2009 RACES



AUSTRALIA
“Massa is like a good wine – he just keeps getting better and better.”

“Mirrors are about as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike.”

“Buemi was out on the track and looked like he’d been rehearsing on the wrong PlayStation game.”

“I’ve been doing this a dozen years and I’ve never seen that much movement on the screen in qualifying. You’d see a driver pop up into second place; next time you glanced at the screen, he’d be down in seventeenth!”

“Red Bull are not one of the teams that have these fandango underfloors on the car, which will rather confuse the issue, won’t it?”
Jonathan: “And yet they’re one of the teams protesting it!”
Martin: “Yeah! They’ll all be changing to whatever Red Bull have got!”

“Barrichello’s on [provisional] pole. That big broad grin of his – broader even than Richard Branson’s – he’s gonna have a flip-top head! His head’s gonna fall off on the top ‘cause he’s gonna be smiling so much, especially that he can beat the Ferraris.”

“Massa giving it full bananas absolutely everywhere.”

“That’s a satisfying feeling going out of the pits in a Formula 1 car, brand new set of tyres, two and a half minutes to go in qualifying. It’s a wonderful feeling for a driver. You know the tyres are gonna give you some extra grip.”

“The ever-calm Ross Brawn. You think he’d be leaping around the place.”

“The cars look more classy. Apart from that, that front wing scares small children.”
(Submitted by Henry Luczak)

(to Ross) “You threw a Mercedes Benz engine in the back, [attached] I imagine with bungee straps and spit and chewing gum.”

“There are those horribly wide front wings. They’re so ugly, I think they should put brown paper bags over them on the grid.”

(to Rubens) “I’m so happy. I’m gonna pinch you ‘cause you’re not gonna be sure [you’re really here]!”

“Kubica tends not to be that keen to talk ... (he looks around) ... especially when he’s not on the grid! Let’s see if we can find Nico Rosberg, standing over here looking uber-cool.”

(to the cameraman) “I don’t know how you do that, Andy, [walking] a hundred miles an hour backwards when you’re trying to look through a camera!”

Martin: “Well, can you do this?”
Jenson: “Yes.”
Martin: “How?”
Jenson: “By crossing the line first at the end of the race.”
(Submitted by Robert Shufflebotham)

“Anything we should know to make us look clever in the pub tonight?”

“Lewis Hamilton dominated this race last year. Now he needs a set of binoculars to see the lights go out. You’d be happier for him if the car looked awful, but it actually looks not too bad, which is the worst case scenario: balanced but slow.”

“Mark Webber gets all the luck. Unfortunately it’s just bad luck.”

“Look at that: slipstream, KERS, and that’s what we were hoping to see. Whether it means anything or not is another matter.”

“Rosberg could only sail down the outside into oblivion, and he took a sensible pill and got out of it.”

“Button [is] an artist at the wheel when it’s all going well. He’s so smooth; he only ever turns the wheel once to get it into a corner and once to release it from the corner. The Jackie Stewart style of driving a race car.”

“Massa’s busy trying to destroy his front tyres.”

“He should do as Rubens does and just shovel them out of the way.”

(Nakajima keeps putting his fingers in his ears while talking with the pitwall team)
“I think he’s being told off and didn’t wanna hear it.”
Jonathan: “Have you been there before?”
Martin:Many times!”

Jonathan: “According to someone [in McLaren] they will win in Spain, he says.”
Martin: “They meant Spain this year, presumably?!”

“Rubens was calling me over the winter: ‘What am I gonna do? Where can I go? I must drive again’. They’re gonna be like teenagers, aren’t they?”

Jonathan: “Where’s [Jenson’s] dad?”
Martin: “He’ll be in pieces somewhere!”

“Good to see Jarno Trulli [on the podium], especially from the pitlane, for goodness’ sake!”

Jonathan: “You said you had to pinch Rubens Barrichello before the race. What are you gonna do now?!”
Martin: “At least I don’t bring the drivers bad luck on the grid any more!”


MALAYSIA
“Lewis Hamilton needs a clear lap for a good qualifying time. He also needs a clear head and I doubt he’s got that. The team have parked themselves in a thoroughly uncomfortable position and if they want to know who to blame, they have to look in the mirror.”

“The seven times World Champion there, breaking all the rules standing in the pitlane and not on the pitwall!”

“Bourdais always looks like he’s lost a hundred francs and found one.”

“Glock’s been giving the side of the track a haircut most of the weekend.”

“A hundred and eighty miles an hour down to sixty in just one hundred metres. Sorry to mix the measurements there but that’s how they come out!”

“They re-designed these cars – they’ve got high noses, low noses, wide ones, skinny ones, all sorts of wheel bases, KERS, no KERS, and still they’ve ended up incredibly close.”

“One of the prettier cars of this new generation is the McLaren.”

“I wanna just show you the back of this Toyota. We think this has got a triple diffuser on it. [The mechanics] are just gonna surround the back of it here. I dunno if we can poke in anywhere. (The mechanics deliberately block his view.) This is a free part of the world – we can do what we like here! You can move around as much as you want, but so can we! They’re really sensitive about it – so much so, I’m gonna dive in a little bit further, ‘cause this is quite good fun!”

“Tell you what really impresses me is the drivers are driving every metre of this racetrack. They’ve taken a lot of the electronic toys away from them and it’s really making the drivers work for their living – but that’ll be nothing compared to when it rains.”

“They published the weights – I wish they didn’t, ‘cause I think it takes an element of surprise out of it, but as we’ve got that information, we need to share it with you.”

“It’s understeering like a cross-Channel ferry.”

Jonathan:Look at the amount of water on the track!”
Martin: “Yeah, you’d like to be sitting on a load of KERS batteries in the Ferrari, wouldn’t you, going through that puddle!”


CHINA
“Not too shabby, is it, for a car they say they’ve got no chance with?”

“The engine builders watching this from behind a pillow.”

“Quite clearly they’ve got to throw all those diffusers away and do whatever Red Bull are doing, ‘cause they’re fastest now!”

“Alonso’s barely got enough fuel to get out of his own way.”

(Waiting to speak to Alonso – talking to his PR woman)
“I think we’re next. No, we booked months ago, honestly(!) ... We’ve got millions of people sitting here and they’re getting really bored.”

“I’m pretty underwhelmed to learn that it’s a Safety Car start.”

“[Formula 1’s] not easy, otherwise everyone would be doing it.”

(Six laps into the race behind the Safety Car)
“We should be motor racing now. Sorry if I sound like a stuck record but we should be getting on with this, surely.”

“A mistake there [from Hamilton]. That was always gonna happen just after I’d talked him up, wasn’t it?!”

“That’s a handful in Turn 5. Well held, son!”
(Thanks to Khaled Hassan for the correction)

“You just treat the pedals – especially the brake pedal – as if it’s got an egg underneath it. You just squeeze everything gently. You’re living on your instincts. You can’t think about what to do to correct the car, otherwise you’ll be in the wall already.”

“In the hearing last week, Ferrari described Ross Brawn as the most arrogant man in the world or something, which is not what they were saying a couple of years ago when he was performing his magic there.”

“A little 720 [degree spin]. What would you give that – a 5.9? Ooh, there’s another 180 on the end!”
Jonathan: “Took a little off for that, I think.”
Martin: “I dunno, I think that was a full 6 – and he kept the engine going!”

“(Vettel’s) the perfect racing driver, isn’t he? He’s good value, he’s a nice lad, appreciates everything everybody does for him, he’s not gone all superstar, and he gets the job done.”

Jonathan: “They got the logo right, didn’t they? (Vettel) had wings today.”
Martin: “Gives you floats as well, today!”


BAHRAIN
“I sort of imagine Vettel laughing to himself and telling himself jokes down long straights like this. He seems to have that demeanour about him.”

“You know what? We don’t really fully know the dry-weather pace of any of this lot.”

“I love to hear those engines sing at 18,000 revs. Next time you look at the taco on your road car you’ll appreciate just how many revs that is.”

“[He] went [into the corner] still very much on the brake pedal and the tyres said, ‘Look, mate, do you want me to turn or d’you want me to slow down, ‘cause I can’t do both for you?’”

“Hamilton well off the racing line [to make way for a car on its fast lap]. His tyres’ll be very dirty when he starts his lap. You could almost sense he was nervous about a penalty from the stewards or something!”

“Somehow or other, as always, Alonso finding something that doesn’t appear to exist. He doesn’t give up, that boy, does he?”

“Hacksawing away at the wheel there, as if he’s hanging wallpaper with the window open on a windy day.”

(After DC and EJ have been arguing about who’ll take pole)
“Top twelve shootout today – it’s Coulthard versus Jordan, with Coulthard on pole at the moment.”

“Timo Glock, there, being interviewed. Normally he’s listening to David Hasselhoff on his music player.”
(Quote submitted by Craig Daniels)

“We’ve gotta ask Bernie about that ridiculous jacket, haven’t we, if we get half a chance. I don’t know if I can doorstep him for the 37th time this weekend. But you know what? I’m too embarrassed for him.”

“Trulli was very polite there; a lot of other drivers would have run (Alonso) off the road.”

“He was backing into Turn 1 like a MotoGP rider.”

“Ross Brawn, as ever, very calm. His brain, though, will be doing 18,000 revs like his race car.”

“I’ve gotta get some pink shirts. We’ve got Jake and Coulthard and Daddy Button, and everybody’s in pink shirts!”
Jonathan: “Tempted?”
Martin: “Not yet.”

“I’m watching Kovalainen going down there looking at the number of buttons on his steering wheel. I’m just waiting for the time we have the first big shunt where a driver is looking at his steering wheel instead of where he’s actually going. It’s a bit like changing your CD and [being] on the ... none of which you should do, of course! ... on the mobile phone and all the other things all at the same time while you’re doing a hundred and eighty-five. Not to be recommended.”

(Kubica blocks cars trying to lap him)
“He had to turn in, though, to be fair – you can’t just evaporate.”

(Jonathan can’t tell which tyres went onto Massa’s car)
“Doesn’t really matter, does it, unfortunately, as long as they’re black and round and keep the rims off the ground. Not gonna get him any points.”

(Jenson practically makes a speech over the radio on his in-lap)
“D’you think he’s reading that off the steering wheel? It’s absolutely perfect, isn’t it?!”

“No-one’s allowed near the drivers so they don’t start slipping spanners in their pockets or balls of lead to pick up the weight like they used to in the good old/bad old days ...”
Jonathan: “I was just going to say – are you giving some trade secrets away?!”
Martin: “... pushing the cars into Parc Fermé and rolling balls of lead down the exhaust pipe. They’ve stopped all that now, all that skulduggery!”


SPAIN
Jonathan: “(Brawn) have that Terminator Salvation robot [glaring at everyone in the garage].”
Martin: “I thought it was somebody from the Honda board who’d decided to sell the team over the winter!”

Kovalainen’s engineer (over radio): “Were you held up by the BMW?”
Martin (answering for Heikki): “No.”
Kovalainen (over radio): “A little bit in the last three corners.”
Martin: “You’re having a laugh!”

“The cars that have dropped out have to declare their fuel for tomorrow now. These top ten have to put their race fuel in. I’d rather see them having to declare their fuel as well, and let’s see them running empty, the fastest man at the front. Let’s see the pure performance of the best drivers. You can applaud some kind of apparently stunning performance only to find that actually the guy did about the fifth best job.”

“Hug the inside line like it’s your favourite granny.”

“Look at the tens of thousands of pounds of carbon fibre that’s scattered like confetti at a wedding.”

“I’ll tell you what’s perking all those drivers up is Jenson Button [who’s] been through years of misery, hasn’t he, and now it’s turned around. The fact that Button is suddenly right up there has given a lot of spirit to some of those drivers that are going through a difficult time – and there’s a few of them out there.”

“It’s funny – you can set your car up here and then you get into the Grand Prix on that Turn 3 and it’s like, ‘What is this thing? I don’t know this car. It’s doing something alien and it’s not how I set it up for the race at all’.”

(Massa lets Vettel pass)
Martin:
“I wonder if they’re doing what we were talking about earlier on?”
Jonathan: “He’s listened to your advice.”
Martin: “I doubt it!”
(Team radio plays Massa’s engineer telling him they need to save a lap of fuel)
Martin:
“A lap is a lot to save in four laps. They needed to do that a lap earlier on, really. I’m gonna get a job as a strategist!”


MONACO
“I’m really looking forward to commentating on this [but] I’d love to be at the Swimming Pool entrance just to see how hard they’re pushing them there. This is one of the finest sporting theatres in the world, in my view.”

Ted: “Jenson Button passed me to go to the loo.”
Martin: “Well, let’s hope he can get the job done and keep his championship campaign on track.”

“I sent (Rubens) a text to say ‘happy birthday’ this morning; he said, ‘Yeah, I’m like a fine wine; I just get better as I get older’.”

“Half a second slower than Hamilton was going before he binned it in the hedge.”

“There’s an eight metre difference between each car [on the grid]. Obviously that’s based on the average length of a Formula 1 ego.”

“Here’s Bernie here with his arm around ... I think it’s his daughter. Oh, it’s Geri Halliwell, sorry! That’s gonna go down well, isn’t it?!”

“Jenson Button cannot relax, thinking he’s got a rear gunner behind him in his team mate. He’s got his main rival there.”

Jonathan: “One of the great lines of the weekend from Robert Kubica: he said, ‘We have to realise we’re bad’.”
Martin: “The stopwatch never lies.”

Martin: “Senna did that to me once when he was gonna crash: he used me at Monza to slow down.”
Jonathan: “Did you tell him that?”
Martin: “He told me!”

“Buemi wheelbarrowed Piquet off the racetrack.”

“I always remember this moment when I was driving here: when you’re really hot and sweaty and gasping for breath and it’s all manic; and they hang you a board out that says, ‘There’s 50 laps to go’ and you feel like you must be somewhere near the end.”

“It’s like (the Toyotas) are out there to entertain the crowd while the leaders are round the other side [of the track].”

“A Formula 1 car can change gear fifty times faster than you can blink your eye. Let’s see if I can think of some more irrelevant pieces of information.”

“That’s the problem with these zones that look like a Tesco’s car park with kerbs that delineate the racetrack. They’re safer, but the drivers can basically cheat across them.”

“(Fisichella) nicked my drive at Jordan, but it was the right decision, frankly. He was coming along and I was over the hill, as Eddie told me on a few occasions!”

“The perfect stop there – cream and almonds.”

Jonathan: “Button and Barrichello and Brawn [have had] 100% reliability.”
Martin: “I was thinking that some time ago but I daren’t say it!”

“The Ferraris had their cake early on in the race and now they’ve gotta suffer for it with the indigestion of those tyres that are not working so well.”

(Alonso cruises around the track alone)
“It’s like when your best friend’s mum won’t let him out to play and you’re all on your own, isn’t it?”


TURKEY
“Turn 8 – that’s the one that’s ripping their necks off.”

“That is a fairground ride he’s having there.”

“Every time the car slides a little bit when your confidence is down, you think you’re gonna have an accident. When your confidence is up, it’s just nothing; you just drive straight through the middle of it and ignore it.”

“Button drives like a chauffeur! He’s so smooth with the car!”

“I raced against both Rosberg and Nakajima’s dads. I was ten years old at the time!”

Jake: “Are you ready to go grab a few people and see who you can find?”
Martin: “Yeah, I’m gonna take Crazy Dave here and head down to the first corner.”

Christian Horner: “I was just talking to one of the Italian commentators. She’s much prettier than you two are!”
Martin: “Yeah, but does she know about oversteer and understeer – and do you care?!”
Christian: “I didn’t understand a word she was saying, but it doesn’t matter!”

Jenson: “A few of the boys have got a ... a pad – we normally call it something else – but I haven’t got one.”
DC: “What do you normally call it?”
Martin: “We’re on the BBC – don’t start all that smutty driver talk! It’s a pillow, isn’t it, that you rest your head on. Sorry – I thought I’d save you from yourself there, DC.”

“What do we think about that? The KERS got him back past. Do we think that’s brilliant driving; is it good racing; is it plastic racing? I can’t make my mind up, to be honest.”

(Massa’s engineer tells him to try to brake less in the final corner)
“That’s amazing! I’ve never heard that before! Sort of a driving lesson from your engineer. It’s very helpful; I wish I’d had that!”

“They must have an iron girder across the front of that McLaren. It just constantly picks up its inside wheel under braking.”

“(Button’s) just a new man, isn’t he? From a guy that’s been struggling with a bad car, making errors, running into people – now it’s all working well, he’s just moved into overdrive.”

(Barrichello retires)
“I can only assume either he’s lost interest in the race – unlikely – or with seventh gear broken there’ll be some bits and pieces making their way around that gearbox.”

“That’s the second apex I’ve seen Jenson Button miss this year!”

“Vettel would rather eat his own fingers than let him pass.”

“Jenson just doesn’t know how to go slow enough, does he?!”

“The drivers are weighed complete with HANS ... not Hans, but HANS device that goes around their neck.”


BRITAIN
(With many thanks to David and Hannah Crick for sending me DVDs of the weekend’s events after I was in hospital having emergency surgery)

“Mark Webber was just telling me he thinks that he may not be lifting off the throttle – forget Copse, forget Maggotts, forget the first part of Becketts – he thinks he’s gonna be lifting for the left-hander of Becketts! So much for slowing the cars down! And they do love this cool air – they get more downforce and more power and it’s Happy Hour when you’ve got these conditions on a dry track.”

“Kimi Raikkonnen – when we saw him in the garage I kind of almost thought, ‘Oh yeah, I forgot he was in Formula 1’. We just haven’t seen anything of him this year, have we, to be memorable?”

“That’s one of the best shots in Formula 1: a hundred and ninety mile an hour direction change. The blind faith and trust you put in the aerodynamics, the tyres and your mechanics and your designers that you can arrive heading towards Northampton, flick it right and send it towards London at 190 miles an hour. Superb experience.”

(Hamilton gets badly out of shape in Becketts)
“That’s Lewis straight on the radio for new underwear.”
(Quote submitted by Gareth Morris)

“I still can’t get my head round [it]: we watch Lewis Hamilton and one of the finest Grand Prix victories I’ve ever seen in my lifetime last year; and now he’s 19th on the grid this year. It’s sort of beyond comprehension, isn’t it?”

“Tragically, it tells you that the car is every bit as important as the driver, which we try to hide from from time to time!”

(Discussing banners in the crowd)
Jonathan: “We’ve got ‘Jenson for Prime Minister’ and ‘Jenson will you marry me?’”
Martin: “Well, that’s more likely, isn’t it?”
Jonathan: “What, Prime Minister?”
Martin: “Yes(!)”

“Where is the Flav? Here he is. Flav, you’re a lunatic, apparently. We heard that yesterday – it’s official: You’re a lunatic. Max says you’re heading up the loony party!”

(laughing) “Kimi’s shaking his head and I hadn’t even arrived!”

(Lewis pleads with his team to bring him in early but they decline)
“They’re crunching the numbers on the pitwall as he’s crunching the apexes.”

“Maybe Bridgestone saw some microblisters or something, or maybe I’m talking complete and utter rubbish – who knows?!”

“(Hamilton) looks as if he’s got the same grip this year as he did last year, except it was raining! I don’t wanna be cruel, but he is fighting a car that appears to wanna throw itself off the road.”

(Hamilton goes off-road)
Martin: “He’s gonna park that soon, isn’t he?”
Jonathan: “It is Silverstone. D’you think he would?”
Martin: “No – but I bet he’s thinking about it.”


GERMANY
“I wouldn’t want to have to write down the potential top ten on this grid at all. It’s impossible to tell how that’s going to be.”

“Sometimes on a warm day you can ignore spots of rain ‘cause they just burn off the track surface, but on a day like today you’ve not got that luxury really. He’ll have to go for it: this will either be quick enough or in the wall, I suspect.”

“Alonso is revelling in the fact that Formula 1 cars no longer have traction control. How much power goes into the rear tyres is all about you and your right foot, and that’s exactly how it should be.”

“This is gonna be a nightmare for commentators, drivers, engineers, teams alike.”

(pointing to the McLaren) “What’s all that sort-of cut fibreglass on the front wing? It looks like it’s off the used car lot!”

“Talk amongst yourselves while we wander down here.”

“Alonso sort of gave Fisichella an invitation to pass there, and he RSVPd by return. It’s almost like Alonso was looking in his mirror going, ‘Well, go on then, go past.’ Extraordinary! That’s for 11th place!”

“That was a bit of a hospital pass – a half hearted move from Rubens there that’s lost him time.”

“In the good ol’ days a lot of people would have said, ‘Yeah, FIA – Ferrari International Assistance,’ but that doesn’t seem to be the case in recent months, does it?!”

Jonathan: “No refuelling next season. 2010, it’s dropped as part of the regulations.”
Martin: “Shame, really. I just think it was interesting; adds another dimension to the Grand Prix.”
Jonathan: “What about those drivers who nurse their car, look after their car better with a heavier fuel load?”
Martin: “Uh, go and drive somewhere else on a Sunday afternoon. This is about attacking.”

“Lewis so bored down there, he’s turning into the weatherman for the paddock.”

“(Webber’s) been a nearly man, and now he’s turned it into a really man.”


HUNGARY
“I’m absolutely shocked that some of the drivers were sticking the boot in rather than welcoming (Alguersuari). They were, ‘Hey, you’re too young.’ ‘Danger Man’, he seemed to be somehow!”

“Onboard with the Kimster. What’s he gonna do? He’s gonna go onto the grass, and then onto the grass a bit more, and then he’ll have dirty tyres for Turn 8.”

“Alonso about to pop himself somewhere near the front ... and that’s very near the front – he’s first!”

(The timing screens go blank near the end of Q3; the drivers wander around Parc Fermé comparing times, with no idea who has pole)
“It’s Top Trumps going on, isn’t it? ‘How fast are you? Oh, I can beat that! I’ll swap you a 22.3 for a 21.5!’”

“(Hamilton) says, ‘I think I’m now driving the car instead of it driving me’.”

“Nakajima being easily frightened off the racetrack there. If you park your car on the outside of another driver, don’t be surprised if he runs you off the road with half a chance.”

“The drivers are getting younger and younger – they barely need to shave every day and they’re in Formula 1. (Piquet) was 24 just yesterday and he might be looking at the end of his Formula 1 career, which is just crazy. They’re arriving much earlier but of course they have to deliver straight away. They’re just not cut any slack in this sport.”

“(Alguersuari’s) lapping faster than his team mate, so I would say as long as he can keep that pace up, as long as his neck doesn’t fall off, or his arms, in the Grand Prix later on, he’s actually doing a pretty solid job.”

(Raikkonen struggles to get the car into gear in the pits)
“There’s one in there somewhere – in fact there’s seven of them. He’s finally found one.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jenson Button down there applauding that podium! That’s a bit of a save for him today, isn’t it, that it’s not Vettel up there at all and Webber on the third spot.”


EUROPE
Jonathan: “Some would say you could have Eric Clapton in [the Ferrari] and he’d go quicker than Luca Badoer.”
Martin: “I think I’ll apply for Spa. At least I could commentate behind the wheel and add value to it.”

“I think the only way (Badoer) should be in there at Spa is if he finds a padlock he can lock the seatbelts [with] and only he knows the security code.”

“The end of the lap is just a rollercoaster ride between the walls.”

“Still five minutes remaining and an awful lot of wheel spinning and brake locking to come.”

“I find it really bizarre – when did Formula 1 teams become benevolent? ‘Oh, he’s been a really loyal servant, let’s give him a Grand Prix.’ I mean, give him an Enzo for a month, but put somebody a little bit quick in [the race car]!”

(Waiting to talk to Vettel)
“Are we in a queue? How big’s the queue? Do we need to take a ticket like at the cheese counter?”

“If Jenson wants to win this world championship, he needs to step up to another plane. We saw Massa do it last year; we saw Damon Hill do it and many other drivers – Jacques Villeneuve – over the years where championship beckons and they somehow find a whole new level of performance. Jenson’s going the other way at the moment.”

“Surely (Ferrari) have got to put a young driver in who’s got potential for the future. He’s not gonna be any slower or make more mistakes than Badoer, so they might as well see if they can find a new star.”

(Red Bull radio Webber to tell him of Brawn’s recent transmission to Button)
“They obviously watch BBC back at home!”

“It should be mandatory to do doughnuts and go and hug your mechanics, not a penalty.”


BELGIUM
Jonathan: “D’you know what? Badoer is 6 to 1, or was before the start of the weekend, to finish in the top eight! Can you believe that?! More like 206 to 1, I’d have thought, but there you go!”
Martin: “Obviously those bookies were on holiday [during] last week’s Grand Prix.”

“Tell you what: we’re gonna see some well-paid and very famous tears in these qualifying sessions today, ‘cause somebody’s gonna get the shock of their lives, I reckon.”

“The pace of those Force Indias – that’s just plain fast!”

“There’s some mighty impressive driving going on out there. Alonso just throwing his car at the Pouhon corner at 180 miles an hour; just chucking it in there and sorting it out. Superb driving.”

“(Button) is Alain Prost-like, really. He never appears to be really attacking the track like some of them, but he is carrying the speed.”

(Fisichella takes pole)
“If he gets out carrying a little can of fuel, you know he’s not got that much fuel in for the race!”

“This is a racetrack that rewards you for attacking it. It pays you back if you attack it and if you respect it.”

“What a bizarre grid! It’s like looking at a regular grid through a mirror. Sunny day here in Spa, Force India on pole – so boring and unpredictable, this Formula 1, isn’t it?!”

“A very mixed up grid – I’m thoroughly, thoroughly looking forward to this Grand Prix.”

Jonathan: “Have you been linked to the Ferrari drive? Interested at all?”
Martin: “No. Too old, too slow now, I would imagine.”

“It’s a slam dunk from there, surely, for Raikkonen, with the extra KERS button and a slipstream.”

Jonathan: “Actually, what happened to Trulli?”
Martin:I was wondering that. I hoped you would know!”

(Footage of Button sitting at a table with other people and a glass of wine in front of him)
“I don’t think that was Jenson’s red wine, but I wouldn’t blame him if he had a glass!”

(In-car footage of Raikkonen at the foot of Eau Rouge as he hits the KERS)
“Yee-hah! Now look at this – superb!”

“It’d be good news for Formula 1 if Toyota were to get a victory. We don’t need any more manufacturers legging it. My view, anyway – not everybody agrees with that.”

“Buemi’s wasting a lot of time darting over and having half-hearted attempts at non-passes.”

“Fisichella is fundamentally faster than Kimi Raikkonen. He’s gotta get in the dirty air, that’s the trouble, and he’ll be eighty horsepower down when Raikkonen hits the magic button on his steering wheel.”

“Rosberg can smell the burning oil, and can smell seventh place with it.”

“That’s good news for Formula 1: you can come in with a small team without the resource and still get the job done.”


ITALY
“Tomorrow in the race if they jump a chicane three times, regardless of whether they make an advantage or not, they’re gonna get a drive-through penalty, and that is absolutely right. In fact, I’d make it two times.”

Martin: “Those kerbs are so high, they’re gonna have snow on them in the winter.”
Jonathan: “With your hard-line approach having two drive-throughs, you’ll be saying [the kerbs should be] thirty centimetres [high]!”
Martin: “I’d have spears there!”

“DC knows – he’s had some massive blisters from sitting on the floor of a Formula 1 car rubbing down the ground at two hundred miles an hour. He’ll show them to you if you ask him, Jack!”

“Button’s back on form, I tell you. It’s all just syrupy the way he’s getting on the throttle and he just looks like he’s got his head back where it needs to be.”

“It’s a long long wait for Parabolica, then it surprises you when it arrives and smacks you right in the face.”

(Ted and Jonathan discuss in detail how many engines Kubica may or may not have used and whether he’ll have to take a grid penalty or not)
Jonathan:
“That’s the last document from the technical delegate; let me quote that for you ...”
Martin: “Anyway, bored of BMW engines now, ‘cause this is looking handy ...”
(Quote submitted by Craig Daniels)

“Fisichella’s now guaranteed to start behind both Force India cars. That’s gonna hurt!”

“Luizzi could just launch himself into the top ten. Come on, Tonio – this is a good-news story.”

(Rob Smedley radios to Fisichella that P14 is “good for tomorrow”)
“I’m not quite sure which bit of tomorrow that’s good for, but I admire Rob for keeping pumping up his merry-go-round of drivers that keep passing through his cockpit.”

“It’s gonna be an interesting race – part bare-knuckle fight and part chess match.”

“I had a massive fight here with Rubens when we were team mates at Jordan. I beat him in the end because he mistakenly switched the ignition off when he was trying to change something else on the dashboard and had to fire the car back up!”

“You brake from 350 kilometres per hour and the weight transfers forward. Then you reach for five downshifts and the rear tyres just say, ‘Listen, I can't help you anymore,’ which is why you end up turning left into a right-hand corner.”
(Quote submitted by Stephen Robertson) [unchecked]

“It’s fascinating what Alonso said to Lee yesterday: ‘Yeah, I may not be the fastest or the best but I’m consistent; I’ll always be there; I don’t have bad days and off days’. I think that’s absolutely true. I do think he could be the best out there as well.”

“I keep ducking every time they show that camera under the kerb!”

“Curve Grande: this used to be terrifying in a turbo car but now it’s just an easy, full-throttle run.”

“The camera tends to foreshorten that rather long and tedious straight.”

(Rubens ‘kisses’ the camera while he still has his helmet on)
Please don’t kiss the camera again later on!” (Shortly afterwards, in a disgusted voice) “Oh, he’s gone and done it!”


SINGAPORE
“That’s why street circuits are the best – there is no margin for error. They really are right up against the wall, almost spreading the word ‘Bridgestone’ along the wall.”

“I’ve been impressed with the way the Renault company have handled this – they didn’t run away and hide, they didn’t leave the sport. They’ve had to peel their stickers off the car, they’ve kept their heads down, their mouths shut, and Bob Bell says, ‘OK, we’ll take our pain and we’ll come back and show you how good we are.’ I admire that.”

“That Turn 10 chicane needs to be a hop, a skip and a jump but Grosjean made it a jump, a jump and a jump.”

“Rob Smedley thinking, ‘Come back, Felipe, all is forgiven’.”

“Tremendous! 46.1! That’s a cracker!”

“Engine singing out, rear tyres squealing in displeasure.”

(Replay of Barrichello hitting the wall)
“I’d have let go of the steering wheel at that point to avoid a broken thumb.”

(To John Button) “I’ve got a present for (Jenson), look – a dayglo stick. It’s really dark out there – break it. And make sure he’s eaten his carrots!”

“I wouldn’t mind talking to ‘Teflonso’ if he’s available.”

“Bernd Maylander’s a professional racing driver in a very fast [Safety Car] that would scare you to death if you were sitting in it with him, and he’s got it on its door handles and [yet] the Formula 1 cars are trundling along behind in third or fourth gear.”
(Thanks to Philipp Lucas for the correction)

“Heidfeld might take a grid drop in ... er ... wherever we’re going next.”

(Glock’s engineer radios that he can ‘get’ Vettel)
“No chance, my friend – you’re two seconds off the pace.”

“(Vettel) collects a bit of debris somewhere. Probably his own mirror [which fell off earlier], the sort of luck he’s having.”

“How not to let a fast car through – drive for three hundred metres on the dirty side of the track.”

“We need to see a champion’s drive from Jenson. We don’t wanna see him reverse into it after those stunning performances. These are impressive laps from Button.”

“I was like a stuck record in the paddock before the race: ‘What about brake issues?’ I asked every team I could find and all of them said, ‘No, no. No problem at all,’ but it has turned out [to be a problem].”

“Raikkonen trying to KERS his way past the Williams.”


JAPAN
“Somebody’s been round this track with a big iron and ironed it out nicely.”

(Buemi stops in the gravel but still manages to drive out again)
“It tells you how rubbish that gravel trap is, doesn’t it?!”

“From 10th to 15th was covered by .1 of a second. I remember in the turbo days when we had silly amounts of horsepower, from the front to the back of the grid used to be ten seconds.”

“I was massively impressed with (Buemi’s) speed, but the stupidity of dragging [his damaged car] back to the pits ... He did both BMWs [and] maybe he caught Alonso out as well. You just can’t do that – not on a racetrack like this. If he doesn’t get a good slapping for that, then he should.”

“Button and Barrichello both got through [to Q3] with last-gasp efforts. Buemi did too, but he broke his toy.”

“This is an older style racetrack – you don’t have run-off areas the size of a supermarket car park.”

“(Red Bull) have got at least one of their four cars with its wheels still attached, haven’t they?”

“Nick (Heidfeld) here. He’s not being bothered by too many people – let’s make him feel important.”

(Hastily explaining Heidfeld’s slight mispronunciation in his German accent)
“That’s ranking, ranking, as in the top speed ranking down the back straight, in case you were wondering at this time in the morning.”

“Look, this is actually (Kimi’s) wing mirror right out here. That’s about as useful as an astray on a motorbike, I’d imagine.”
(Quote submitted by Colin Masterson)

(Rosberg’s assistant says that another TV crew is talking to him first)

“We’ve got places to go and people to see – we can’t wait around for rubbish questions!”
(Quote submitted by John Winter)

“If Mark Webber didn’t have bad luck, he wouldn’t have any luck at all.”

“What can Button do from here? Eighth place, seventh? I bet if you offered Jenson Button two points for seventh place now, he’d shake your hand off, wouldn’t he?”

“Button will be smiling – the smile will be so broad he wants to be careful he doesn’t get a flip top head.”
(Quote submitted by George Brown)

(Alguersuari complains over radio that he is being slowed by Barrichello)
“That happens, son.”
(Quote submitted by Leo Kokkat)

“The Toyota was much quicker off the line than anybody expected, including Jarno Trulli by the sound of it.”

“Brakes are somewhere to rest your foot, basically, into these fast corners. It’s not a braking circuit at all.”

“(Vettel) was on a different racetrack, the first two laps of this Grand Prix; just pulled away effortlessly, just went for it. Supreme confidence.”

(Jonathan suggests that Trulli might be upping his game because contracts are up for renewal)
Martin:
“I really don’t believe there’s anything like contract driving.”
Jonathan: “You sure?”
Martin: “I’m absolutely sure. Been there, done that, crashed the car.”

“That’s the most impressive thing I’ve seen from Kovalainen all year! Respect for that one!”

“You’ve gotta wonder about the wisdom of putting 19 year olds in Formula 1 cars without sufficient experience or testing and evaluation. The kid (Alguersuari)’s a star of the future, but not if you bash his confidence.”

“Why do I feel slightly more nervous about Jenson’s championship today, now, than I did before the race?”

“Who said Formula 1 was predictable?”


BRAZIL
“The engineers have to guesstimate what ride height they’re gonna put at, ‘cause the 50 mill step underneath and the plank turns into a canoe if there’s an awful lot of water on the track.”

(Footage of a bird standing at the side of the track)
Jonathan:
“He should be asleep! That’s an owl!”
Martin: “You don’t get too many wise things around Formula 1, do you?”

“I remember driving out of the pits here in a Jordan and the water was so deep in the pitlane, it came over the top of my front wing and cleared my head sitting in the car.”

“Vettel splashing around, frightening himself silly.”

“After the box of bits that Buemi and Alguersuari delivered the team back in Suzuka a couple of weeks ago, they’ll be very nervous of sending their young puppy dogs out there.”

“This is the kind of day that sorts the great from the merely good.”

“Rosberg tiptoes onto the pit straight, albeit at 150 miles an hour, but it is a tiptoe.”

(Over-running Qualifying delays the start of “Strictly Come Dancing” in the UK)
Jonathan:
“(Barrichello) still in the hunt.”
Martin: “I just wonder if he can dance.”

“I used to love sitting in the car like that [in the pit garage]. It’s so snug: the seat’s made to fit you absolutely perfectly; your gloves, your boots, your overalls; you’ve got your helmet on; you’re peeping over the top of the monocoque – it’s like laying in the bath and looking over the taps, but you do feel cozy; you feel safe.”

“If I was Jenson, I’d be a little bit nervous of who’s currently ... There’s some real bandits behind him on the grid at the moment! Kobayashi, Grosjean, Sutil and Buemi – I think I’d be nervously looking in my mirrors if that was the pack behind me at the start tomorrow.”

(to Webber) “You’ll need a police escort out of here if you beat Rubens Barrichello!”

“Jenson’s middle name is ‘Lucky’ this year.”

“It’s only lap 7 and I’m out of breath already!”

“Button’s been as sharp as a sushi knife all year with overtaking.”

“Kovalainen, not five minutes ago, was dragging a fuel line down the pitlane, setting fire to random Ferraris.”

“Jenson will be swearing inside his helmet over that one.”

“That’s got all the hallmarks of an early shower for Rosberg.”

Martin: “A dejected-looking Nick Heidfeld there.”
Jonathan: “Particularly if you’ve run out of fuel – how embarrassing is that? How frustrating is that?”
Martin: “You get to the gas station, it’s credit card only, early hours of the morning, isn’t it, [and] you just can’t get any fuel.”
(Quote submitted by Leo Kokkat)

“For me, that’s a slam dunk drive-through penalty.”

“So much gonna happen in this race. We’ve not made it to half distance yet! Looking forward to your up-sum at the end, Jonathan, when you have to remind us of all the things that have happened!”

“I won’t say ‘World Champion elect’ because there’s six laps remaining.”

“Kobayashi putting a move on Fisichella, who was sleeping again.”

“I would imagine (Jenson)’s just concentrating, joining the dots up: brake, turn in, apex, throttle on, until somebody – that somebody being Felipe Massa today – waves a funny bit of black and white cloth at him, and then he’ll let go with the emotions.”

“I don’t have any doubts that (Jenson)’s a worthy World Champion. He’s led the championship since the very first race, he’s been consistent, he’s been fast, he’s got the overtakes done when he needed to do, massive amount of pressure on him in the closing stages, kept his head together and delivered.”

“(Jenson is) yet to sign up with anybody for next year. Presumably he’ll re-sign with Brawn once they stop squabbling about money.”


ABU DHABI
“If you’re doing 190 miles an hour and you stop your front wheels turning and you skid them along, they become like fifty pence pieces and they’re dreadful; they vibrate like crazy. (Rosberg) will barely be able to see where he’s going at high speed if he’s flat-spotted them badly enough.”

Jonathan: “Where is (Kovalainen) gonna end up [next season]?”
Martin: “Well, he nearly ended up in the barriers at Turn 1.”

“Grosjean has a great desire to turn around and look at the corner he’s just gone through too many times per session. He’s always spinning that Renault.”

(Looking at the kilometre-wide FerrariWorld near the track)
“Wouldn’t wanna be the guy who has to clean the roof on that thing.”

“(Raikkonen) was busy bumbling across the kerbs.”

“Edge it to the middle of the track because the track’s gonna come out and surprise you any minute now.”

“I’d be surprised if that keeps him in the top ten – but I’ve been surprised before.”

(Talking about the underground pitlane exit)
“It’s kind of ... it’s fine. It’s ‘why?’ Why? I guess because you can when you start with a new circuit.”

“Kovalainen waving to the camels.”

“We’re gonna serve up some mischief on the grid, given half the chance.”

“Another replay of the start. I think we’ve seen everything we need to see already.”

“I found out something today that surprised me: that they try to factor Jarno Trulli into the races in terms of whether he’s gonna have a good day or not. They call him the Trulli Train within the computer programme as to whether he’s likely to back people up and create a nice space to drop your car back into after a pitstop or whether he’s on form and is gonna be a major feature.”

“The boy Vettel is always smiling every time you see him, isn’t he? It’s not just for the cameras, either – he’s always got a smile on his face, and I bet he has right now.”

Jonathan: “What are the discussions, d’you reckon, on the Red Bull pitwall?”
Martin: “I don’t think there’ll be any discussions on the pitwall. I think they’ll just be enjoying the moment.”

(Barrichello’s engineer urges him on over the radio)
“Jock’s right in the cockpit, isn’t he?!”

“It’s wrecking their afternoon ... evening, night, whatever you like to think of it as!”

“[Before they came into Formula 1,] (Kobayashi) was kind of OK, wasn’t he, nothing special, but Grosjean looked a star. But you know, this is all about pressure: who can deliver under the spotlight – not just the spotlights that are here at this racetrack. Some people grow – they use the spotlight as energy; others wilt and melt under it.”

“You draw the short straw if you’re the marshall in the tunnel, don’t you? All you see is some very slow, struggling, clumsy Formula 1 cars.”

“I like that about Alonso: he’s on an in-lap and still he does a do-or-die braking into Turn 11.”

Jonathan: “[The creators of the Abu Dhabi circuit] have impressed everyone in Formula 1. That’s not to say that every other circuit should be like this – you need the variety as much as modern and new.”
Martin: “Yeah, I’m gonna buy Silverstone a big herd of camels and see if we can make the difference there. But I tell you what: there’s three corners at Silverstone that this track would trade them for.”

“I think Bernie’s walking tall here.”

(Fisichella overtakes Grosjean)
Jonathan:
“Proud of that one?”
Martin: “Uh, I think they were both out of control, frankly! But it’s hardly gonna change our lives today, is it?”

“That boy (Vettel) will be the World Champion sooner rather than later.”

Amanda Fuller tells me that, at the end of the Red Button Forum on the BBC, just as Jake was signing off, Martin piped up with:
“Happy Christmas!”
(Personally, I think that anyone mentioning Christmas this early in the year deserves long and painful punishment, but I dutifully post it anyway!)