SPY: Rear Gunner…

Wotcha Guv, Spy here, welding up the hole in the fence at Silverstone that Christian Horner used to crawl through as a nipper. The circuit reckons it needs every penny and we’re going to do our bit to help.

Well, how about that? What a race! Sebastian Vettel likes to take a close look at the RB15 – but usually he has the decency to wait until Parc Ferme. Getting up close and personal with Max’s gearbox ruined what looked like an excellent chance of a podium finish for us at Silverstone. But those hours testing the rear crash structure haven’t been wasted, have they? We build them pretty, but we build them strong. 

In the normal course of events, Spy would be upset but… well, it’s problematic after a race like that isn’t it? On the one hand, it’s disappointing to come away from Silverstone without a trophy but on the other, it was a memorable British Grand Prix, we were right in the thick of it throughout and did our bit to ensure about 150,000 punters went home happy. It’s difficult to be churlish under those circumstances – even for someone who usually has an overabundance of churl. Seb said sorry, we got both cars home – well, one and three-quarter cars home – and we had the consolation of the pit stop of the Gods on Pierre’s car. We may not be taking a pot back to Milton Keynes but we will have a world record in our pocket. Bragging rights secured – until next Sunday anyway. 

Both Max and Pierre seemed to spend all 52 laps fighting one or other of the Ferraris. Silverstone makes it very difficult to overtake – but also any attempt to overtake looks absolutely spectacular. And it is spectacular: Anyone attacking at Copse or Stowe is doing so while giving it socks, with the downforce dropping and the car getting more squirrelly with every metre they get closer to the car in front. It’s not for the fainthearted.

Max and Charles Leclerc was particularly enthralling – and those of us of a slightly more mature vintage were reminded how similar it looked to Vettel vs Alonso on this track back in 2014. There’s a little bit of negativity surrounding F1 at the moment, but if these two are going to be doing things like that for the next 15 years, the future looks pretty good from Spy’s hammock. No wonder the crowd were going berserk for the full hour and 22 minutes.

As, in fairness, were most of the garage. You may have noticed the 007 logos on the car this weekend, as we went all James Bond for the World Championship’s 1007th grand prix. This was very gratifying for Max’s number one mechanic, who has race team number 007* and thought it right and proper that he finally get the recognition he’s due. He shall remain nameless in this column lest fame go to his head, but the camera loves him and he’s the one usually spotted bouncing up and down whenever we’re doing something good, or bad, or outrageous. We don’t need sophisticated telemetry to explain the state of the race, we just have to look at his face, which, while Max was battling Seb managed to compress the entire scope of human emotion into… well, slightly less time than it takes to do a world record pit stop. If you ever wonder if we care about the minor placings, take another look at that: we care.

* it’s stencilled on everyone’s kit – otherwise finding your luggage at the airport takes about nine hours and strains lifelong friendships.