Hello everyone, Spy here, wishing the flight home from Montreal was a bit longer than six hours so I could catch up on my beauty sleep (Lord knows, I need it).
This weekend was tough. But that's OK because this weekend was also good. And you'll take tough if you come out of it with good. But however much you enjoy it, there's a bit of your brain (in Spy's case, quite a sizeable bit) that would like to be getting rather less satisfaction and rather more sleep.
People* sometimes ask Spy's opinion on matters F1, and one of the most frequent questions is: which race should I go to? Canada is usually top of the list.** It ticks all the boxes for a good F1 experience. It's in a city rather than the back of beyond, which makes it handy for things like hotels, and eating something other than hot dogs. It has a metro that goes to the front door, which is infinitely preferable to spending nine hours queuing to get in by car.*** The track is set up for thrilling overtaking**** and you generally wouldn't want to predict who's going to win until they actually cross the line. All of these things help ensure it's always full, always lively and always a good laugh.
Speaking of a good laugh, hats off to our new overlords who seem keen to change F1 – though this week the change was something old rather than something new. The paddock raft race returned for the first time in over a dozen years. The rules of the raft race are relatively simple. Scrounge materials from the garage, take no more than 45 minutes to lash them together, and then paddle like the clappers across the rowing basin and back, without sinking, being sunk or being caught attempting to capsize your rivals.
McLaren won – though they blatantly cheated by constructing something that actually looked like a viable raft and having a ringer on board in the shape (the huge, muscular shape) of an Olympic rowing medallist. Admittedly, said medallist is genuinely Stoffel Vandoorne's race engineer but that's just details.
Our own efforts were rather more modest, but honour was secured by finishing securely in the midfield pack, not getting trench foot, and resisting the urge to accidently-on-purpose tip Ross Brawn out of the FOM raft and into the drink. Race director Charlie Whiting said it was the cleanest Canadian Grand Prix raft race he'd ever seen. He didn't have to sound quite so disappointed when he said it.
Forwards to the grand prix. Another one of those dodgy ones to call. A third podium in a row for Daniel, which isn't to be sniffed at, but another unlucky day for Max, who ground to a halt when running second. He's got to think he's cursed: he was rammed in Spain, on the wrong end of a difficult strategy call in Monaco and the victim of a mechanical DNF here. He's probably stomped off into the woods to punch a bear in the face.
Finally, a word about the podium. Sir Patrick Stewart can come back any time. If he's a method actor than today he was acting the role of a guest who managed to retain a measure of sobriety, seemed to be having as good a time as the drivers, understood what was going on, and didn't flinch when offered a drink of fake champagne from the sweaty boot of an Australian. Top effort!
* Poor, misguided people.
** Because, if they were the sort of people who'd prefer Spa, they wouldn't be the sort of people to ask Spy.
*** Yes, Silverstone, I haven't forgotten and I'm looking at you.
**** You'd think that would be simple – but surprisingly few venues manage it.