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SPY: CALM AFTER THE STORM

Morning folks, Spy here, lifting out of Nagoya for points west. I predict a great deal of sleeping on this flight – the last 36 hours have been pretty busy!

There’s all sorts of lurid stories about F1’s brush with Super Typhoon Hagibis – but ‘brush’ is the correct term. It dodged us and gave Tokyo further up the coast a terrible battering instead. What we had was high winds and torrential rain. It wasn’t the sort of weather you’d play golf in – but you might have chanced a game of football.

There wasn’t the possibility of running an F1 car in those conditions though, so well done to the circuit for making the call to cancel Saturday’s sessions early on Friday morning. That said, it would have still been a good decision had Saturday turned out to be calm and sunny. The organisers simply couldn’t take that sort of risk with 100,000+ spectators likely to be hitting the roads and heading to the track, travelling into who knows what.

For us, taking Saturday off was an unusual experience. When news broke, the first reaction was ‘what are we going to do?’ swiftly followed by ‘and what are we going to eat?’ When you’re accustomed to eating breakfast, lunch and dinner at the circuit, it’s a bit of a worry when that suddenly becomes out-of-bounds, and the rumour mill is suggesting every restaurant and takeaway within a 50km radius is also going to be rolling down the shutters for the duration. They didn’t – though suffice to say, the 7Eleven did a roaring trade in Pot Noodles on Friday evening.  

Our day off passed without incident. Couple of the more sitting-averse members of the crew tried to go for a run and lost, but otherwise everyone bunkered down. The engineers had their data to study, the crew had magazines and TV, the drivers had video games. It was weird but ultimately not disastrous.

Our Sunday was very long but also very meh. Max and Alex qualified on the third row with identical times in the morning, then in the afternoon Alex recorded his best F1 finish with fourth. But Max’s race ended early after getting barged off by Charles Leclerc. After a good start he was in the mix to do something spectacular in a race where no-one seemed really sure what the tyres would do. Retiring with damage deprived the audience of a good scrap – though looking at the long term, the prospect of those two going wheel-to-wheel for the next 15 years is a tantalising one.