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DATE News (chronologically)
06/22/09
f1
Sellout crowd gives Silverstone send-off  (GMM)  After most of the spectators in Turkey two weeks ago were disguised as empty seats, the atmosphere for what was potentially Silverstone's last ever British grand prix was electric.

Not even 20,000 showed up for the Istanbul race; 100,000 fewer than the sellout Sunday crowd at the self-proclaimed 'home of British motor racing'.

Just as impressively, 105,000 flipped the turnstiles for qualifying, and even 85,000 were trackside for Friday's routine practice sessions.

On race-day, F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone told any reporter who would listen to him that, if Donington is not ready to take over next year, Silverstone is very much on standby.

Williams' Patrick Head said the 78-year-old's comments went some way to healing the "lack of respect" displayed to the Northamptonshire venue in recent years.

Sebastian Vettel was also delighted to have joined the likes of Schumacher, Prost, Senna, Mansell and Lauda by winning the prestigious event.

"The atmosphere was great," the Red Bull driver, who rates Little Britain, Monty Python and the Beatles as his favorites, recalled.

"This is what I was dreaming of when I saw the first grands prix here in Silverstone in the era of Mansell and so on, so it is kind of unreal now to think I am here and I have made it," the German added.

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