Having spent a lifetime watching Formula 1 from the comfort of an armchair or from track side spectator embankments the 2011 British Grand Prix marked my first experience of the Formula 1 paddock as an accredited journalist.
With high expectations of what to expect I was not disappointed by the experience. Having been at Silverstone less than a month earlier I was shocked by the subtle differences within the paddock for both series, and having seen fresh coats of paint brushed onto the walls of the Silverstone Wing in June I was pleased to see that the work was all but completed on the £27m redevelopment.
Having been at the Spanish Grand Prix as a fan less then two months earlier I was shocked by just how different my perception of speed was at Silverstone standing just feet from the race track at various stages of the weekend. Standing track side at corners like Copse and Becketts gave an amazing insight into the performance of a modern day Formula 1 car.
Inside the paddock was a similarly eye opening experience with access freely available to all motorhomes and to everyone within the paddock. It was this access that I found the most surprising part of the weekend. We are all used to seeing Formula 1 as the ultimate “closed shop” but the freedom with which everyone is readily available within the paddock is completely at odds with this.
Personally the highlight for me was to be allowed onto pitlane when there was no on-track action. On Sunday morning I spent an hour walking up and down the pits admiring the machinery and peering into garages.
Below is a small gallery of images from the weekend. To see more photos from this weekend click here: