Well that was thrilling, unexpected and ever so slightly scary – but enough about the BBC announcing the new star of Doctor Who, how about that grand prix?
Spy here, basking in the suffused glow of an adequate result. Both cars home – which makes a nice change – decent points, Daniel carving through the field, Max getting the crowd all excited... yeah, good day at the British Grand Prix.
If F1 had a prix de la combativité like the Tour de France, (it's always on in the Energy Station for the huge volume of cycling-tragics working for the team) awarded to the most chippy, disruptive driver, Max would win every week. He views every inch of every track as a potential overtaking spot and wants to make sure he tries all of them. Ultimately, he finished where he started – but it definitely wasn't through lack of ambition.
As for Daniel, he wants to win but what he really, really wants to do is overtake everybody else. Give him a fast car, a good circuit and a long list of targets to pick up and he's as happy as a dog with two bones. He'll be coolly professional on the radio but everyone knows that inside there's a little Daniel doing cartwheels, blowing raspberries and yelling 'Yeaaaaaaaaahhhhhh'! There are worst results than starting 19th and finishing fifth – and he got to attack at Silverstone for the full 51 laps, and he loves that track.
And honestly, there's a lot to love. The very best grands prix have three things going for them: a large and energised crowd; an exciting layout and coherent organisation. Silverstone has spectators in ridiculous numbers. It's always heaving, and the noise comes off the grandstand in waves. This isn't a sport that allows for calm detachment – in the garage you feel every minute of it and soak up the buzz. That's probably not the best for rational, scientific performance – but you really wouldn't have it any other way.
Of course, what gets the crowd going is what happens on track, and at Silverstone a lot of things happen. It's a beast. It challenges the drivers, pushes the cars to the limits, provides overtaking opportunities but really makes the drives work for them, and puts spectators in places that allow them to genuinely appreciate it. If the British Grand Prix leaves Silverstone hopefully the crowd will follow. If they bring the circuit layout with them too – that would be a bonus.
For the rest of us it's perhaps a bit less fun. There is a widespread belief that the British Grand Prix should be easier on most teams than others races, simply because it's a home race. That's not really the way it works. The British Grand Prix tends be the hardest race of the year because it's a home race – and coming directly off the back of the Austrian Grand Prix and the London LIVE event, half the paddock was wandering around with the 1,000 yard stare of people who truly have looked into the abyss over the last ten days.
The phrase 'sleeping in your own bed' gets thrown around like it's a good thing – but the thing about a hotel room is that it's (a) generally quite near the track, (b) they don't mind you coming back from the circuit at 2am streaked in oil, (c) are generally quite happy to knock you up a cheeseburger at that time in the morning, while you're (d) whistling a jaunty tune in the shower. From hard-won experience, Spy knows that none of these things are true in Spy's own home.
This leads to the oddity of many people in the teams opting to treat the weekend like any other race. The team will book a hotel, and people will stay there and travel in and out in the normal manner with a depart schedule, a minibus and a travel coordinator. To the outside world that may sound a little bizarre, especially because in this case crew members may be moving further away from the circuit for the weekend – but we're creatures of routine and habit. Or, as Spy's significant other likes to say, "a bunch of big kids playing with cars, refusing to grow up and incapable of functioning in the real world."
I really shouldn't have asked for that cheeseburger.