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SPY: Reasons To Be Cheerful

Sport is unpredictable. That’s the best thing about it. However good Usain Bolt or Venus Williams or Real Madrid* are, people watch because there’s always a chance of a surprise.

It’s this capricious nature that keeps it interesting. If everything was a foregone conclusion, you’d be better off doing something useful. Like mowing the lawn. Or making jam.

43 laps into the Brazilian Grand Prix, you’d have thought Max Verstappen was nailed-on for the win. The RB14 was working well, our tyres were holding up better than everyone else’s, and, happily, nothing on the car looked like it was about to go out in a blaze of glory. Then boom! Winner’s trophy dashed from the lips, warning lights all over, crew scrambling to get ready for a potential pitstop, chaos and pandemonium. Gotta love sport for moments like that – though obviously not when you’re on the inside of it. 

Honestly, Spy was a little bit confused. The team in the garage has about a billion channels of data pouring off the car – but for the most part we’re watching the same global TV feed as everyone at home.  When a very familiar blue and yellow car was shown donutting back onto track, Spy assumed it was Daniel. Daniel was engaged in a titanic battle with Seb and those two have a bit of previous. It couldn’t be Max: Max was clear of Lewis and pulling away, there wasn’t anything for him to tangle with.

Over a great many years, Spy’s seen this team lose races in all sorts of preposterous circumstances: engines brewing up, tyres exploding, brakes overheating, getting the one duff sparkplug from a batch of 10,000, even Seb and Mark being… well, Seb and Mark. This one was a new way to not win.** Pack down in the garage on Sunday night was a quiet affair.

And honestly, with a whole ocean between us and Interlagos, Spy is still walking around with a face like a slapped arse. But this too shall pass and Spy will eventually be able to see the positives from our trip to South America. While not there yet, I can imagine what that will entail. For instance:

We had the best car in Brazil. Maybe not over one lap – but definitely over 71. Ferrari and Mercedes were duking it out for the Constructors’ Championship so this wasn’t a dead rubber – but our cars spent most of the afternoon passing things that were red or silver. We’re finishing the season very strongly – which is the right way to be going into the off-season.

Both drivers had great races. With everyone watching Max, you tend to forget how good Daniel did: from 11th he finished fourth and did most of his passing the old-fashioned way, mercilessly hounding the cars ahead of him, then toughing it out as the last of the late brakers. Max was just as awesome. Passed Kimi, passed Seb, passed Valtteri, passed Lewis. You can wait whole seasons to watch what Max managed in the first 19 laps.

We get another go next week. Spy didn’t think anything could make the prospect of yet another race in this endless season sound appealing – but another race is just what we need right now. We have a great car, two drivers bang on form and the universe owes us one. Bring it on, Yas Marina.

*OK, pick another team.

**Whoever said variety is the spice of life was clearly an idiot.