When We Almost Made It To The Monaco Grand Prix

Pictures of the Indian Grand Prix at the Budh International Circuit yesterday, brought back memories of the Monte Carlo Grand Prix held on 26th May this year. No, we didn’t have the good luck to watch it. However, we were in Monaco exactly the week before the event. Which meant, we got to see, first-hand, the preparations that went into a race at one of the most expensive, stylish places in the world.

But first, why my enchantment with the Circuit de Monaco? To be honest, I have never been much of a sports person. My little love for the game of Cricket too waned when Hansie Cronje admitted to falling prey to the lure of quick money. That was a long time ago. Jayanta introduced me to Formula One races though. Post our marriage, he’d take a keen interest in my gardening and would help me with the procuring of saplings, plant food in Gurgaon, a place I was completely new to. And in return, would want me to share his love for the motor races. And so, way back in the year 2005, I saw the Monaco Circuit for the first time on television. And loved it instantly!!! What a challenging route. And what beautiful views.

God willed that we get a chance to see this very route during our summer vacation this year. We were in France for a week, and the weekend before the Monaco Grand Prix, we were staying at Nice with Cannes and Monaco in our itinerary.

It had been raining in Monaco since morning, and was, therefore, somewhat cold. Woollens and rain gear in place, we refused to be held up by rain. By the way, we were unaware of the Monaco race schedule. Imagine Jayant’s surprise and excitement, then, when we discovered that preparations were on to make the streets ready for D-Day the very next week. We walked up to the bay where the team garages were. The big boards mentioned the names of Michael Schumacher, Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso … Jayant was in F1 heaven – again. We walked along the Paddock & Pits waving to some the team members, posing with scores of other tourists who were equally excited. We saw the VIP stands, went round the tight chicanes, past the (in)famous tunnels and next to the million dollar yachts belonging to the ‘who’s who’.

Was happy to see Jayant’s beaming face all through our little exploration. The Monaco Palace could wait. This couldn’t. We hung around for a good two hours before we finally resumed our sight-seeing at Monaco.

A dream came true that day. Well, partially. 🙂

Also read — A Braggart’s Account Of His First Grand Prix Experience — F1 in Noida in 2011