A look forward to this weekend’s race with F1 journalist and irritating tit TRENTHAM SLEAVES
What do you think of when you think of Formula 1? For me, F1 is sharing a drink with a dear friend like Alain, or hearing an old mate like Mika quipping ‘I’m sorry, who are you?’, or enjoying the humour of a great chum like Fernando asking security to remove me from the building again. But when I think of F1, I also think of tracks and none more so than Spa.
The modern tracks like China and Russia are of course wonderful and I completely agree with everything about them, but there’s a spirit to an old timer like the great lady Spa which you simply cannot replicate. As you stand in the distinctive split level paddock, as I was earlier today, you can literally smell history in your nostrils and its heady aroma intoxicates you in a way that you simply cannot understand unless you are actually which I think I’ve already made clear, I am.
Of all the old tracks, I would say that Spa is my favourite, alongside Silverstone and Monza and Interlagos, which are also my favourites. One of the things I like about this place is the chance to pop into Spa itself, as I did last night, and visit a charming little Italian trattoria off the beaten track, the name of which discretion prevents me from mentioning. It really is a locals’ haunt and you’re well advised to steer clear unless you, like me, are able to order in Belgian. As I feasted on my spaghetti di water and sunglasses with a side plate of postage stamps, I reflected on some of the great victories that Spa has seen from some of my great friends like Davey, Mikey and of course dear departed Ayrty.
Later that evening as I strolled through the town, I happened upon another Spa winner in the form of a certain British world champion turned Sky TV pundit who I will not name. I tapped him on the shoulder and, with typical wit, he shouted ‘I’ve told you, leave me ALONE!’ and then pushed me into some railings. Priceless!
As to who will take the legendary chequered symbol of success here in the typically variable conditions of old mistress Spa, I think it’s without question a rock solid bet that it will be a Mercedes, or a Ferrari or Red Bull with the possibility of a Williams surprise. Whatever happens, you can rest assured that I will have a nice, dry yet front row seat for all the action.
Because remember, I’m here and you’re not.