2010 RACES

“One of the greatest Formula 1 years of all time.”

BAHRAIN
“I would analyse (Schumacher)’s driving as a tenth of a second behind the car.”

“I have to say, 190 miles an hour in a brand new car – certainly one like Chandhok [is driving] – I’d have my toes crossed, my fingers crossed, and my lucky underwear on.”

“I’ve always been a fan of Nico Rosberg – and I’ve felt like a lone ranger from time to time – but he’s a very, very good little driver.”

“It’s difficult to understand the whole Sauber business – not only its name, BMW Sauber with a Ferrari engine!”

“The Ferrari seems to ride [that bump on Turn 6] like a Rolls Royce, if that makes any sense.”

“When Michael made his decision to come back, he didn’t expect to be four, five tenths behind Nico Rosberg, and that’s why he’s had a bit of a grumpy face on.”

“Whichever lap you do your fastest time on [in Qualifying], you start the race on that very set of tyres. Flat-spot them into a corner so they’re like a fifty-pence piece, tough luck.”

“I tell you what: it’d be a big own goal for Formula 1 if half the top ten chose not to run so they’ve got freedom of choice on tyres tomorrow. That’ll be a bit of an anticlimax, won’t it?”
Jonathan: “They’re all out.”
Martin: “Good!”

“Look at this beautiful new Safety Car, the SLS; very sexy. Tell you what’s not sexy: this could be the Gridwalk from hell.”

Crown Prince of Bahrain: “There’s one bump in particular I wanna get out of the road by next year.”
Martin: “No, we need bumps in the track! The drivers would all like to sit on a billiard table with a PlayStation rig! Put a few more bumps in, I would say!”

“I’m gonna see if I can find a pedaller ... oh, not a pedlar, a pedaller who drives racing cars!”

“Plenty going on down [on the grid], not least the TV girl who was kicking my legs every time I asked Alonso a question.”

“I tell you what: this is gonna be a tough race for the drivers. They’re driving the cars every part of the way. It may sound silly, but when they used to have traction control or other devices or came in for fresh tyres so they constantly had better tyres on ... they are gonna have to drive the piece of tarmac they are on, not necessary looking down the road waiting for the electronics to sort it out.”

(Ted reports that Jenson has been asked to “make up some time”)
“Sounds like a polite message to the reigning World Champion to get on with it a bit, actually.”

(Webber overtakes Buemi)
Jonathan:
“A bit of Aussie grit, as per his Twitter feed.”
Martin: “Bit of Sebastien Buemi remembering who pays him, as well.”

“The new Cosworth V7 engine.”
(Just as Senna pulls up with his car sounding terrible) [Quote submitted by Mark Barton] “Switch it off, son.”
(Bruno does so, then lifts his visor)
“That scares me. That looks like Ayrton. Didn’t scare me, but it stopped me in my tracks.”

“The strange thing is – and I’ve done this in Le Mans – you get another problem and it distracts you, because Vettel’s starting to miss apexes, and you go even more slowly than you need to go because your attention goes to a different problem.”

(Webber goes wide)
“Whoa! Come back!”

“Alonso’s having a laugh out front. Completely different formula he’s driving in there.”

“Alonso out in the new section with the camels and the cactus.”

(Alonso takes a tear-off from his visor on the final lap)
“Doing a bit of housework in there: ‘Let’s get a clear visor so I can see the flag even better’.”

“Italy has a new hero; Spain already has one.”

Jonathan: “Was this your Driver of the Day, would you say, Fernando Alonso, or did the race just come to him, really?”
Martin: “It’s difficult to know, isn’t it, whether Vettel would have held him off or not. The difference between a good driver and a great driver is: great drivers win races in cars that shouldn’t win races, and are not necessarily the quickest car on the grid, and that’s what Vettel can do. I think Ferrari had potentially the better car here, but Vettel had them covered, and saved fourth place, so I’d give it to Vettel, but Alonso just looked supreme, didn’t he?”

(On the issue of former racing drivers becoming part of the stewards’ panel and whether they can be impartial)
“It’s like when you’re called up for jury service. You have a responsibility; it’s not about who your old mates were. Your decisions are gonna be super-analysed from every angle and so you’re not gonna come up with some crazy decision just because it suits your old mates. I heard a silly thing once: ‘No, we’re not having drivers in there because after a few years they’re gonna forget what it was like.’ Well, they’re gonna forget a lot less than somebody who’s never driven a racing car.”

(A viewer emails the Red Button Forum asking if Alonso is the favourite for the championship after just one race)
“I thought he was the title favourite before the race. I love Felipe Massa – I think he’s a gorgeous little man – but he’s got a challenge on his hands to match that man now.”

Jake: “First race of the year. Enjoyed it? Good fun?”
Martin: “It was all right. I’m looking for a bit more excitement next time out!”


AUSTRALIA
“You can’t see in those ridiculous mirrors parked outboard on the side pods.”

“When you’re constantly looking at your team mate’s data across the garage, you’re in trouble.”

“Hurry up and wait through the hairpins.”

“It doesn’t hurt when you crash on PlayStation.”

“His first sector a 28.3, which is decidedly not very fast.”

“He’s on a set of tyres that’s beginning to cry, ‘Enough’.”

Jonathan: “This isn’t gonna be good enough unless he suddenly gets a turbo on the way.”
Martin: “A shortcut, he needs now!”

“Turn 8 is eat your sandwiches and think about something else.”

Vettel (over radio): “Oh, gracious! We will show them!”
Martin: “You already showed us. If there was a University of Formula 1, that would be a case study.”

“I thought we might stand more of a chance of finding some drivers here at the poorer, happier end of the grid.”

(Pointing to a sponsor’s name on Petrov’s sleeve)
“I never thought I’d see the word ‘Lada’ in Formula 1. We used to sell those when I was a kid in my dad’s garage. We’d guarantee them off the edge of the forecourt and watch the customer disappear through the letterbox.”
(Quote submitted by Craig Daniels)

“That’s the stupid mirrors again. That was zero percent Jenson’s fault.”

“Schumacher won’t appreciate all the Formula Ford barging around.”

“It’s so boring, this Formula 1!! That’s what I hate about it!”

“Massa just gave him the space. It was like an invitation to pass, and Hamilton RSVPed immediately. And Alonso, too busy watching them, gets mugged by Webber.”

“Kobayashi’s front wing was off – not for the first time this weekend – then he just did a toboggan and was heading straight to the scene of the accident.”
(Quote submitted by Craig Daniels)

“That would be a mother and father of a shunt if those two connected on Turn 12.”

“If I hadn’t heard that myself, I wouldn’t have believed it – an engineer having to tell a driver how to drive.”

“Three things will win Jenson the race: the smooth driving style, no doubt about it; Vettel and his problems; and ... I can’t remember the third one!”
Jonathan: “He’s in the lead!”
Martin: “Yeah, exactly!”

(Alonso’s engineer radios how close Hamilton is getting behind him)
Alonso:
“I don’t want to know.”
Martin (laughing): “I’ve said that myself a few times!”

“It’s a pathetic feeling when your tyres are gone: you can’t brake, you can’t turn, you can’t get on the throttle pedal; you just feel helpless.”

“You don’t win a world championship and all the races (Jenson)’s done by not being one of the world’s great racing drivers. But it was interesting to hear Lewis losing his head in the middle of that: ‘My tyres have grained,’ ‘Nothing we can do,’ ‘Why did you pull me in?’ is not a discussion to have while you’re trying to pass the Ferraris.”

“(Vettel) must be on some kind of happy pill, ’cause he’s slapping the team on the back on the pitwall.”


MALAYSIA
“Noah could well have come from these parts of the world ’cause when it rains here, it’s pretty immense.”

(Buemi skids across the gravel and then tiptoes along the back edge)
“He can make it straight through to the pitlane from there and pretend nothing happened if he wants.”

“[Race engineer] Andrew Shovlin never thought he’d be telling Michael Schumacher to be careful!”

“At the moment Hamilton is on the back row of the grid unless he can produce some kind of magic and literally walk on water.”

“I love those races where the grid’s all mixed up! Bring it on!”

“Ambition well ahead of adhesion.”

“He looks like he’s fighting an octopus in there, he’s moving the steering wheel so much.”

“Always aim it for where the [spinning car in front of you] is, because by the time you get there it’s usually gone.”

“If they pass Go, they might collect a grid position today.”

(As the red flag is thrown)
“Better safe than sorry, but it doesn’t feel very Formula 1 to me.”

“A standard thunderstorm [here] is when [the rain] only bounces six inches off the ground rather than a foot.”

Martin: “What time have you ordered the rain for?”
Bernie: “4.15. ... If it doesn’t rain, I want my money back.”
Martin: “And I want ten percent of it.”

“It’s stupidly easy to be able to run into another car on the formation lap.”

“That’s not the Alonso we know, love and despise, all at the same time.”

“They know that when a blue flag’s waved, they’ve got to jump out of the way like a naughty puppy dog.”

“He’s been trying to get past Massa for about eight days now!”

Rob Smedley (crooning over the radio as Massa overtakes Button): “Good boy. Beautiful!”
Martin (laughing): “If I came back to Formula 1, he’s the engineer I’d want. He’s just a top man!”

(Alonso’s engine grinds as his downshifting problem gets worse)
“Oh dear. There’s one in there somewhere, Fernando.”

“Massa will lead the World Championship – as he did for twenty seconds in 2008.”

(DC notes how Alonso kept the hammer down even after he knew that his engine was going to fail)
“Yeah, I dunno what the Spanish for ‘Fix that, guys’ is, but I would imagine he was saying that.”

(Martin is caught on the phone partway through the Forum)
“Sorry, that was my son calling me. He’s racing at Oulton Park this weekend and he doesn’t know I’m still on the telly.”
(Thanks to Arkady English for the correction)


CHINA
Martin: “I have to say, that [Hispania car] looks terrifying to drive. That deserves a point just for getting that round.”
Jonathan: “They’re talking about needing an experienced driver. You’re not gonna offer yourself as an experienced driver?”
Martin: “I’m busy that day, I think.”

“It rattles [your confidence] a bit when both the front wheels fall off at a couple of hundred miles an hour, but I thought (Buemi) was pathetic in his press release having a run at the team, forgetting he’s handed them back so many cars that are good for the skip only.”

Martin: “[The drivers] do like to beat up on Lewis.”
Jonathan: “Why’s that?”
Martin: “He’s too fast!”

“Let’s agree not to talk about rain. ‘Maybe it’s gonna rain.’ It never seems to do what they forecast it’s gonna do!”

“The man they call the new Schumacher, but is really the new Sebastian Vettel.”

“They just all seem completely unruly and out of control today!”

“Michael with armfuls of oversteer.”

“That was dangerously close to two moves there from Nico Rosberg but I think he’ll say, ‘Hey, it’s against Lewis who doesn’t seem to play by the rules in that respect’.”

“I’m pretty sure that if Lewis gets a penalty for the pitlane incident, it will be a grid drop in Barcelona – if we ever get there!”
(Volcanic ash from Iceland grounds all flights into Europe)

“It’s always difficult to know where to park a Ferrari, but on the outside of a hairpin on the outside of Michael Schumacher in the rain is not one of them.”

“I can’t begin to explain to you how hard it is to keep those cars on the road when they’ve got no rubber left on a damp track and wet in places. The skill these guys have got, the feel, the sixth sense of how hard they can press the throttle to unleash more than seven hundred horsepower and just try to keep this thing pointing in the right direction – tremendous. Thoroughly enjoyed that race and fully appreciate just how brilliant they’ve been out there today.”

(Trying to eavesdrop on the top three as they talk behind the podium)
Jonathan:
“Pick anything out?”
Martin: “I can’t hear, but I’m sure they’ve got fifty stories to tell each.”

Martin: “This is one of my least favourite Grands Prix anyway, so the thought of being stuck here for another week doesn’t appeal to me very much!”
Anthony Davidson (glumly): “Try having your birthday here!”


SPAIN
“Jenson can’t compute oversteer.”

“I tell you what: Qualifying 2 is gonna be immense.”

“Sebastian Vettel, who usually likes to play Dare with the clock, is out already.”

“Five times the force of gravity as you hit the brakes; your vital organs crash against the inside of your ribs, it seems; your eyeballs want to pop out at that moment.”

“I’m not sure I’d wanna be upside down in that Mercedes with that blade rollover bar.”

(On concerns about Ferrari drivers having both hands off the steering wheel at times)
Eddie Jordan:
“It’s a little bit of a scam or a little bit of scaremongering by McLaren and the other teams, surely – isn’t that the case?”
Martin: “No, it’s the case of that’s exactly my point of view. I haven’t heard a word from those guys.”

“I’d better mind the pitlane. There’s plenty of washed-up old racing drivers they could replace me with.”

“If you were dreaming about being on pole position in Formula 1, the last drivers you’d want behind you [would be] Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso, Button and Schumacher. How about that for a line-up to keep you awake the night before a Grand Prix?”

“I dunno if [race engineer] Rob Smedley gets part of a driver’s salary but he seems to do as much of the driving of that car as Felipe sometimes!”

(In-car footage of Buemi bouncing over speed bumps at the side of the track)
“Ooh, nasty! Remember you’re sitting on the floor of the car – it brings tears to your eyes.”

“It’s a team of two but a class of one.”

“It’s not often you hear that, is it: ‘Michael’s holding everybody up’!”

“At least all four wheels are pointing more or less in the same direction at the moment.”
(Quote submitted by Andy Farrington)

“He started the race virtually on the grass, and it’s just got worse since then.”

“Alonso does the fastest lap of the race. Don’t ask me to explain that!”

(All the timing computers go off)
“I can hear Murray Walker at home saying, ‘You see?! What you need is a man at the back of the commentary box doing a lap chart with a stopwatch and then you would know!’ But we mostly make it up anyway, so it doesn’t matter too much.”

“I bet Alonso was really hurting to see Hamilton in the hedge(!)”

“See, the drivers should all talk to us on the grid, ’cause they always win a race then. Lewis is missing a trick here. He won’t talk – he thinks it’s bad karma, you know, but [then] his front tyre fails. He should talk on the grid!”


MONACO
“[The drivers] should stop moaning and get on with it. ... They need to get out there and find a gap.”

“We talk about being on the side of the track. I wish I could take each and every one of you down there. It’s just special. When you’re making your ‘Things To Do Before I Die’ list, make sure you put on, ‘Stand beside the racetrack during a session when Formula 1 cars are going round’. It’s just mind-blowing.”

“Try to hit the barrier on the inside, then you won’t.”

“The pit straight, which is anything but straight.”

(Rosberg is fastest in the first two sectors, then hits traffic)
“Welcome to street racing!”

“What happened to the Kobayashi who was so stunning in the last two races last year? Where did he go?”

“Full marks for trying. Full marks for keeping it out of the hedge, too!”

“Petrov didn’t trouble the racing line into Mirabeau.”

“Schumacher was pretty committed this morning for an old geezer.”

“It’s too much like a skateboard, that Toro Rosso; it’s too stiff.”

“Full lock, his arms completely crossed. You won’t pass your driving test like that.”

Martin: “You’re one of the stewards here this weekend, Damon. Have you made any money?”
Damon Hill: “No, I haven’t managed to fine any of these guys yet; they’re all too good.”
Martin: “Are you wishing you were still on the grid?”
Damon: “You can’t help it, can you, Martin? You’re never gonna lose the love of what it was like, but we’re too old now, mate, you know?!”
Martin: “Sad, but true!”

Martin: “Hello, Tanya, how are you today?”
Tanya from Sky Sports: “I’m fine! We are not meeting each other at an interview, thank God!”
Martin (to us): “I’m Mr. Popular there, as you can tell!”

“I’m actually lost on the grid now. We need signposts to find out where we are.”

“Gerard Butler – he beat me and Eddie Jordan to the Sexiest Man in the World back in 2005. All the girls in the TV compound insisted that I found you. I’m looking for J.Lo myself!”

“I’m gonna go and find myself something sweet called the Sugababes ... That’s the little Spanish girl who kicks my legs if I ask any questions when she’s around ... Right, where are the Sugababes? There are the Sugababes! How can you trip over three Sugababes and not notice?!”

“I dunno who painted the green stripes on the Bridgestones this weekend but they had a big party the night before, I think – there’s some quite wonky ones.”

“Di Grassi well out of shape in the tunnel. That’s terrifying to watch, let alone to drive.”

“He didn’t gain a place, but he failed to lose a place, which is just as significant.”

“Good slo-mo stuff, as we always get round here ... I’ve seen better than that one, to be honest.”

“Chandok putting his hand up to protect his head, which won’t do much good with six hundred kilos bearing down on you.”


TURKEY
“I think he could be there or thereabouts on race day.”

“They will expect to easily clear Qualifying 1 on anything that keeps the wheel rims off the ground, basically.”

“I think it’s called the F-duct because that’s where the ‘f’ of ‘Vodafone’ fitted on the front of their car. I think they’re quite amused that everybody refers to it as that.”

“Our track guide’s with Heikki tomorrow. He’s just on a happy pill all day long – he’s so relaxed!”

(A clever camera angle of Alonso in the pits)
“Moody shot, but we wanna see the action, please.”

“He’s making mistakes, other than being a miserable little so-and-so to interview.”

“They’re all trying to copy the McLaren [F-duct] but they’re trying to add it on afterwards like a set of mudflaps on a dodgy used car. This car needs it, though – it’s barely quick enough to get out of its own way down the straight.”

“Tell you what: I think if Hamilton passes Webber, then he’s got a faster car.”
(Martin practises stating the bleedin’ obvious!)

“Formula 1 cars are like driving an E-type Jag: you’ve really not got a lot of idea where the front of them is.”

“Thanks for the weather update, Tango Echo Delta.”

“You can tell that [Red Bull] pair anything you like; they’re gonna do what they want right now.”
(Prophetic words indeed.)

“I’ve lied to the audience for fourteen years now about it’s always just about to rain according to Formula 1.”

“If (Vettel) thinks his team mate messed up, he could come and throw his crash helmet at him as he comes past the pits or something – give us a bit of fun!”

“That’s the least excited I’ve seen Lewis Hamilton look for winning any motor race. No idea why.”


CANADA
“We’ve seen [the surface] breaking up in previous years but whatever they’ve put down now has all of the qualities of polished marble.”

“We do love it – all tracks beginning with ‘M’: Montreal, Melbourne, Monaco ... let’s pretend Magny Cours doesn’t exist ... Monza ...”

(Vettel sits in the garage with his eyes closed)
“Yes, you basically stare at the back of your eyelids and paint a racetrack on ‘em.”

“It launches the car and you lose half a metre while you’re flying.”

“[Maybe] they think, ‘Let’s start tomorrow on the tyre that’s a bit chewing gummy, they’re gonna fall apart’.”

“Jenson Button power-sliding through a corner? It just doesn’t happen.”

“Liuzzi – that’s a career-saving performance from him. Stunning. Well done.”

Ron Dennis: “You should try retirement, Martin. I’m not, but you should be!”
Martin: “That’s what you told me in ’94 when I was driving for you!”

“We’re gonna work hard this afternoon following this lot!”

“I think he’ll be singularly unimpressed with that, but then Michael Schumacher never did yield, and I don’t think he’s ever intending to start now. ... That was bordering on very naughty from Michael Schumacher.”

(Glock’s engineers work underneath his empty car in the pit box)
“Almost looks like the driver’s fallen out of the bottom of the car and they’re looking for him, doesn’t it?!”

“You have to treat the back of Michael Schumacher’s car like the back end of a donkey today. I think he’s driven appallingly, frankly – poor on the grid and poor in the race.”


EUROPE
“That’s the beauty, in many ways, of no testing, isn’t it? We turn up to a Grand Prix and we wonder what we’re gonna get for the weekend, and it changes every time. It’s brilliant!”

“There’s a new level of confidence and patience in Lewis Hamilton’s driving. He’s not chasing the back end all over the road. I don’t know if he’s learned some of that from Jenson or he’s learning and maturing himself, but Hamilton is really driving beautifully at the moment.”

“He gets a big dollop of opposite lock on the way out.”

“The teams do like you to spin off occasionally and lock your brakes to show you’re somewhere near the limit, but I’ve never known one to want you to crash the car to find out how fast it really will go!”

“We’re at the back of the grid, Eddie. We’ve experienced that in our careers, haven’t we?”

“The well-known Irish driver, Tim O’Glock here!”

(Glock gives Martin a Germany team football shirt)
Martin:
“I think you’ve got more chance of winning this race than they have of winning the match! [This shirt] is really soft – I can polish my car with that!”

“You never want to fly in a Formula 1 car.”

“Vettel was so slow, he almost caught himself out.”

“Tell you what: that drive-through lost us a great fight today between Vettel and Hamilton. That would have been a cracker.”

(Talking about Webber’s car taking off)
“Red Bull definitely gave him wings.”

“Kobayashi’d be my Driver of the Day.”


BRITAIN
“Bumps on a racetrack? Well, change the car, lift the ride height, change the suspension. We can’t keep ironing out the racetracks of the world so they can have a perfect billiard table to go on. I can understand the frustrations, but we just can’t keep creating the perfect racetrack.”

“We’re nearly two minutes into the session. If you’re wondering why there are no cars on the track, so am I!”

“This is a Happy Hour type of racetrack: at ten o’clock in the morning you’ll go faster, as you will at five o’clock in the evening before testing finishes, as the track is cooler.”

“I tell you what: I was watching Michael Schumacher out at the 190 mile an hour corners. He lacks no commitment at all, no fear at high speeds, so it’s technique he’s missing. Commitment is absolutely there.”

“(Yamamoto’s) neck’s gone on right-handers, and there’s plenty of those around here. They’re lucky these days – they’ve got the big pillows to lean on. We used to try to tie our heads underneath our armpits with tie wraps in the hope of keeping our necks intact.”

“Turning up here and testing a Formula 1 car, going out at ten o’clock sharp and going down the Hangar Straight with Stowe corner inviting you to have a go was just the most magnificent feeling, and it looks exactly the same today.”

“That McLaren is so harsh over the bumps, I would imagine that Lewis has got a dental appointment and then a chiropracter appointment on Monday morning. It looks violent to drive.”

“Unless they stand on their own tails, Red Bull are gonna walk this.”

“What is the wind speed out there at the moment? If I can find the right page on this computer ... It’s gusting at 7.4 somethings.”

“Welcome to the grid here in the Costa del Northampton.”

(to Sir Patrick Stewart a.k.a. Captain Jean-Luc Picard) “I don’t think even you can beam Lewis up to the top step of the podium today!”

(David Coulthard drives Martin around the track in a two-seater Formula 1 car)
D.C.:
“You’re like a national treasure. Can you imagine the hate mail I would receive if I did anything?”
Martin: “You’d never go to Norfolk again if you binned me!”

“... onto the magnificent Hangar Straight. How can a straight be magnificent? I don’t know!”

“They start with 150 kilograms – two reasonable size humans – of fuel.”

“He will argue – as Alonso will always argue ...”

(Alonso gets a drive-through penalty)
“Remember Alonso saying two weeks ago, ‘This race was manipulated’? He was very hard on the FIA. I think he might just have got a little bit of payback there, ’cause that’s a tough call. We used to sometimes laugh about FIA – ‘Ferrari International Assistance’. I don’t think we’ll be thinking that today.”

“He’s already had some manners put on him by Sutil as he breezed through ... or barged through, actually.”

Jonathan: “It keeps twitching. It seems unstable, that Ferrari, at the moment.”
Martin: “He’s just driving the wheels off it, isn’t he?”

“As Steve Irwin used to say, ‘Poke him with a stick’. Wouldn’t wanna poke this Aussie with a stick, ’cause he responds, doesn’t he, in the most impressive way.”


GERMANY
“That Turn 1 is so difficult. It’s like threading the eye of a needle at 145 miles an hour.”

“I think it’s a much better track now, I have to say. It used to terrify me. There was no skill out the back there, being flat out at 120 miles an hour, hoping something didn’t break. I think this is a much more interesting layout for fans and drivers. I just found it frightening rather than skilful.”

“I tell you what: Ferrari need a result this weekend. They have to go home with a lot of points if they’re gonna save their season.”

“That thing just sticks to the road, doesn’t it, like a gecko wading through superglue.”

“He looked like he couldn’t drive a nail into a piece of wood earlier in the year; now he’s found his way and doing a brilliant job.”

“Welcome to the grid, my fellow petrolheads.”

Martin: “OK, mate, don’t hold me up any more, ’cause I’ve gotta get to the commentary box. I’ve got a job to do.”
Jenson: “Oh, really? Oh, really? You call that a job?!”

“This is far and away the best drive we’ve seen from (Massa) since he had the accident in Hungary last year, in my view.”

“That puts a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach when you’ve over-committed to the braking area. You’re like, ‘Oh, no, I’m gonna run into him’.”

“”I wouldn’t be betting on this bunch of lunatics!”

“Massa keeps encountering Virgins in all the wrong places. There’s some great one-liners there we could entertain ourselves with all afternoon.”

“They need Fernando Alonso to do the fastest lap of the race, don’t they? ‘He was faster than Massa; we had to let him through.’ And it’s no good if Massa does the fastest lap of the race towards the end of the race after the swap’s taken place.”

“That’s an extraordinary thing to say, isn’t it: ‘past Rosberg, a back-marker in a Mercedes’.

Driver of the Day, Felipe Massa, in my book.”


HUNGARY
“It must be a wonderful feeling every morning when your eyelids open as a Red Bull driver at the moment, knowing just what a great racing car you have, whether you’re going to the track that day or not.”

“Hamilton clearly decided to beat the car and the track into submission.”

“This is where (Massa) got hit on the crash helmet by that flying piece last year. The skid marks are still there at the top of the hill.”

“Alguersuari driving as if his life depends on it.”

“Barrichello hanging onto that Williams for dear life.”

(high-pitched in disbelief) “He shifts up on the exit of Turn 11! He’s shifting up!!”

“(Renault) are beginning to support (Petrov), saying what a great job he did in Hockenheim. That passed me by – he did a solid job, I thought.”

(Fed up with waiting to speak to De La Rosa)
“Hasta la vista, Pedro. We’ll talk to you another day.”

“You’ve gotta be impressed by that. That’s Jenson looking down the track and noticing that Rubens Barrichello, who is five cars in front of him – he’s noticing Barrichello’s tyre choice! I’m massively impressed by that.”

“It’s Formula 1 – you’re either giving pressure or you’re taking it. There’s nothing in between. It’s just the way it is. I love it. These are the same people in the same three hundred metres of tarmac or pitlane, racing each other like the Earth’s survival depends on it.”

“Like all the drivers of my era, I’ve got lots of broken bones in my legs and bits and pieces that don’t quite work properly [from] when they used to sit us at the very front of the cars so we’d be the first things that hit the barriers, like most of my ilk who wobble to the commentary box.”

“(Alonso) helping Massa out – there’s a novel concept(!)”

“‘Go fast and don’t crash,’ as Ken Tyrrell used to say to me.”

“Alonso with the widest Ferrari you’ve ever seen.”

(Webber radios how good it feels to lap Schumacher)
“All the drivers see Michael as a trophy, not a threat. It’s a kind of respect, isn’t it?”

“Rubens is either gonna finish tenth or he’s going off, isn’t he, into the side of Schumacher. Rubens would love to get this done. He took a fair psychological beating being Michael’s team mate, and there’s stories yet to be told from that era.”

“No points for Fastest Lap. I always think there should be a point or two for the fastest lap.”

“You’ve gotta be hard but fair; and Michael was a day late and a dollar short on that final move. The trouble is, Michael’s got such bad form on that that it’s difficult to give him the benefit of the doubt. As far as he’s concerned, it’s Rubens’ fault ... ‘I don’t give presents.’ Well, he did give him a present: he shoved him in the wall. ... If they’d have made contact, that would have been an aeroplane crash. It was unfair driving. It was just one move too far. ... He’s gotta have a grid drop in Spa. If [the stewards] don’t give Michael a grid drop for Spa, then I think they’ve missed the moment to make a statement here because, yeah, there’s racing hard, and there’s a trust you put in another person at 200 miles an hour wheel to wheel, and that was over the line.”


BELGIUM
“The weather’s been all over the place, and so have the drivers.”

(Martin’s sarcastic response to the report that a driver suggested that the white lines should be burned off to avoid the risk of skidding on rain-soaked paint)
“Maybe it should all just be straight so they don’t have to risk going round corners.”

“A small, nothingey sort of corner.”

“A good direction change; belief the car will stick on Malmedy at the end there. I smashed a McLaren to bits there in 1994.”

Vettel’s engineer (over radio): “There are some spots of rain in Turn 1. Don’t let that bother you.”
Martin (laughing): “Easy for you to say, Rocky!”

“For a brilliant circuit, it’s got a rubbish start/finish straight.”

“(Vettel’s) got the classic shape of racing drivers. They all look exactly the same; there’s no meat on them whatsoever.”

Martin: “How’s your car?”
Vettel: “Blue, with black wheels on it.”

“The two men who are always so good – maybe because they came from British motorsport – so good in difficult conditions. We have Hamilton and Button out front now.”
(Quote submitted by Tom Wooltorton)

“That was never gonna stop in a month of Sundays.”

“They’ll be hanging the white flags out. This is a scary part of the racetrack: 200 miles an hour and you don’t really expect to meet something doing about thirty.”

“Sharp as a kumquat fruit today is Lewis. I dunno if I’ve won the bet for getting that word in the programme today!”

“This impetuous nature of Sebastian Vettel: it cost him a world championship last year potentially, I felt, and it’s definitely costing him this year. He needs to calm that down a little bit. I don’t think I’m as unimpressed with his overtaking skills as Jenson Button is today, but generally he’s having too much contact. He’s involved in too many incidents.”

“Hamilton’s having a laugh out there now, really.”

“There are hundreds of millions of people watching this wanting it to rain and twenty-one people out there who don’t want it to rain ... with the possible exception of Sebastian Vettel – he’d like something in there to spoil the mix at the moment.”

(Watching footage from a helicopter of approaching black clouds)
Jonathan:
“That looks pretty worrying.”
Martin: “Looks brilliant to me!”
Jonathan: “You reckon?”
Martin (excitedly): “Yeah!”
Jonathan:
“Says the helicopter pilot.”
Martin: “No, it looks brilliant for this race!”

“Liuzzi’s got a rocket ship under him on the straights.”

“Kubica’s moving into world class status now; I think he’s joined the very exclusive club.”


ITALY
“He never did get on the right piece of tarmac in the Ascari chicane.”

“This is wonderful, this Ascari chicane, the direction change at 150 miles an hour. You don’t even believe it inside the cockpit and you’re bolted to the thing.”

“He looked like he was fighting an octopus in the last part of the lap.”

“Ease it onto that long pit straight with your right foot nailed to the bulkhead, willing the car ... it just feels totally gutless at that point; you’re like, ‘Come on, come on,’ and you’re doing 210 and it doesn’t appear to be accelerating.”

“I’ve never seen a barn door of a rear wing like Button’s got on at the Monza racetrack. It is an extreme amount of wing.”

“Wow – I never had a car that would turn in there like that and stick. [If] you turned in there like that in the cars of a few years ago, you’d go straight to hospital.”

“Alonso on a stonker.”

“I’m becoming a bit of a hate figure on this grid, I’m afraid, with the foreign media, because we dive in.”

(Apparently getting glared at or gestured at by a passing cameraman)
“What’s your problem, buddy? There’s plenty of space for everybody.”

(To Christian Horner) “I got pulled into the headmaster’s office with Katie, your press officer, ’cause I said today [that] this Red Bull is not as fast.”

(Heading towards Massa) “I think we’ve been outbraked by somebody an awful lot prettier than me.” (Then, to us after he has again pushed in in front of another interviewer) “See? Now, I’m desperately in trouble now.”

“I’ve got a snowball in hell’s chance of talking to Fernando Alonso.”

“We’ll see if we can butt in with Button. He doesn’t know that we’re here, so I’ll just pull one of these long hairs on his arm. You don’t know how much I hate interrupting racing drivers on the grid.”

Martin: “So you can get your leg on [the F-duct] and then go up the gears no problem at all?”
Jenson: “Yeah, if we used our leg, yes!”
Martin: “Oh, right. What do you do, then?”
Jenson: “It’s all right, it’s only been fourteen races(!)”
Martin: “Oh, yeah, you’re a hand, aren’t you? I forgot about that! So ... (he points to Alonso’s car) ... this thing’s quite quick off the line, isn’t it?”
Jenson: “It’s a Formula 1 car, it should be pretty good.”

“I just wanna see if Eric Clapton is around here somewhere. We can’t see Bernie, but he is quite short.”

“If you think Mark Webber’s unhappy now, wait ’til he sees Sebastian Vettel emerge from the pitlane in front of him ... Think I’ll steer round Mark if I see him in the paddock afterwards.”

“That’s not too bad, is it, Fernando? Look at that – all those beautiful girls applauding you [and] you’ve won a race.”

(Caught grabbing a quick drink as the Red Button Forum begins)
“A cup of lotus tea. Perfect. One sugar, stirred clockwise.”
(Thanks to Kevin Purcell for the correction)

“They were obviously running the 3.5 litre engine here as well, as Ferrari always do at Monza. ... Ha ha.”
(Quote submitted by ‘Washcloud’ and by Kevin Purcell)

“Eddie hasn’t told me I’m not driving for 1997 yet!”


SINGAPORE
“The track surface is forty percent new this year. The bumps are still out there, I’m very pleased to say.”

“He powered it up and the rear tyre said, ‘You’ve gotta be joking. I can’t do that’.”

“They keep changing drivers. We can’t be too far away from HRT changing drivers during the pit stop in the race!”

“Who needs the Atkins Diet? Just get a Formula 1 car.”

“The back end’s still trying to get away from him. It’s like it’s attached to somebody else’s car.”

“See, they have to have that chicane there, otherwise it would be a ninety left with no run-off area unless they pull down a government building.”

“... said the Spaniard to the Italian in English.”

“Seeing him walking through the paddock yesterday, that’s as good a shape as I’ve ever seen Michael in. He really is obviously working out hard. Still got a dodgy dress sense, but that’s what he thinks about me, no doubt.”

“Nico you normally need to book – bit like a top London restaurant – several weeks in advance if you wanna talk to him.”

(During a Safety Car session) “I would argue that the Virgin is more than ten car lengths behind. I dunno who’s getting out there with a tape measure.”

“His progress has been halted in rather a hurry.”

“I think they’re a day late and a dollar short on this move.”
(Quote submitted by Brendan van Zyl)

“(Alonso’s) not always easy to love, but he’s very easy to admire.”

“It’s no wonder you end up being an inch shorter when you finish being a Grand Prix driver when you see them bouncing across whatever, sitting on the floor. It just shuffles your spine up nicely.”
Jonathan: “Are you speaking from experience?”
Martin: “I am. I’m speaking from standing here with a painful back, actually! It’s not getting any better, as do most drivers. You lose your ears and you lose your back, and that’s if you don’t break some other bits.”

“I don’t wanna beat up on these guys. They go for it; they really go for it. That’s what we want them to do.”

“My daughter’s watching [at that corner] – she’s seeing some action today!”

“These drivers are supreme athletes. To do this for two hours, the energy level is immense. The G-forces, the heat – it’s about fifty, fifty-five Centigrade inside the cockpit. They’re wearing four layers of fireproof clothing apart from gloves, boots, and it’s just like a little cooker in there. And then add in the stress of being between those walls at a couple of hundred miles an hour.”

“For me, Kubica has now elevated himself up with Vettel, Hamilton, Button and co. into world class status, and I tell you what: put a car underneath him that’s capable of winning the championship and I think he’d be mighty.”

(Eddie complains that following Formula 1 is difficult and the travelling is a slog)
Martin:
“It’s not that hard. We get paid to watch telly, as my son reminds me.”


JAPAN
Qualifying was cancelled until Sunday morning because of heavy rain. Martin went out on walkabout with a microphone down the pitlane during the Saturday qualifying show, and then joined the other pundits.

(Talking with Jenson and Lewis in the pit garage)
“I wouldn’t wanna be in the Safety Car at the moment, let alone an F1 car.”

“Thanks, guys, I know you’ve got a lot of waiting to be getting on with, so thanks for your time.”
Lee: “Only Martin Brundle could manage to do a gridwalk in a garage!”

“You go and watch those guys out at Degner and 130R, and they’re absolutely stunningly brilliant and committed to the racetrack. No team boss should ever go out and watch the drivers on the track because every time they say, ‘We need more money,’ he’ll go, ‘OK then, have some more money’.”

“We’ve driven in these conditions here back in 1994, David, were you in the race?”
D.C.: “No, I wasn’t, I was watching. I remember you had an incident on the run-in to the Degner corners at the top of Dunlop.”
Martin (as his microphone fades out): “Yeah, it was one of the most terrifying things that ever happened to me in a car ... (He takes another mic from Eddie) ... I didn’t have to change microphones halfway through, but I might as well have done. I’d been on the radio saying, ‘You’ve gotta stop the race. Tell ’em to stop the race.’ I was behind Heinz-Harald Frentzen and all of a sudden something flashed down the side of my car. It was Johnny Herbert pointing in the wrong direction, having aquaplaned down the pitstraight. So I’m now really, ‘You’ve gotta stop this race.’ Next thing is, you know that horrible silence when you start aquaplaning? It all goes quiet when you lift off the throttle and you get this eerie silence as you’re floating. I went out of Frentzen’s spray, I saw this little tractor that was trying to pull a Minardi out of the fence, and marshalls. I hit a marshall. I remember his face coming through my cockpit. I skidded for hundreds of metres and eventually came to a halt, ran back to see how the marshall was, the bone of his leg was sticking out through his overalls, and I felt really bad for him, I felt sick, but there was nothing I could do. I literally just floated off the racetrack where others had gone off too. I just saw this little mini-tractor thing coming at the side of me and thought, ‘I’m gonna die.’ Somehow I missed that. I actually got pulled up to the stewards and cautioned for not seeing yellow flags! When you’re in that situation you can’t even see your own steering wheel, your own dashboard. You’re listening to the driver in front of you rather than seeing him, and I was pretty upset that they cautioned me on that.”

“I think the drivers will quite like this Sunday morning qualifying. They’ll be in the groove. Normally they qualify, then they don’t turn a wheel for a day until the first lap of the race.”

“130R – unfortunately they’ve neutered this corner. It’s now all the risk but none of the skill.”

“His only hope is to straightline the last chicane and hope nobody notices!”

“Fuel minimum, engine power maximum, commitment off the scale.”

“Shall we see if we can be ignored by Michael Schumacher?”

(to Adrian Newey) “You got any concerns, apart from the drivers running into each other?”

“There is Felipe Massa’s sorry-looking Ferrari, looking like Bambi just after it was born with its legs pointing everywhere.”

Jonathan: “Another helmet change [for Vettel]. I won’t get your opinion on that, ’cause your facial expression says it all! You don’t like it, do you?”
Martin: “Well, your crash helmet’s your signature and you don’t change your signature every weekend, do you?”

“We saw old Kobaybashi going through at the hairpin. He’s the sort of kid that would steal your sweets at school, isn’t he?!”

“Fortune favours the brave, and the brave is now up into ninth place.”

“I don’t know how that feels, sitting in the cockpit of a Ferrari and you’re told, ‘If you could just try a liiiittle bit harder, it would be appreciated here in the pits’. He’s like, ‘Give me a break! I have to keep passing traffic!’”

“There was somebody tired of living, wandering through the pitlane.”

“There’s only one person in the car, and that’s the person you’ve gotta look at when the car gets damaged.”

“Only you could go and ask a team why they’re so slow, Ted!”

Jonathan: “Does Fastest Lap carry as much, currently?”
Martin: “They’re league tables, aren’t they, where you get compared with the greats. But you’re right, there’s no prizes for Fastest Lap, especially if you throw it in the wall trying to do it for no good reason, which I think is a grave concern to the team when (Vettel) radios in asking who’s got Fastest Lap and what is it?”

“I love that – Webber did Fastest Lap of the race on the last lap just to rub a bit of salt in. ‘You can have the win; I’m not gonna give you the satisfaction of Fastest Lap and pole position. You can’t have a full house’.”

“(Vettel) looks very boyish, doesn’t he, but he drove like a man today, that’s for sure.”

(As the cars pull into Parc Fermé)
“I thought Kobayashi was gonna have a go at the medical car there, just to finish the day off.”
(Quote submitted by Khaled Hassan)


SOUTH KOREA
“Not really a wing mirror, is it – more a side-of-cockpit mirror.”

“It’s so frustrating for a driver when the track tries to spit you off like that.”

(Rubens has complained to Race Control that Michael held him up in Q2)
Jonathan:
“Not much love lost between those two, is there?!”
Martin: “Rubens [saying], ‘He’s been holding me up for five years before he retired for the first time! Why didn’t he stay retired?’!”

(Sheltering under the open gull-wing door of the Safety Car)
“I’ve found myself a two hundred grand umbrella.”

“David Coulthard doing the MI6 job back at McLaren.”

(David – at McLaren’s technical centre in Britain – tells those at the track something he knew ages ago which they only just learned)
“I’m really miffed that D.C. knew two minutes before we did that it was gonna start behind the Safety Car. We might as well stay at home if we’re two minutes behind the pace in getting the information! And I said it as it came up on the screen here, within about a second because I happened to just be about to start talking!”
Jonathan: “Is that gonna niggle you for the rest of the afternoon?”
Martin: “Yeah. I’m not happy!”

“I like the way they keep leathering off the Ferrari like it’s in the showroom. I bet they’ll be blacking the tyres shortly!”

“You always know how motivated you are when you press the throttle harder at two hundred miles an hour when you can’t see where you’re going but you daren’t lift off because somebody will run into the back of you.”

“This is setting a difficult precedent for me, because does this mean now that whenever we see this level of water on the track, you can’t start the race?”

“They’ve been going forty seconds slower [than race pace], which is why they’re not feeling the love from the tyres and the track with downforce.”

(Most drivers radio that it’s too wet to race. Lewis, on the other hand, says it’s almost ready for inters)
“I’m with you, son!”

“We had a feature on that earlier in the programme ... about seven hours ago!”

“The lights just came on in our commentary box – obviously an automatic sensor for night time, so as far as our sensor’s concerned in the comm box, it’s officially getting quite dark!”

“I’m imagining soon a call from Rocky to Sebastian Vettel saying, ‘How’s the light out there?’ and Sebastian going, ‘It’s getting very dark. I think they should stop the race’.”
(A lap and a half later ...)
Vettel (over radio):
“I cannot see the braking in Turn 1 and in other corners it’s really bad.”
(Martin sniggers.)
Jonathan:
“Have you got a hotline to Rocky?!”

“(Sutil) still passing Saubers – must be the twentieth one he’s passed today.”

“I’m looking at the lights of the podium out here and it looks like a disco at night time. It is seriously dark out there.”

“I think I remember saying ... it was a long commentary and I’m a bit punch-drunk, to be honest!”

Jake: “We’ve got an email from Sarah aka MissPitstop thanking you specifically, Martin, for keeping the nation entertained.”
Martin: “What a sweetheart! Thank you!”
( I’ve run a website for him since 2002 – he’s never called me a sweetheart! *is officially jealous* Signed Callie aka MissGrumpy ;-)
[Footnote: thanks for the flowers at Christmas, Martin!]


“I was underwhelmed with the drivers on the grid. I thought they were being a bit wussy, to be honest, some of them. I ended up, many hours later, being in awe of them all.”
Jake: “Even Adrian Sutil?”
Martin: “He had a go, didn’t he?! Not too many things he didn’t hit, but he was going for it, wasn’t he?”
Eddie: “(Schumacher) drove particularly well as well.”
Martin: “He survives another two weeks without getting fired, does he?”
Eddie: “I’m just about able to get into the Mercedes team home. You leave me alone – you look after yourself! I’ll soon have no home to go to!”
Martin: “Marie told you that a long time ago, Eddie!”


BRAZIL
“These intermediate tyres: you can barely get your fingernails into the tread, it’s such a shallow tread. They each lift about thirty litres of water up into the sky, trying to return it back to where it came from.”

“I rather foolishly asked Mark Webber how slippery were the white lines on the kerbs. It’s a sensible question but he said it was a bit of a sore subject for him, having gone off on them in Korea.”

“As soon as the torque releases on the steering wheel, you can actually feel it in your backside. Your eyes are the last thing to register that you’re going sideways and it’s too late by then.”

Jonathan: “He’s not going to get through to Q2 now.”
Martin: “Frankly, he was not gonna get through to Q2 when he woke up this morning.”

“I tell you what: he didn’t half thrash his tyres when he first went out.”

“I think Webber will just attack. He’s got no option but to treat Sebastian Vettel as the enemy in the same colour car.”

(Barrichello gets a puncture)
“It’s only flat at the bottom, Rubens!”

“He’s like somebody at Christmas thoroughly disappointed with all his presents, is Lewis today.”

“I think whatever Red Bull tell their drivers, they’ll have radio problems today.”

(After the Safety Car session)
“It’s so difficult for these drivers to know if they’re being lapped [or] if they’re racing for position now that the pack has been shuffled.”

“The Leonardo da Vinci of Formula 1 is Adrian Newey.”

(Looking at the (already broken) constructors’ trophy)
“Looks like about fifty quids’ worth, doesn’t it, but it means a lot.”

Vettel: “Do I look silly in this hat?”
Martin: “Only a little bit!”

(On Webber and Vettel)
“They’re just two normal blokes with two arms and two legs. They just happen to be brilliant behind the wheel of a racing car.”


ABU DHABI
“If the drivers can’t drive through a tunnel, they don’t deserve to be in qualifying.”

“They’re trying to have a crash before they start their laps.”

“The more you grain, the more you slide. The more you slide, the more you grain.”

“You can almost gain time on this track by running wide. It’s just the stewards won’t be very pleased with you.”

“That’s the most oversteer I’ve seen on Jenson Button in three seasons – and he nailed it on the throttle.”

“It’s kiss and fly through that chicane.”

“That’s a proper lap time.”

“Kubica’s trying to check in early for the Japanese restaurant that’s on the outside of that corner.”

“So far it’s been a lot of bollards, hasn’t it, but this is the real thing.”

(After hearing Hamilton’s excuse for the clash with Massa)
“I think the word ‘bollards’ might come up again.”

“The speed he carried through the last corner, I thought he was on fast-forward.”

“Kobayashi’s brilliant, isn’t he? It’s like he gets to the normal braking point and then goes, ‘Now, which one is the brake again? That’s right, it’s on the left,’ and he just sails past people!”

(Alguersuari – in a Red Bull car – finally yields and allows Webber through)
“The next lap would mean they’d put ‘P45’ on Alguersuari’s pitboard.”

“Tell you what: that Kubica boy’s a star.”

(Button has done 32 laps on one set of tyres)
“He must drive in carpet slippers sometimes. He’d make a good taxi driver – he’s very kind to his car.”

(Hamilton demolishes another bollard cam)
“Another camera! His response to Lee [yesterday] was, ‘Well, they’re insured, aren’t they?’! So another bollard with a camera in it bites the dust – and right now, Fernando Alonso wishes Petrov would bite the dust, I would imagine, and get out of his way.”

“Alonso wagging the tail of that Ferrari in desperation.”

“This is Alonso blaming Petrov for losing him the world title. Get real, son!”

“Michael Schumacher’s right: (Vettel) fully deserves to be world champion.”

(Sebastian finally arrives back in his own garage)
“The cameramen are fighting harder than some of the men on the track today!”