We were up early! Yay! The plan was to get breakfast at the hotel, jump on Metro, switch to train and get to track all before Free Practice started at 10am. An ambitious task!
We went down to the food area and had some breakfast. I had some scrambled egg and ham thing. It wasn’t nice. I then played it safe with some cereal and coffee. There were lads in the breakfast area too wearing matching gear with “Jenzer” on it. A quick Google search informed me that Jenzer were an GP3 team! Staying in our hotel? How cool is that?! Now I have a GP3 team to care about!
Jumped on the metro and met a couple from London. Didn’t catch their names but they were nice. It was their first Grand Prix and were sitting on the main straight.
We arrived at the train station to try and get our extension tickets but was informed by the lady in the ticket kiosk that we didn’t need one now because it was the Grand Prix weekend. Okay then…
We waited on the train with the English ones and some Irish man came over to me because he heard my accent. Him and his friend come to the Grand Prix every year, and sit on the same seats. One of their sons went to university in Budapest so they know the city well. They were nice enough, though one was a bit, I don’t know, anti tourist trap. For example, the previous day he did a four hour bus journey to see some caves. Dead on. Leona would refer to him as Time Team in conversation (because he looked like someone who would be on Time Team!)
Anyway, they informed us that there was a bus at Mogyoród that would take us to the back of the circuit! Happy days. They also told the English couple that the best stop for them would be Szilasliget, because their grandstands were near each other so they stole our new buddies. Awh.
On the train the conductor came and checked our tickets. No problems for us, but the English couple had to get extension tickets because they had a 72hr pass from yesterday instead of the 24hr pass. It made no sense! Anyway, we waved them off at Szilasliget and went on to Modyoród.
When we got off the train there was a bus and some taxis. We jumped on the bus and it left quite promptly. It still left us miles away from the circuit which was no use though and had a long enough walk. We should have got a taxi!
We got to the perimeter wall of the circuit and for the third time we missed the start of the F1 weekend! At least I could see through cracks in the wall. We eventually got in and headed to our grandstand.
Finding our seats was a bit of a pain. First problem was the back of the tickets had swapped Bronze 1 and Bronze 2 compared to the website (we were in Bronze 1). When we got to the grandstands they were in the right order again and clearly labeled bit a big sign. The big signs didn’t stop people being stupid all weekend though.
Another pain was that the rows were labeled in a silly way. The numbers were written on the ground beside the seats, but it wasn’t clear if that number was for the seats they were beside or the row behind them. This lead to alot of people (at one point myself included) to go to the bottom of the stand and count the rows.
This confusion would lead to alot of “You’re in my seat”, “No, it’s my seat” nonsense. The first instance being when we tried to sit down. Some big moustached German fella told us we were supposed to be the row in front. He left after FP1 and we thought he was someone with a general ticket chancing his arm!
Watched some practice and then went for a walk to try and get some photos. I learnt very quickly that I didn’t have a big enough lens. Boo! While taking photos I noticed the red flags and checked the screen to see Perez’s car upside down. During the red flag (after we knew Perez was okay) I went to get some beer for me and Leona – it was getting very hot! Beer was quite cheap at this track (only 800FT) and the draught beer was very hoppy and tasty (I can’t remember if it was Dreher or Soproni).
We watched the rest of FP1 and GP2 practice. It was getting too hot, so afterward we tried to seek some shelter and get some lunch. Food was more expensive than beer, and wasn’t that nice. I had some chicken thing and wedges and Leona had some fries. This cost about 3500FT. We sat in the food tent to avoid the hot sun but it was still warm (my t-shirt was saturated with sweat). We then went outside again to have a lie down near a tree to keep cool and have a quick snooze.
Back to our proper seats for FP2 – which I may add had a fantastic view. Not much happened during the session. Though at one point we could see smoke over the trees to our right and then noticed on the screen that Riccardo’s engine had blown.
After practice we walked to the final corner and caught the start of the GP3 qualifying. We watched it for a few minutes before we psyched ourselves up for the walk back to the train station. It was a miserable walk in the heat but we made it. I was drenched in sweat. I felt horrible. When we made it back to the hotel I ordered a bottle of coke from the bar with ice. It was the nicest and most refreshing thing I ever had in my life!
After the necessary shower and change of clothes we left to to Oktogon and get something to eat and go to a ruin bar. On the lift down a guy in the lift gave me a \m/ because I was wearing a Slayer T-Shirt. He was wearing a Kimi Raikkionen hat so I asked him if he was at practice. He said he wasn’t for ‘personal reasons’ but was planning to go the next day. He then asked if we fancied sharing a taxi with him and his wife to qualifying. He was told it would only cost 12000FT – split four ways it wouldn’t be so bad.
We agreed and bumped into his wife outside. We found out that the ‘personal reasons’ were that she traveled to Budapest from Sweden to have major surgery two days before.. and were going to the Grand Prix that weekend.. Okay… But she recommended a Mexican place in Oktogon so we left them to it and had Mexican.
We jumped on the Tram and got off at Oktogon. The Mexican place was Arriba Taqueria. I had a burrito. It was okay but the chili cheese poppers were really good. Leona consulted the book and chose a ruin bar to go to. I ended up getting us lost and went to a bar call Instant instead. It was a cool wee bar. We stayed there for a few hours. I was on the Dreher but Leona had a few cocktails.
Once we left Leona wouldn’t let me lead the way because we had got lost before, but because of all the Mojitos she got us even more lost. We managed to find a tram stop and got the tram back to the hotel, where Leona pretended to do pull ups while bemused locals looked on.