The weather over South-East England at this time of year is dominated by the complex interactions of the gulf stream in collision with pressure systems pushing in from North Africa. It absolutely isn’t governed by Spy’s mood – though landing at Heathrow this morning under grey skies with a persistent, nagging cold drizzle dripping down, it would have been easy to believe otherwise. To be brutally honest, we’ve had better Canadian Grands Prix. Bleurghhhhhh.
Fifth and Eighth at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is definitely down towards the bottom end of awesome. Admittedly, we weren’t expecting great things in Montreal – but could probably have expected something a little better than this when we rocked up in Canada last week.
It was one of those weekends where the maths were against us, and you really can’t work around that. Our advantage over the midfield wasn’t quite enough to sail through Q2 on the Medium tyre. Pierre took on the Soft, and paid the price in the race; Max tried the Medium and paid the price in qualifying. With limited strategy options available in a race that was always going to have high deg but, counter-intuitively, always going to be a one-stopper, there wasn’t a great deal to do on Sunday. Max summed it up pretty well afterwards, saying he was going to finish fifth whether he started third, fifth or ninth.
Focus on the positives, we’re told. Well, the positive is – as is always the first priority – both cars home. The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve tends to find out any garage that doesn’t absolutely nail it. We had good reliability, no finger trouble and, despite Max’s desire to sign the new concrete wall on Friday, a solid car. On a bad weekend both cars scored. That’s not the worst.
Of course, no-one was paying too much attention to our finishing positions, not when there was the terrible fascination of watching Sebastian throw all of the toys out of his pram, and then stomp angrily through the paddock on a mission to locate another pram. Sadly, work intervened, otherwise Spy would have got the popcorn and settled down to watch. It was box office.
Paddock conversation on Sunday night was, Spy suspects, no different to the conversation everywhere else. Did he deserve a penalty? Did he not? There were voices of experience and wisdom arguing on both sides*. Spy’s view is that Seb was a little hard done to but the Stewards did their job correctly in interpreting and applying the rules. Plenty of other opinions are available. There is a school of thought** that the decision was right but the rules are wrong, and there were plenty of magnificent former drivers on hand to spit the dummy and say so.
I think the rules are OK: in the dim and distant we’ve had some pretty variable stewarding. What we have now is consistent, because it’s driven by data and precedent. It means drivers sometimes suffer a harsh call when the letter of the law is applied – but better a moan about this than a moan about stewards favouring one team or settling old scores etc. Obviously when you’re on the wrong end of that harsh call, there’s a deep-seated desire to leave a flaming bag of dog poo at the door to Race Control but we don’t because we’re grown-ups. Also, we’re not allowed to have dogs in the pitlane. Onwards to France!
* honest opinions, rather than those given on camera for the gleeful purpose of giving everything a great big stir.
** or, given this happened less than 36 hours ago, a playschool of thought.