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Published: September 30th 2017
Hearty Breakfast Before F1 Qualifying ...
... it's good being so close Marche St. Jacques! Mangoes, peaches, grapes, juice ... there's also a killer bakery at the market, La Premiere Moisson - the croissant and pain au chocolat were pretty average, but the bread was phenomenal, covered in sesame seeds.
Geo: 45.5008, -73.5258
18,000 RPM - that's how fast F1 engines rev. They are LOUD, up to 140 dB in the cockpit!!! Eating breakfast this morning, we could hear the F1 cars doing practice runs, even though the B&B is a good 5 km from the track. It definitely cranked up the anticipation several levels, as if it wasn't already high enough! The only thing keeping me from immediately running out the door and heading to the track was the yummy breakfast from Marche St. Jacques, highlighted by some truly stellar bread.
Though busy, I expected a larger crowd at the metro station but it is only qualifying, after all - it'll probably be chaos on race day. The atmosphere wasn't quite like I had expected - definitely busy, but there wasn't the real buzz in the air that I hoped for. The support race immediately preceding qualifying involved Porsches - a far cry from the technology of modern F1 cars. The atmosphere improved greatly as the F1 cars hit the track - the sheer power and noise of the engines can only truly be appreciated in person. You can feel the engines reverberate as much as you can hear them ...
... some of that awesome bread slathered with some Boursin and stuffed with some fresh little shrimp from the market. Better to pack a lunch to the races than get gouged at the track!
even with ear plugs, your ears ring with the tone of the engines.
Qualifying itself was a bit of a dud - surprise, surprise, Sebastian Vettel qualified first yet again. Though Ferrari qualifying 2nd and 3rd was a bit unexpected given their struggles so far this year. But still ... ever since F1 went to the three-session knockout qualifying, it's been BORING. It makes you yearn for years past, when the cars would do flying lap after flying lap, keeping you on the edge of your seat for the entire 60-minute session as lap times continued to drop.
The classic duels between Michael Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen ... one would put in a hot lap capturing pole, only for the other to snatch it away by a tenth of a second. This would go on and on until the the session was closing, and the drivers were besting each other by only five hundredths of a second ... you'd never know was on pole until the very last lap of the session, put in just as time expired.
During the height of the epic battles between these two former World Champions, all the stops were pulled out - I
remember one race where Ferrari sent Schumacher out immediately behind Rubens Barrichello, his teammate at the time. Ferrari's idea was to have Schumacher slipstream behind Barrichello as they crossed the start/finish line, in order to slingshot him into the start of a hot lap, giving him the speed boost provided by the drag reduction provided. Of course, this completely wasted a lap for Barrichello, but we all know he was always just Schumacher's bitch while at Ferrari, right?
Anyway ... you'd think that such a trick wouldn't offer much of an advantage over a single lap of qualifying, but there was one session where pole was won by just one thousandth of a second! Broadcasters offered up a graphic showing what a thousandth of a second would mean over the course of a single lap - had the two cars been racing side by side to the finish line, that tiny fraction of a second would have only been a matter of inches! A little slingshot like that could mean the difference between qualifying first or second, which could mean the difference between winning or losing the race, which could result in World Championships being won or lost ... once again,
View from the Grandstand ...
... that's the Biosphere in the distance.
it was epic ...
Today's qualifying session had absolutely NONE of that excitement ... not that I've got anything against Vettel, it's just getting boring seeing him at the top of the timesheet all the time, especially since he was never seriously threatened by anyone else during the session. The outcome was never really in doubt; it was pretty obvious that it was Vettel's pole position to lose. Sigh ... hopefully there's more excitement at tomorrow's race!
Montreal is renowned for its festival scene during the summer, and this weekend was crazy around the city - beyond the F1 race, there was Les Francofolies (a famous Francophone and world music festival), and Nuit Blanche sur Tableau Noir (a visual arts festival). The vibe around Montreal was incredible this weekend ... Crescent street was shut down to traffic for the entire weekend and was the centre of the city's F1 celebrations.
But with the good comes the bad - F1 is a glamorous sport, and attracts the world's jet-set crowd. Crescent street and St. Catharines street - though fun for a bit, the scene got a bit too plastic tonight, which is to be expected from an event that
attracts millionaires and billionaires from all over the globe.
Our evening wrapped up at the Beaver Club, and I know what you are all thinking - no, it isn't one of the strip clubs Montreal is famous for! It's actually a pretty renowned restaurant at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth. Overall, the meal was good, but didn't quite live up to the billing, though it did do a good job of highlighting Quebec products and producers. But no matter how good the food may be there ... seriously, who the hell names a restaurant the Beaver Club, especially in Montreal??!?!?!
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