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British Grand Prix, Silverstone 1998: F1 free practice day (Friday 10 July)

Views of the paddock (from the wrong side of the fence!)

[PHOTO: McLaren 2-seater: 98kB]

Above: The two-seater McLaren (a sneak preview of what ITV viewers saw the following day when Murray Walker & Martin Brundle’s drive in it was shown)!

[PHOTO: Jacques and Max: 23kB]

Above: Jacques Villeneuve, sporting purple hair at a race meeting for the first time that weekend, chats with FIA president Max Mosley outside the Williams transporter.

[PHOTO: Schuey waving for the camera: 52kB]

Above: Michael Schumacher had just been ferried to the trade mall area of the circuit near the Autosport Tower, for a live interview which I listened to on Silverstone Radio whilst standing with my camera at the fence. Soon after it finished, predictably he turned up and came through the gates back into the paddock; he wasn’t signing autographs but I managed to catch him when he turned to acknowledge the chorus of Michael, over here! calls.

[PHOTO: Jacques signing programmes: 56kB]

Above: Jacques Villeneuve signing autographs for the lucky people with paddock passes who get to go on the other side of the fence from ordinary fans! But JV did come and sign some of our programmes too.

[PHOTO: Damon looking a bit glum: 28kB]

Above: Damon Hill doesn’t look very happy, in fact I was rather surprised that he didn’t make any effort even to acknowledge his fans who were waiting there for him, rather just walking straight past with a glum expression. Even his friend Peter Boutwood shows a glimmer more happiness! Last year and previously, I’ve heard second-hand that Damon’s been extremely friendly and outgoing to the fans (as he was when I saw him at Thruxton, see Damon Hill page); I’m sorry that this is my only picture showing him other than in the car. Still, his next day was better as he qualified 7th for the race, but in the (very wet) race he was the first retirement when he spun coming out of the 2nd-gear Brooklands corner on lap 13.

[PHOTO: Ralf in casual clothes: 54kB]

Ralf Schumacher wearing a lovely jumper...

[PHOTO: Johnny Herbert (fence got in the way): 60kB]

Johnny Herbert, cheerful as ever (despite his increasing problems in the Sauber team), came over to sign pieces of paper for his fans; he’s seen here directing them to the designated ‘Autographs’ hole in the wire fence.

[PHOTO: Heinz-Harald Frenzten: 59kB]

Above: Heinz-Harald Frentzen took the time to sign autographs for everyone who wanted one. His pairing with Damon Hill for 1999 at Jordan combines the two dryest wits and finest gentlemen in F1.

[PHOTO: Jean close-up, damn fence in the way again: 55kB]

Above: Jean Alesi. I wish they didn’t have to have that fence there...

[PHOTO: Alex poses for someone else’s photo: 56kB]

Above: As the sun sets at 9 pm, Alex Wurz is chased out to the FOA (Formula One Association) car-park, where he patiently agrees to stand and be photographed with one of his many fans. Eddie Irvine maintains that When we’re at a race weekend, there should be a rule that you don’t stop drivers for autographs or pictures — y’know, we’re very busy, we’ve got a job to do.

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