F1 journalist and utter knobstrap TRENTHAM SLEAVES looks ahead to Sunday’s race
There’s a glorious atmosphere that consumes the paddock here in Abu Dhabi, as warm and mysterious as the hot winds that blow in from the epic desert that envelops this legendary track like a vast sandy duvet. It’s a unique and wonderous environment in which to end this most incredible of F1 seasons and you really have to be here to experience it, which of course I am.
I was able to reflect on what a season it has been as I chatted with my old mate Alain Prost outside the Paddock Club just yesterday. ‘Oh my God, not you!’ he jested before asking if I had a pass to get into the Club itself. I told him that I did not (though not for want of asking, Mr Ecclestone sir!!!). ‘Good!’ quipped the large nosed multi-champ cheekily, and ran inside! Dear old Al has always had, as we say en Francais, un bonne sense d’humour!
Seriously though, it has been quite a season between the immense fights at the front and the various struggles between the teams that performed superbly and the teams that maybe wished for a little more performance. I was mulling upon these points only last night as I dined alone at a wonderful Italian place much favoured among members of the F1 community. I won’t say its name, though suffice to say a certain 1998/1999 World Champion knows it well as I have seen him in here eating a pizza! Discretion prevents me from revealing what toppings he favoured or the words he used to explain to me that he wanted to be left in peace to eat! As with any eatery favoured by those in the know, it helps to speak a little of the local lingo when ordering so it’s fortunate that I parlez a little Abu Dhabian and as I feasted on a two CD cases and an extremely wet sock placed next to a bowl of squid ink I thought on how we F1 fans have been truly spoilt this season with some top notch racing from a sport that really is at the top of its game and truly firing on all cylinders at a host of brilliant tracks and which definitely should renew someone’s all-races press pass for next year without question.
As I left the restaurant, I chanced upon a certain grey haired British world champ from the ‘90s and stopped for a brief chat. ‘Right, that’s it! If I see you again next season I’m calling the police, and don’t come near my house!’ he jested, before jumping into a taxi. A wonderful wit, as always!
As to who will take the famous finish flag on Sunday, I think it’s pretty obvious. After a commanding performance all season, it will be a Mercedes, or a Ferrari or a Red Bull or a Williams. Furthermore, I’m prepared to stick my neck out here and say that I believe our own Lewis Hamilton will be the 2015 Formula 1 World Champion. Rest assured, whatever happens this weekend, I will have a superb seat for all the action.
Because remember, I’m here and you’re not.