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Mark J Daniels Headshot

Sodden Silverstone

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All I could think, as I sat in the interminable queues that lead towards Silverstone Circuit on Friday, was: "Bernie's going to be a little bit miffed."

The unseasonable weather, the unprecedented interest in this year's FIA Formula One World Championship and disarray amongst the Silverstone stewards lead to me sitting on the A43 for two and a half hours longer than I'd anticipated and - I must confess - I joined in the throng of Twitter users complaining about the traffic debacle.

At one point, I got out of the car and chatted with my fellow stranded travellers, all trying to get to see the action. So close we could hear the cars going about their business on the circuit, yet so far away that, because the car parks had become quagmires, we couldn't get anywhere near.

One group, sat in their VW Transporter, had travelled from Wales and told me that the last time they saw it this bad was before the dual carriageway was built. Another traveller was on his first visit to Silverstone: "I'll never come again," he told me, "it's ridiculous."

I could just imagine Bernie Ecclestone, ringing up Donnington and telling them all was forgiven, or flicking through his Rolodex for the telephone number of Snetterton. And then I began to think, annoyed as I was that I wasn't going to get to see the Friday action, that perhaps it wasn't really Silverstone's fault.

This year has seen unfathomably dire weather that has brought many public events, large and small, to their knees. Nobody will forget the Queen and Prince Philip standing stoically throughout the torrid weather for the Diamond Jubilee and summer fetes, carnivals and parties have been cancelled the length and breadth of the country.

As a publican, it is all too obvious to me how much damage this wet drought has had on trade and many of my contemporaries have told me the same.

So are we really right to expect Silverstone to have been able to cope any differently? It was worrying that they announced on Friday night that people with parking passes shouldn't attend on Saturday for qualifying but, on race day, many of the traffic problems were caused by people refusing to follow the steward's guidance towards the fields once the hard standing car parks were full.

These were, we know, exceptional circumstances. I showed my wife, who is a staunch music festival goer, some of the pictures of the grounds within the circuit, where normally grassed areas had been churned into a sludge of straw and mud, and she likened it to Glastonbury. And she, like so many others, walks and queues for hours each year to spend a week shin deep in mud just to listen to people sing songs.

"It's all part of the experience," she tells me each time she returns from one of these events, so caked in mud that she isn't allowed near me until she's been power-washed.

Despite the disappointment of Friday, the rain-delayed qualifying session of Saturday and the muddy terrain throughout, this weekend was a petrolhead's music festival and Silverstone delivered up another twist in the intricate tale of the 2012 Formula One season.

As we watched Mark Webber steal victory from Fernando Alonso in the closing stages of the race and lamented in the poor performance of Britons Hamilton and Button, before standing in the rain to watch the BBC F1 Forum and live music at the Main Stage, all I could think as I looked around at the crowds enjoying the entertainment was this:

It wasn't Silverstone's fault. It was all part of the experience. And it was fun...