Leon van Gasteren travelled from his home in The Netherlands to the 2019 British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Here’s his report!
Every September, after the European Formula 1 season ends, I begin deciding which circuits I’ll visit the next year. Living in the Netherlands, I am in the fortunate position of being able to easily reach many races in Europe, so I’ve already been to many beautiful circuits like the Nurburgring, Spa-Francorchamps, Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Monza, Hockenheim, Monaco and the Red Bull Ring. The disadvantage of having so much choice is that certain historic circuits were still on my Formula 1 bucket list, including Silverstone. Along with Monaco, Monza and Spa, Silverstone is a classic circuit with loads of history. So many special moments in motorsport happened here over the years. I decided that 2019 was the year I had to finally go to the British Grand Prix.
Because I had to go to a wedding on Friday, we were unable to attend the first two practice sessions at Silverstone. We left as early as possible on Saturday morning and flew to London Gatwick as it had the earliest flight from Amsterdam. We didn’t expect that we’d make it to the circuit in time for FP3 as we were flying with check-in luggage, had to pick up a rental car and then drive another 2 hours to Silverstone. But everything went well and we arrived at the campsite next to Silverstone without traffic jams at 10:15! Lucky us. We had reserved a camping spot in advance at Litchlake Farm near the main circuit entrance. Fortunately, we had made reservations in advance because the campsite sold out a few weeks before the grand prix. You may not associate camping with the glamour of Formula 1, but I think every F1 fan needs to stay at a trackside campsite at least once! The atmosphere is fantastic, especially at Silverstone. It also saves you the time and stress of getting to and from the circuit every day, and you get to meet Formula 1 fans from all over the world.
After we installed ourselves at the campsite we quickly went to the circuit. A major advantage of Silverstone is that there is a free choice of grandstands on both Friday and Saturday (if you have a grandstand ticket, not with General Admission). We wanted to see as much of the circuit as possible, so we chose to view FP3 from Abbey, F1 qualifying from Club A, the Formula 2 feature race from Maggots + Copse and the historic Formula 1 race from International Pit Straight. There was always something to do between sessions, with entertainment zones, the main stage with bands and driver interviews and an excellent selection of food and drink. We went back to the campsite at 19:30 to have dinner and enjoy the entertainment. It was a short night for us after such a long day, but we knew we could sleep a little bit longer on Sunday without missing any of the action.
After a filling English breakfast, it was time to go to the circuit. There was a packed schedule on Sunday before the main event started at 14:10; we watched races from Formula 3, Formula 2 and Porsche Supercup, plus Pirelli Hot Laps, the Formula 1 drivers’ parade and the Red Arrows air show!
We had tickets for the Luffield grandstand, which was a good choice. Silverstone did not disappoint and we got to see another classic race. Hamilton took his 80th victory and a record 6th British victory on home soil. We also had another breathtaking fight between Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen, both surely future World Champions!
After the race, we took the opportunity to do a track walk and were entertained until late in the evening with good music, Formula 1 driver interviews (Verstappen, Sainz, Russell, Norris, Hamilton) and an exciting cricket final (England became world champion). A festive end to a fantastic Formula 1 weekend!
Positives & Negatives
- Good grandstand views
- Free Friday and Free Saturday for grandstand ticket holders
- Large general admission zone
- Good entertainment + catering
- Great Campsites
- Tickets are expensive
- Environment is less inspiring than, for example, Spa or Monaco