Thursday, 7 March 2013

Marshalling and me

I just found this saved in my drafts. I wrote it back in September or October. But I thought I'd post it now because it's only a couple of weeks till I get to start marshalling again now the winter break is over, and I just can't wait.

So here you go. My thoughts on being a motorsport marshal. It's not long, and I think it's unfinished, but at the same time it sums up everything I'd need to say.

A few months ago I posted this on the Twitter:

Since then I've had another 2 amazing marshalling weekends that just reinforce that statement even further.

I have to wake up at about 5am. I have to stand in the cold/rain/wind/sun all day long. I wear steel capped boots that make my feet ache by the end of the day. And unfetching black/orange overalls with an oversized neon orange jacket that somehow makes me lose the circulation to my hands. And I love every single moment.


In other news, I have no idea why I called it "the Twitter" as if I'm 90 years old. I'm pretty sure it wasn't on purpose, but I like it.

And we're back.

I wasn't very good at keeping this place up to date last year, sorry. There was lots to talk about, too:

  • Pastor's difficult summer - although, to be honest with you, I didn't know how to express my feelings over that one. I was so disappointed that I had to take a step back from him for a while, and in turn that meant I stepped back from here because I didn't really know how I felt, so I couldn't put it into words. I have a post saved in my drafts still, but I couldn't bring myself to post it until I knew what he was going to do next, in case he just kept making things worse. So it wasn't a fun few months to be a Pastor fan. When even *I* lose my patience with him, that really says something. He slowly gained my trust back at the end of the season though. It's a clean slate for us in 2013. Let's see what happens. I can't bear to be let down again.
  • My brilliant trip to the Hungarian Grand Prix
  • Marshalling at Donington for the first (and second) time
  • The WEC weekend (and the bright orange builder hats we had to wear in the pitlane)
  • Almost being runover by a McLaren MP4-12C in the pitlane. I had to physically leap out of the way. It wasn't even my fault, I promise.
  • Alvaro Parente - I remember him driving his socks off at Spa in 2010, but I saw him at a few races this year and that boy is speeeeeeeedy. He also smiles at marshals, which puts him in the top few percent of racing drivers. (We're real people too, and we've gone out of our way to give up our time for you, Mr Racing Driver. Stop looking through us like we're not there.)
  • Alonso vs Vettel. I was on Alonso's side, but Vettel earned it in the end
  • That last F1 race (wow. Still wow.)
  • 750MC Birkett - you might not have heard of it, but it's pretty cool. I'll talk at you about it whenever you want.
  • I finally took my trainee badge off - I got my signature so I can upgrade to being a Specialist Marshal!

That's just off the top of my head. There's probably a thousand other things too. I haven't even mentioned Jenson... and I always mention Jenson.

In 2013 I've already missed my first blog opportunities. But seeming as I'm here now, I'll quickly try to catch up...

The Johnny Herbert Karting Challenge took place back in January for the first time in a couple of years. It was so good to be back. We always used to be based in London, but this time we were at the Birmingham NEC during the Autosport Show. It was very different to what the 'old guard' were used to, but it was a brilliant evening and we raised a lot of money for the Alzheimer's Society, in memory of Dan Wheldon. A lot of Dan's family were there and it clearly meant a lot to them. I ended up with three racing drivers on my team - Declan Jones, Ramon Pineiro and Dillon Battistini. They were great - very fast, very friendly and very good humoured about being stuck on a team with a few very slow drivers (e.g. me). They did an amazing job dragging us up the order and we ended up only one place behind Team McLaren! That can't be bad in any racing situation, surely? We also finished one place ahead of How2's Gareth Jones, which is always my personal goal for every JHKC. (A victory dance may have taken place).

My other main 2013 racing excitement comes courtesy of two of my 'one-to-watch' young British drivers. First off, Jack Harvey is in GP3 this year. This puts him back in an F1 support race for the first time in a couple of years, so he'll have a better chance to hopefully catch the eye of an F1 boss or two. One rung up, the infamous (in my social circle, anyway) Adrian Quaife-Hobbes has a GP2 seat for 2013. He too is back amongst the F1 circus, and after winning the AutoGP championship last year (go Quaifey!) I've got a really good feeling about him. I am so proud of these boys, I've supported them for a couple of years and they're both really going from strength-to-strength.

I've not booked F1 tickets yet this year, but I'm sure I'll end up at a race somewhere or other. I don't think I can pass up the opportunity to cheer on Jack and Quaifey as well as all my F1 favourites. Just need to work out the logistics of it.

I've got quite a lot of marshalling booked this year (luckily my new bloke is very happy to accompany me to Silverstone at the weekend so I didn't have to compromise too much!), including all my usual favourites: WEC*, Blancpain Endurance Series, Silverstone Classic, BTCC. I'm really looking forward to getting back onto the pitwall.

There are also plans afoot for my first trip to the Goodwood Revival in September. I just have to figure out what to wear!

Meanwhile, my next bit of fun is at Silverstone later this month, when Dad and I are taking the little MGB out for a spin on the GP circuit. It's been a year or two since I've driven Silverstone so it'll be good to be back on track. I'll try not to take the phrase 'out for a spin' too literally. I'll report back on that one.

No really, I will report back this time.

Over and out. x

*Oh my, I just love WEC. Being surrounded by Le Mans cars for a whole weekend is one of life's little highlights.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Just a few words on Pastor...

I started supporting Pastor Maldonado in 2007, when he first entered GP2. It was partly because he was great fun to watch on the track - flashes of pure brilliance mixed with moments of over-enthusiastic, haven't-got-the-hang-of-this-yet idiocy. You knew that he could do it, if only he could keep his head together.

...I must be perfectly honest with you though - my love for him was mostly created out of the fact that when James Allen (the UK's GP2 commentator that year) said his name, he said it like 'Pasta Maldonado' as if he was some sort of spaghetti dish. It made me and my dad giggle and gleefully shout 'PASTA MALDONADO!!' at the TV screen every time. (We're pretty simple.)

But during that 2007 season, it really was the joy (and pain) of watching him drive that made me a firm supporter. I get bored of silly names pretty quickly if there's no sparkle there to back it up. Pastor had sparkle - as I said, in between him mistiming overtaking manoeuvres because he was too excited to wait until the right opportunity, there were the times when his talent really truly shone through and you'd go 'Wow' out loud. And that was what made me take notice outside of the spaghetti jokes.

I kept an eye on him through 2008 and 09, too. To varying degrees depending on how much GP2 coverage I could get. (I remember one season I had to watch it on, streaming from a Spanish (?) TV channel and I couldn't understand a word other than the driver names. Great fun.). And then 2010 hit, and Pastor had grown up. He won 6 feature races in a row, and I was there at 2 of them. (I wrote a blog about Spa. But Silverstone was my favourite one. That day at Silverstone was special. It was perfect. The sun was shining, Pastor dominated the race, and then we ran into him in the GP2 paddock afterwards and he was an absolute gentleman and giggled at me sweetly as my friends told him what a big geeky fan of his I was.) We had some tough times in 2010 too, it wasn't all plain-sailing, but he put in some sterling drives and deserved that championship.

And then, as GP2 Champion (of the world), he got the Williams drive for 2011. And suddenly everyone who hadn't given a damn about him beforehand suddenly couldn't wait to judge him and slag him off. With a mountain of bolivares (the Venezuelan currency!) behind him, he got the 'pay driver' tag. He also had an appalling car, and a lot of people couldn't/didn't see past that. I'm not saying he was perfect, but he didn't screw up very often (and I've already blogged about when he did) and he performed a lot better than his "worst record for a Williams driver ever" label made it seem. He matched or out-drove his team mate Rubens with great regularity. So I was happy.

When 2012 hit, it hit hard. He was stupendous at the first race in Australia... until the last lap where he ended up in the wall. I don't think he was driving stupidly, he was pushing but I don't think it was ridiculously hard. It just happened. And it broke my heart a little bit. And then in the second race, his car broke down - on the last lap!! He'd been in the points both times, so it was gutting to see those precious points slip away twice. China: he got some points (phew!). Bahrain: a puncture spun him round and ended his race. Ouch. So much promise so far, with very little show from it. But with a good little car under him, surely it was only a matter of time.

Roll on Spain 2012. I have no idea how it happened, to be honest. He was nowhere in FP1 and 2, but Saturday came and he lit up. Only Vettel scraped ahead of him in FP3. He smashed Q2 and, with admittedly a bit of (pointless?) tyre-saving going on in Q3, only Hamilton had an answer for him in qualifying. But the fuelling mishap meant that his answer didn't count, and so Pastor started on pole position. A few hours before quali I'd cheekily tweeted 'Pastor for pole!' - I didn't think he'd take me seriously!

His charmed weekend continued on Sunday. He didn't put a foot (or wheel) wrong. Those sparks of brilliance I've seen since back in 2007 came to the fore. I enjoyed his start - it was hugely aggressive, pushing Alonso right over, but he left exactly enough room for one car so it wasn't a dirty move. (Alonso mentioned this himself in a post-race interview, I like to think it was acknowledged with a little bit of respect). Still, Alonso got by, but that was OK. I could deal with that. Maldonado v Alonso, everyone knows who everyone expects to win that battle.

Of course, sometimes in life: everyone is wrong. When Williams' tactical genius combined with Pastor's not-even-I-expected-this blistering pace, and Pastor took the lead, I was as stunned as anyone. I watched the rest of the race in denial, convinced that Alonso or Kimi would win, because I couldn't let myself think that it could be Pastor. The gap went from 7 seconds to 0.6 seconds, but there was nothing Alonso could do. And with a few laps to go, Pastor started pulling the gap out again by 2 tenths per sector. It was incredible. He just soaked up all the pressure and drove his heart out.

My friends Chris and Kate plied me with tea to keep me alive while I watched the laps oh-so-slowly creep by. It was like the race went on for years. I spent the entire race hugging my Williams/Pastor cap for good luck. And then the last 5 laps hiding my face behind a cushion because I could hardly bear to watch anymore. 

But he did it. He crossed the line 3 whole seconds before anyone else. He shared the podium with two F1 World Champions who simply hadn't been able to take the win away from him today. Maybe things would have been a little different if Lewis had started from pole, but not by much. Pastor wasn't just gifted this win. He earned every inch of it. And he's made a lot of people start to see what I saw under the surface all those years ago. And I couldn't possibly be more proud.

Image from
And let's not forget that Monaco's up next, and Monaco is his favourite circuit............!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Here we go again...


So the F1 teams are starting to take the wraps off their new challengers and the motorsport world is starting to wake up in the public eye again. It's a lovely, exciting time of the year.

We've only seen the Caterham (née Lotus) and the McLaren so far. The Caterham is pretty ugly, a platypus on wheels (no offence to the platypus). Happily, the McLaren has a much more 'normal' nose and isn't so hard on the eyes. Tomorrow we get to see what FIF1 and Ferrari have in store.

It's funny when we see the new cars, they often look so strange and I feel like I'm never going to be able to see past the strange-ness of whatever is different (the duck-billed nose this year, and the tall, narrow rear wings last year). And yet, by the second race - if not the first one! - I've forgotten all about it. Either the design gets refined, or I just get used to it. But at the launch point, it just seems ridiculous.

Only a few days until The Dream Team kicks off too. Bruno Senna and Pastor Maldonado in one team... oh yes. I can't wait for the team photos ;-) I will miss Rubens, but it looks like he's keeping himself busy and having fun, so he'll be OK. It'll be interesting to see how it goes with two relative newbies in the team. And I really hope they get on together OK and don't drive into each other too much... don't make me pick sides between my boys!

My marshalling season kicks off again late next month. From then on, almost every single one of my weekends until about August are full of marshalling and/or watching F1. I will try and see some friends too, sometimes, when I can. So they don't forget what I look like...!

Also, this year I will be going to the Hungarian Grand Prix! I am VERY excited about this. We've booked tickets for the race weekend - we're upgrading ourselves and have gone for a Grandstand overlooking the final corners. Now we just have to figure out how to get there and sort out all the actual detail. Can't wait to visit a country I've never been to before, and see all our boys in action over there too. (Go JB!)

In summary, I'm looking forward to 2012... :-)

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Flashback: GT1 at Silverstone (aka: the longest blog post in the world)

OK, so yesterday I was going to blog about GT1 at Silverstone (back in June!) but I got distracted. I'll try again now. I will attempt to focus.

Here's where I got to before I drifted off on a tangent....

I was marshalling on the Saturday and Sunday, but my story actually starts on the Thursday. Every month there's a talk put on at the pub in Silverstone for the marshals - I mentioned it before, when I went to see Martin Brundle talk. Well, the Thursday before the GT1 race they got David Brabham and Jamie Campbell-Walter from the Sumo Power team along to talk to us.
Sumo's PR guy Simon was also there to introduce the boys. In a room of racing fanatics, everyone obviously knew who David Brabham was, but Simon introduced him anyway. And I warmed to Brabs immediately, because when Simon said his name, he grinned and waved at us as if he was being introduced on a game show in the early 1990s. I'm a big fan of mildly ridiculous waving, so I officially liked him from that moment.

Brabs and Jamie both told a heap of stories. It was interesting how both of them got into motor racing pretty late in life (Jamie was in his 20s before he started, and Brabs was in his late teens because he'd been resisting following in his father's footsteps). They made us laugh lots and they obviously get along really well, lots of teasing each other and laughter. It was a really nice evening listening to them chat.

At the end of the talk, everyone swarmed forwards to talk to the drivers and get an autograph. I squeezed through the crowd and instead made my way over to the PR guy Simon. As everyone knows, I want to work in motorsport so it was good to have the chance to talk to someone who does the kind of thing I could actually do. We had a long chat about all sorts of things, which was really nice.

And then Brabs won me over with even more waving. Him and Jamie were making their way out so briefly interuppted my conversation with Simon so that they could let him know they were leaving. After saying their goodbyes to Simon, Brabs then beamed at me and cheerily waved goodbye to me. Ahhh waving, I cannot resist you. Since then I've been a definite fan of his. (Also, he's an Aussie... need I say more?!)

So, after such a lovely evening, I was really looking forward to getting to Silverstone at the weekend and seeing a bit more of the GT1 world up close.

One of the really exciting things about that weekend was that it was the first race to go out of the new pitlane at Silverstone. GT1's got all the big 'firsts' at Silverstone lately - last year they were the first ones to race on the new track layout too!

It really was the thing of dreams (for me, anyway). I turned up at Silverstone (security waving me through because I'm a marshal), parked up at the normal spot, pottered through Copse tunnel and along the paddock to sign on for the day. I love the feeling of belonging when I get there, and how I can basically go where I want to. I wasn't 100% sure if I'd be in the new pits, as the support paddock was based at the old pits so I didn't know if they'd need me there instead. But nope, I was needed in the new pits, so as I signed on I was handed an All Access pass so that I could get in there! Amazing. I practically skipped there.

The new pits are wonderful. I love the picnic area (as I've always thought of it) between the pitlane and the pitwall. I imagine it must be a bit of a pain for the teams, but I find it lovely. (And I love that Alex Wurz has actually had a picnic on it. He is brill.). And I love the building. The marshals' pit office isn't amazing though, just a massive concrete room with no windows (!). The Wing was still a bit of a building site in places, which was quite fun to see it being rough around the edges in the bits where the public didn't see.

Those of us who got there early immediately headed out onto the start/finish straight to take in the new location and take a few pictures. I really felt just so lucky to be there.
The picnic area.
The new startline.
Hanging out in the pitlane.

I already felt lucky, but it got even better. Each pitlane marshal was assigned a few garages to watch over - two GT1 garages (one team) and a GT3 garage. Out of pure fluke, I was assigned Sumo Power. I had to spend the whole of Saturday and Sunday stood on the picnic area opposite the Sumo garages, watching everything that they got up to.

If you'd said to me: "OK, Lou. You can go to Silverstone this weekend and you can stand absolutely ANYWHERE you want, in the entire circuit", I'd have said to you "I'd like to stand on the picnic area opposite the Sumo garages, please, watching everything that they get up to". I just couldn't have been happier there.

Well, OK, I could have been a teensy bit happier...

Now, (girliness alert) you may remember from previous blogs that I adore Ricardo Zonta. He was my first ever F1 crush back in 2000, and I have kept an eye on him ever since he left F1. Last year and this year he's done a bit of GT1. I was desperately hoping that he was going to be at Silverstone while I was marshalling... but unfortunately it was just wasn't to be.

You see, he'd also signed up for a Brazilian stock car series this year, thinking that he could get out of the races that clashed with the GT1. But his sponsors wouldn't let him out of the stock car races so he had to leave the GT1 championship. This happened about 2 races before Silverstone. Absolutely gutted.

To make matters worse, he'd driven for Sumo - 'my' team!! And because they didn't have a firm replacement for him yet, his name was still on the garage door. It had just been covered over with a bit of white, yet if you looked hard enough you could still faintly see his name underneath it. Mocking me. Saying, look what could have been, look who could have been here. Sigh.

On the plus side, I had a nice chat with Simon about Zonta. I've never actually known anything about Ricardo, so it was nice to talk to someone who knows him a bit and to have him say what a lovely guy he is. (Glad to know I haven't spent the past 11 years with a crush on an absolute jerk!)

It really did sting spending 2 days looking at the exact spot where he should have been standing though. Ouch.

My view of where Mr Zonta should have been.

It wasn't just the Zonta-shaped hole that stopped it being entirely perfect. The other thing was that it just did not work out for Sumo that weekend. Brabs had his worst weekend in a long time and crashed out of both races. It didn't go too well for the other car either. It was hard watching Brabs and Jamie be so disappointed/frustrated. I just wanted them to be happy! I felt like a bit of a bad luck charm. Sorry, Sumo!

I must have used all my good luck up on my Lambo team. One of the support races was a Lamborghini series, and they'd come along and set up camp in front of the garages for their races. The team in front of my garages won on both the Saturday and the Sunday. They were naturally overjoyed. When they won on the Saturday, the team manger and mechanics were on the pit wall bouncing around with glee as their guy crossed the line, hugging each other and jumping about. I was watching and smiling at them, because it's lovely to see one of your teams so happy. After he'd hugged all his engineers, the team manager looked across at me with a big cheeky grin on his face. He held his arms out wide, ran across the picnic area to me and gave me a massive hug and a kiss on the cheek. It caught me a bit by surprise, but made me laugh. It was nice to be included in the celebrations!

And so when they won on Sunday, I kept my eye on the team manager as he jumped and hugged and celebrated. And when he looked across at me, I was ready. He beamed at me and I beamed back and held my arms out. He laughed and ran over and gave me another big, big hug. I loved my happy Italian Lambo team!

But I have to say, even without any celebratory hugging, it was Sumo Power that won me over entirely. Everyone in that team was absolutely lovely. From Simon being supportive of my motorsport dreams, to Brabs and his waving, Jamie recognising me on the picnic area, the team principal complimenting my shoelaces, the team manager having a friendly chat, the sweet mechanic excitedly finding me some spare 'Go Sumo!' foam fingers to take home with me.... everyone was an absolute star. This is why I love being in the pitlane or the paddock, you might not see the racing but you get to see the people, meet the people, and become a part of it like that.

I'm not normally a team person. I'm a person person. So normally I support drivers rather than teams. But in this case, everyone in Sumo was so lovely that I'm a definite Sumo fan now. I love watching the races online (thank you !) and seeing my Sumo boys during the pitstops or if one of the cars gets on the podium. I really am so fond of the team now!

So if you see me tweeting 'Go Sumo!' any time, now you know why.

Like the foam hand says: Go Sumo!

That was my best weekend of marshalling so far. Le Mans Series 2010 was very close to being that good. And Silverstone Classic 2011 too. I'll try and blog about the Classic one day... but given recent form, you might have to wait a few months!

Next weekend is the Le Mans Series 2011. I am a bit terrified (because you get the responsibility of writing down the amount of fuel that goes in, and it's quite important!) but hugely looking forward to it all the same. I imagine I'll blog about it one day, so watch this space...

Thanks for reading! x

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Have you seen the giant pig?

So back in June or July, I can't even remember when, I marshalled for the GT1 meeting at Silverstone. I think it's my favourite marshalling weekend I've done so far. (The top 3 is currently rounded out with Le Mans Series last year and Silverstone Classic this year). It was just amazing.

I was marshalling on the Saturday and Sunday, but my story actually starts on the Thursday. Every month there's a talk put on at the pub in Silverstone for the marshals - I mentioned it before, when I went to see Martin Brundle talk. Well, the Thursday before the GT1 race they got David Brabham and Jamie Campbell-Walter from the Sumo Power team along to talk to us.

At the time, I'd actually forgotten that I'd very very briefly met David Brabham before.

I can't believe I'd forgotten it. Because it was massively surreal. It was at the Honda F1 factory open day in Brackley back in 2007. Brabs was there doing an autograph session, sat next to Gils de Ferran who was sporting director or some such of Honda F1 back in those days. Anyways, so Gils signed for me first. And as he did so, he looked up at me and he said "Have you seen the giant pig?".

Now, I'm pretty good with randomness and expecting the unexpected. But if you'd asked me to list 100, even 1000, opening sentences that I expected Gils de Ferran to say to me, "Have you seen the giant pig?" would not even have been close to being on there.

So I stared at him blankly for a moment and thought the sentence through very carefully in my head. Maybe I'd misheard and could figure out what he'd really said. Because obviously he didn't say 'pig'. Why would he say 'pig'? I'm sure he didn't say 'pig'. But if he didn't say 'pig', what DID he say? Eventually I had to give in and say "um.... sorry, what?".

"Have you seen the giant pig??" he said again, slightly slower and clearer. Yeah. No getting away from it. He'd definitely said 'pig'.

I still didn't have a clue why he was talking at me about a giant pig, so I looked imploringly across at David Brabham sat next to him. But Brabs was looking as utterly baffled as I felt. He looked up at me and shrugged with a big grin on his face. No help at all!

Magically, a thought then hit me. There was a hog roast. A massive pig on a spit. I *HAD* seen the giant pig!!! Poor old Gils wasn't entirely mental after all.

And so I rescued the situation. Just about. Collected my autographs from Brabs and whoever else was there, and that was that.

This story isn't really about David Brabham. And it's definitely not about GT1 (it was originally going to be, but I got distracted). But it is about a giant pig. And apparently that can be a key talking point in motorsport.

Maybe he's just a big Pink Floyd fan?

Sunday, 28 August 2011

OK, here goes...

So I haven't really said much about the Pastor/Lewis incident from yesterday yet. Because at first I just didn't know what to say. And then as I started to figure out my own thoughts, there was no way I could sum it up in 140 characters.

Let's just make sure you all know where I'm coming from to start off with. I love Pastor, and have supported him through thick and thin for years. So don't expect this to be an unbiased view-point.

But still, I felt massively disappointed yesterday. It was horrible. And I hope nothing ever happens in Pastor's career to make me feel quite like that again, because I couldn't take much more of that. But I didn't want to have a knee-jerk reaction to the whole thing, so I just tried to keep quiet and wait to see what the stewards made of it all. Not that the stewards are always right, but they have a lot more data at their disposal than the rest of us.

Interestingly, the more I watch the crash, the more I notice Hamilton twitching about at him. I'm not saying Pastor was an innocent bystander. But neither was Lewis. I think their penalties were fair. (Apparently 3 reprimands = a penalty, these days. Which is good because otherwise they're a bit pointless. Especially if someone keeps getting them..!)

I know Pastor's been a bit wild in the past and made some stupid, unthinking moves... but he's not been vindictive. The wildness that he was known for in the earlier days was mainly down to trying to overtake but getting it wrong or not having the space. I don't know what went on yesterday, but whatever it was I believe that it's not the sort of thing that he would normally do, so we'll put it behind us and move on. When everyone else is pissed off at him, I feel like that's when he needs me in his corner.

So, yeah, a little bit bruised, but still on his side.

And, on the other side of the coin, I was ever so proud of him in the race today. He did EXACTLY what he needed to do, which was to keep his head down, keep himself out of trouble, and drive as best as he could. And he ended up beating his team mate fair and square. And he made up 11 places. And he got himself one of those Championship point thingies that I've been so keen for him to get. Phew! It was unbearably tense for the last 12 laps or so - from about when all the pitstops had worked their way out and he was in 9th and I knew Massa would get him and di Resta was a proper threat. But he didn't put a wheel wrong all day long and his pace was good... a very good drive for him indeed.

So let's hope for lots more todays, and no more yesterdays, from now on. Please, Pastor.

(And if you have any massively anti-Pastor comments to make, can you please take them elsewhere. I'd rather you didn't direct them at me, because they won't serve any purpose other than to upset me. I just wanted to let you know where I stand so that I don't appear to have completely ignored the whole thing.)

While I'm here, I'll make a few other comments about Spa this weekend...

  • I was absolutely thrilled for Jaime 'Bob' Algersuari in quali. To quote, um, Bruce Forsythe? - didn't he do well! Gutted for him in the race though. Poor little Bob.
  • Another thrilled/gutted combination (this was basically the theme of the weekend for my boys!) - this time, Bruno Senna. Now, I love Bruno. Admittedly mostly because of that smile, but still, girliness aside, I think he's great. And he was very good in GP2 and so I think it's brilliant that he's had another chance in F1, and in a better car too. And I was so happy for him yesterday - him and Bob made yesterday worthwhile. And then today, bam, it all went wrong at the first corner. We'll have to see what he gets up to next race. (I do feel a bit sorry for Nick H though, I'm not sure he deserved to be thwown out of the car at this point in his caweer...)
  • My other thrilled/gutted scenario was luckily the other way around - gutted first, then thrilled. Watching JB tumble down the times at the end of Q2 was awful. I was just shouting 'WHAT?!' repeatedly at my computer screen with every place that he lost in the dying seconds. 13th?! Rubbish. But whenever he starts somewhere in the teens, a little voice in the back of my head always thinks 'Oh, he's going to have fun tomorrow'. When the car's faster than the quali position alludes to, you just know there's a high chance that JB's going to have a blinder. And he did it yet again. And in normal, dry conditions, not the changeable weather that normally serves him so well. After what felt like forever (but was probably only about 10 laps) I remember thinking 'oh, he's not gone far yet...' and then suddenly BOOM. There he was. Another podium, thank you very much. Love it. Well done, Jens. I wonder what would be, if only he could sort out his Saturdays....
  • In other news, apparently in my head I have started referring to Lewis as Crash Bandicoot. Just thought I'd let you know. My feeling on the Kobayashi incident is that Lewis should have looked in his mirrors. At least *tried* to look in his mirrors. I know the mirrors are teeny little things but you would have thought he'd be able to see Kamui in them, surely? They're there for a reason, Crash, why not try using them sometime...?
  • Talking of mirrors, how bloody scary is the footage from when JB's mirror was knocked off at the start! Glad it was only his mirror that got hit, because otherwise that would have been nasty.
  • And, my last point, neatly segued into with: talking of bloody scary - Mark Webber's pass on Alonso, going up Eau Rouge! Absolutely outstanding. I get goosebumps every time I see a replay, it's just terrifying. I can't help but feel that both of them were earning their $millions in that split second right there. Wow. Brilliant driving and bravery by both of them.

OK, I'm done. Apparently I had more to say than I thought I did...!