold back fans that invaded the track to celebrate the third place of Williams driver Felipe Massa of Brazil, at the end of the Formula One Brazilian Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, yesterday. Germany's Nico Rosberg fended off a strong charge by Lewis Hamilton to win the race, closing in on his Mercedes teammate in the Formula One title race. Brazil's Massa finished third in front of his home crowd. AP
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SAO PAULO, Brazil: There is only one way to describe watching Formula 1 up close and personal: WOW!

Actually, I take that back; there's hardly an adequate superlative.

Cars zipping by from almost touching distance at break-neck speed, heart-stopping near misses and daring dramatics on the track, pulsating energy pouring from the thousands that fill the stands.

It takes a lot to get me excited, but this Mercedes AMG Formula One team experience sure nailed it!

Yesterday's Brazilian Grand Prix experience at Interlagos in Sao Paulo, made possible by the good folks at Silver Star Motors, was one of the coolest things I've ever experienced - and that's saying a lot.

Having been to several Olympic Games and World Championships, seen some of the biggest European football clubs and players in action, sat in some of the most celebrated stadia in the world, watched the NBA, NFL and so much more from prime locations, I can truly say that Formula One ranks among the most exciting, adrenaline-pumping things I've witnessed.

Honestly, I knew it would have been crazy, but nothing could have prepared me for this.

It all started pretty early actually, 7 a.m. to be exact. A 40-minute drive to the track was followed by another run to the pit lane, where the group (journalists, clients, partners etc. pulled together by Mercedes) watched as crews went through their final preparations for the big race.

intensity and focus

Tyre changes, final tweaks, you could almost see the intensity and focus on detail through their eyes.

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg, who went on to win the race ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton, along with team chief Toto Wolff, both paid visits to the team's Premium Paddock Suite, where we spent most of the day.

"I love it here, this is a special track and special people. Thank you for the support," Nico noted.

The race itself was quite the spectacle. Between Rosberg and Hamilton's mind games, both Ferrari's battling each other for position, Felipe Massa stopping before the wrong crew and all the near misses and spectacular driving, I think I have enough memories to keep me for a lifetime, or maybe until next year's Grand Prix.

They say that the Brazilian Formula One fans are the most passionate, and after watching thousands of fans pack the stands around the meandering track, jumping, singing, waving for 90 minutes and beyond, I'm certainly inclined to believe that.

Massa's podium finish meant the locals had even more reason to celebrate, as they stormed the track after the race singing the Brazilian's name and waving replica helmets of deceased F1 great Aryton Senna, who also hailed from Sao Paulo.

other jamaicans

You know wherever you are, you will probably never be the only Jamaican around, and I was made aware of the presence of another from our noble isle, in the most amusing of circumstances.

So, while Rosberg was going out of his way to interact with the fans, sign autographs and the such, Hamilton, perhaps annoyed by his loss, was in no mood to be bothered.

"Hey, bwoy, Hamilton! How yuh so hype?!," came a shout from the crowd.

A quick glance and it wasn't hard to spot the clearly annoyed Jamaican in the crowd. We certainly stand out wherever we are.

So all in all, it was truly an amazing experience and one that shows just how intense the world of Formula One is.

Kudos to the Mercedes family for all its hard work in bringing not only the Constructors' title, but also the Drivers' championship back to its base.