Bloody awful F1 journalist TRENTHAM SLEAVES looks ahead to this weekend’s race
You can see and hear Formula 1 on television but what you can’t do is smell it, unless you are actually in the paddock, which of course I am. It’s a heady smell made up of one part fuel, two parts hope and seasoned with a dash of passion, all cooked to perfection under the Spanish sunshine here in Barcelona.
I’ve been coming to Barca for more years than I care to remember, yet every time the spicy paella of sights, sounds and scents take my breath away in a frenzied flamenco of F1 heritage as rich and full bodied as the finest rioja. This is a city that offers race fans the full tapas of experiences, from the bustling bull fight of the down town streets to the sweet siesta of a sangria at sunset.
I was sharing these thoughts only yesterday with my good mate Daniel Ricciardo, who I caught up with after hiding for 20 minutes around the side of his motorhome. ‘I’m sorry, who are you?’ Dan quipped. ‘Listen, I’ve really got stuff to do, can you get out please!’ he added. Typical Aussie laid back humour!
Last night I took a trip into the city and strolled down Las Rambleras before stopping to dine at a little back street restaurant which only locals know about, and a few American tourists. Discretion prevents me from naming it, although suffice to say a certain former British world champion from 1996 knows where it is as he walked in only last year only to see me waving in the corner at which point he pulled off the marvellous gag of pretending to leave, which he did by actually leaving! The menu here may seem impenetrable to the layman, but for those of us like me who speak a little Catalonian ordering is a breeze and as I feasted on my ice cream covered fish with a glass of vinegar I reflected on what a season it has already been and what delights the European leg of F1 2015 will certainly bring, although of course I fully support any moves to stage more races away from Europe.
As to this weekend’s action, I have always been pretty clear on who I believe has the upper hand and it’s definitely Mercedes or Ferrari or perhaps Bottas in the Williams, though Red Bull have been working hard on their car and cannot be discounted from surprising everyone.
Whatever happens here in the Catalanian sunshine, rest assured that I will have a superb view of all the racing. Because remember, I’m here and you’re not.