Apr.11 (GMM/Inautonews.com) The quirkiness of the Chinese fans spilled over at the scene of the 2015 race in Shanghai.
Even before travelling to the sprawling city, world champion Lewis Hamilton was bracing for the unique fan experience.
“I don’t know how they know but from the moment we land at the airport they know we’re there,” he smiled.
“I go to a restaurant, they beat me there, and then I leave and they beat me back to the hotel,” Hamilton beamed. “I don’t know how they do it.”
Drivers are showered with trinkets and treats wherever they go, but Nico Rosberg admitted to France’s RMC Sport that the enthusiasm went into overdrive earlier this week.
“What was most impressive was that they (the fans) were in my hotel,” he revealed. “I had to change. I don’t know how they know where I am going to be.”
And the unique enthusiasm of the Chinese fans scaled new and dangerous heights during Friday practice, when a spectator – clutching a grandstand ticket – scaled a fence and ran across the main straight, over the pitwall and towards the Ferrari pits.
“I want a car!” he reportedly exclaimed in Mandarin. “I’ve got a ticket!”
Instead, he was arrested, prompting F1 race director Charlie Whiting to redouble security around the circuit perimeter.
One of the drivers who had a close encounter with the daring spectator was Nico Hulkenberg, who told Bild newspaper: “I thought ‘What’s going on?’
“At that point I’m doing probably 270kph. Luckily, he was far enough away.”