Monday, June  18, 2018
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After a successful 2014 outing to the Canadian stop on the Formula One racing circuit, Luke invited us again, and I again said yes.

In addition to a repeat visit by myself, Luke and Adrienne, this year we had Jenn join us as well. In order to properly prepare for watching the race, we spent several sessions at Luke's house, watching lead-up races. Jenn became surprisingly enthusiastic about it all.

Following essentially the same script as last year, we journeyed to Montreal on the first weekend of June, staying once again at Luke's brother-in-law's house (thanks again, Dave). The F-1 race weekend is a 3-day affair - Friday, Saturday and Sunday - but Jenn and I only decided to attend Saturday and Sunday.

I'll spare you the background about Formula One, the race venue of the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, and various other background notes. If you are interested, all of that is covered on the first page of my 2014 Canadian GP report.
courtesy JInnes
Metro Approach
Ile Ste-Helene
Heading to the entrance
On a beautiful but fairly chilly Saturday Morning, Luke, Jenn and I journeyed via Montreal's subway system from his brother-in-law's house in Laval to the Jean-Drapeau Metro station on the Ile Saint-Helene. From here, we met up with Adrienne and began the long walk to our seats. We had chosen seats in a very similar locale to last year - one stand over, but still at the same turn 1-turn 2 complex on the track.
Across the Cosmos
Brilliant clear morning
Walking the 2.5 kilometre distance from the subway station to our seats quickly warmed us up against the cool temperatures. For the first part of the walk, all sorts of racing-related booths, vendors, and paraphernalia lined our path. Then, as we approached our stands, way out on the far western end of the venue, we reached the end of the general admission area, and we entered a large zone to the west only opened to designated seat ticket holders. Much of the two-island Jean-Drapeau Park complex (where the racetrack is located) has a very pleasant pastoral setup - trees, parkland, bike paths, beaches. After passing beyond the general admission area, walking to our stands was literally a walk in the park.
Many Stalls
F-18 cockpit
Park-like access
For this year's Grand Prix, we chose Stand 11 - companion to nearby Stand 12 and the only two stands at the turn 1 / turn 2 complex at the far west end of the track. We had been seated at Stand 12 the year before, and while they had provided an excellent vantage point, we had looked over to stand 11 and thought that it might have an even better view.
Arriving stand 11
Stand 11 View
F1 Practice
As we took our seats, I couldn't help but be impressed by the panoramic view they provided. As we suspected, stand 11 did provide a better (although only slightly) view of the turn complex. Chief among the view improvements was the ability to look partway up the start/finish straight and into the pits. It simply provided a bit more to see than stand 12 (although stand 12 was/is still excellent). Definitely one of the best spots to race-watch along the circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Virtually minutes after we arrived, the final Formula One practice session of the weekend got underway (the first two had been on Friday, the day before). The meticulously-machined and colorful F-1 cars roared by, attempting to warm their tires on this quite cool day.
Pit Marshalls
Force India
Max Verstappen
Felipe Nasr
Live Action
Valtteri Bottas
Photographer's perch
Towards the start
A/V in the air
2-3 straight
Tree View
Practice went smoothly until team Sauber driver Felipe Nasr lost control of his car and nosed into a concrete wall along the start/finish straight. As it turned out, he was vigorously trying to heat up his tires and had lost control. Felipe was unhurt but his car looked like quite a mess.
courtesy JInnes
Bright Red Ferrari
Jenson Button
Toro Rosso and Force India
courtesy JInnes
Kimi's Rear
Felipe's boo-boo
Electronic red flag
Overall, practice went pretty much as expected. The fast teams were fast (Mercedes, Ferrari, Williams), and the strugglers struggled as expected (Marussia, Mclaren Honda). So far, it was not looking like any huge upsets were in the works. The best shot at excitement seemed to be with Ferrari - they did seem to be catching up to the Mercedes. Would this weekend be the weekend that revealed a true challenge?
Packed Stands
Dynamic Jenson
Nico Closeup
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