Hi everyone, Spy here, sweating like a driver in Charlie's waiting room. It's been non-stop, it really has, from pack down in China to build in Bahrain. Spy's a wreck.
And just imagine how bad it must be for the lads actually doing the job rather than hiding out behind the shipping containers. At the weekend it was too cold, now it's too hot. Presumably Russia will be the race in the Goldilocks zone. Though the race organisers will insist there were 100,000 bears in the grandstands, rather than just three.
We've swapped the Shanghai Swamp for Sahkir's endless miles of rolling hardpan. Honestly, it's like a desert out there. And the temperature really is set to baking. You can take your back-to-back races and stick them where the sun don't shine. Which is a rather neat segue onto the subject of the Chinese Grand Prix, even if I do say so myself.
Everyone in Shanghai assures us it isn't usually like that, but every time we go in early April it seems to be foggy. Not in the misty English morning sense but rather a how-did-we-end-up-inside-a-ping-pong-ball? way that tends to put a damper on your day, especially when getting anything productive done is dependent on a helicopter being able to see where it's going. We did a couple of laps on Friday before the red flags came out and spent the rest of the day polishing stuff that was already shiny.
It's a weird experience because the garage is always busy – except when there's a red flag, because at that point there's really nothing you can do. The car's ready to go and you can't take it apart to do anything in case race control send out a five-minute warning. You might sweep the floor, rearrange your toolbox or add another coat of lacquer to the sidepods – but given the floors already clean, your toolbox is just the way you like it and the car is already so coruscating it could blind satellites, that takes about two minutes. After that it gets weird, because you're just standing around like a spare pr... you're just standing around.
Fortunately, we got full days in on Saturday and Sunday and wow, what a race! Spy makes a point of being entirely cynical about anything to do with racing cars but you just can't maintain that level of detachment when it kicks off like it did on Sunday. Dan should be pretty happy to start fifth and finish fourth, though he won't be because, if being beaten by your team-mate is bad, being beaten by your team-mate when he started 11 places behind you is the F1 equivalent of rubbing salt in the wound. And then lemon juice in your eye and a really nasty paper cut for good measure. But hey, Max! Someone was obviously taking their awesomeness pills on Sunday morning because he really lit it up. Nine places on the first lap is pretty phenomenal; we're still not sure that he didn't find a shortcut and nobody noticed.
The weird thing about Max is that he shrugs this stuff off. He doesn't seem to understand it's really quite unusual. There's a temptation to assume he's low-balling it out of modesty or an attempt to play it cool. But anyone who saw Max trying to play table tennis before the Drivers' Parade knows that Max is not cool (if you didn't see it, imagine a giraffe with a trowel trying to fight an octopus on a floor covered in marbles). And if he was modest he wouldn't have painted a big orange lion on his helmet, would he?
Luckily for the boss's blood pressure they raced clean at the end, as they did in Malaysia back in the autumn, for which we're grateful – but it must have been awfully tempting for Dan to use Max's diffuser as a brake going into the hairpin for the final time – like the rest of us do when we have a karting evening.
...though chance would be a fine thing. The Bahrain International Circuit has a really good karting track but we ain't going to get the chance to test it out this week. The week starts with frantic, then it kicks up a notch as soon as we're running. It's knackering, though the team manager will have all the sympathy of a coyote eating a rabbit and simply tell us to man-up; like he did when he was a youngster in the sport. Some smarty-pants will mutter something about that being a lot easier when you travelled home by ship – but that won't be Spy as Spy doesn't fancy washing wheels on the night shift all week...