2004 RACES

“No, I’ve not finally gone mad after smelling too many petrol fumes.”

“A good lap from Ralf Schumacher, even if his car will frighten small children.”

“Gently womble across the road.”

“Well done for getting up this early in the morning, you crazy lot. What on earth are you doing?! But I love your love of this sport ... I hope I’m not just speaking to your video recorder here.”

James: “(McLaren) have been treating [the engine] like a porcelain vase all weekend.”
Martin: “They must have dropped it, then, cos that one’s broken.”

“I wouldn’t be a front jack man for all the tea in China – they’re coming in at 100 kilometres – that’s 62 miles an hour! Don’t stand on the road and wave somebody down doing 62 miles an hour!”

“It was an absolute redwash.”

Driver of the Day
“I’ll go with Alonso for making the best of a bad job.”

“However hot you imagine it is, I think it’s a little bit hotter than that. It’s like putting on an overcoat, climbing into your airing cupboard with the heating on and then doing press-ups for an hour and a half if you’ve got enough space. If you do, tell your wife or girlfriend beforehand so there’s no misunderstanding when you come out what you’ve been up to.”

“No point (Webber) buying a Lottery ticket today.”

The following submitted by David Hutchison:
Raikkonen shoves an overzealous track marshal who tries to herd him off the gravel trap.

"That's a reaction you have: you're hot, you're sweaty, the adrenalin's still pumping, and somebody tries to take charge of you. It's not a reasonable reaction, but I'm afraid it's a natural one."
Comment from David: It's certainly the most animated I've ever seen Kimi Raikkonen get. ;)

“The Minardi frightening itself off the road.”

Driver of the Day
“Technically speaking, Michael Schumacher [but] it’s gotta be Jenson Button for keeping (Schumacher and Montoya) well in view.”

(After Martin has talked with King Juan Carlos of Spain and then with the Crown Prince of Bahrain during the grid walk)
“Apparently there are some drivers on the grid here somewhere... I need to make a note of all these kings I’ve met today!”

“(Klien) is like a young puppy dog chasing after a ball and just going too far.”

(James asks what it’s like as a driver to experience the ‘concertina’ effect of you closing up on the car in front of you at the bends and then it racing away on the straight.)
“It is disconcerting, cos you can so easily run into him and lose your nose. Your senses are hyper and your eyes are out on stalks.”

James: “Nice comfy scene there at the back of the podium. They’ll be coming round with a tray of biscuits in a minute!”
Martin: “First podium I was on, they pulled an old breakdown truck up and we stood on that, Piquet and I.”

Driver of the Day
“I haven’t even thought about that! If you haven’t driven off the road, if you haven’t driven into each other ... It’s gotta go to Michael, hasn’t it – he just waltzed it.”

James: “Button is a genuine contender – do you think he can get his first pole in Formula 1?”
Martin: “No I don’t – it’s gonna need something quite amazing to knock Michael Schumacher off pole.”
(Button goes on to take pole.)

“At least I know what (Baumgartner) looks like now after I’ve done a track guide with him. Reminded me of when Gerhard Berger and I used to sit in the drivers’ briefings on Sunday mornings nudging each other, saying, ‘Who’s that? Is that a driver? I’ve never seen him before’.”

“You needed a calendar to time his first sector.”

“So it’s official – the wrong kind of fluff on the track.”

“(Webber) did his ‘I’m not really sure I can be bothered with all this’ outlap.”

(During the gridwalk) “Let’s have a poke around and see who else we can annoy.”

“What a shame that (Michael) won’t let a Raikkonen or a Hakkinen or a Villeneuve into the other seat and really show that he is the best.”

“I want to say Jenson Button [but] Michael Schumacher has to be the Driver of the Day.”

Martin: “That ‘oldest man’ label is an incoming tide you can’t fight – I had it, Gerhard Berger had it, Damon Hill had it. As soon as you get the title of ‘oldest man in Formula 1’ it’s almost like an exit route at the end of the season.”
James: “Well if it does lead to the exit route, guess who the next oldest man’s gonna be – Michael Schumacher.”
Martin (cynically): “Yeah, well, I’m sure they’ll have to change it for that, then.”

(To Alonso on the grid walk) “Now, we’re really angry with you cos this used to be a private Grand Prix, you could drive in and out no problem, it was like a perfect place to come and relax for the weekend – now it’s crazy! It’s all your fault!”

“If you’ve never seen a Formula 1 car live, you would be staggered at how noisy it is. As they’re revving to eighteen, nineteen thousand RPM the noise is somewhat piercing – and brilliant, I have to say ... which is why, when you get a group of old racing drivers together, they’re all muttering in each others’ ears, saying, ‘What?’, ‘Pardon?’”

“(Coulthard’s) refueller again looked a bit reluctant to depart the car. They need to look at the Renault system, don’t they, with half the team hanging onto the thing!”

(Schumacher’s car has a cracked exhaust)
“They can hardly get in there with some gun gum and seal it up, or a bandage.”

“A party I’m going to Tuesday night I’m looking forward to – although it might not be quite as happy as it should have been – is a reunion of McLaren drivers, and Niki and Keke and all sorts of people are coming, but it’ll need a bit of red wine to get that one going at the moment.”

James: “Schumacher has six [trophies for winning the Spanish Grand Prix] in his trophy cabinet now.”
Martin: “Trophy building, I think it’ll be by now, won’t it?”

Driver of the Day
“For me, Trulli did the best job of the day.”

“There’s a pit building here that looks like it wouldn’t get planning permission on a very bad industrial estate. ... Instead of sitting on the pitwall on what’s fondly referred to as ‘The Prat Perches’ where the bosses sit and hug each other from time to time, they’re behind glass above the pits.”

“Driving a Formula 1 car round the streets of Monaco, it’s the Everest of the world of motor racing, but when they keep moving the barriers and giving you little curves and plenty of space to breathe, it’s like climbing Everest to find they’ve put a few escalators in on the way up.”

“I feel I wanna be watching some of (Bruni’s) laps from behind the settee, as they’re a bit scary.”

James: “(Klien) will need a clean lap.”
Martin: “A clean lap or a ‘Klien’ lap?”

“If you go to Monaco and you want to see what it’s like for a driver, don’t stand up or walk around, sit on the ground.”

The Grid Walk
“I wanna go and nail ... [Martin pauses, then realises he stopped at an unfortunate moment] a quick interview with Jarno Trulli.”

Martin: “Who on Earth are all these people? Where do they come from? How do they get a pass onto the grid? [He picks a woman.] Hello? How are you? Who are you?”
Woman: “Nobody.”
Martin (to us as he walks away): “That was good then, you see, it proves my point, doesn’t it? I don’t think that was nobody, actually.”
(She looked familiar to me – is she an actress? Alexander Keep emailed me to say that he thinks it might have been Victoria Abril.)

“Mr (Roman) Abramovich – we saw his floating waterproof caravan earlier.”

The Race
Martin: “Webber doing well down in eighth place.”
Ted: “Sorry to say this – Mark Webber has a problem. I think this is a race-ending problem.”
Martin: “Sorry, Mark – I gave you the Murray Walker Curse there.”

“That’ll be the line of the day [from Raikkonen] – ‘Which accident?’!”

“Twelve cars in the race but eight of them are only there to make a noise.”

“Look! (Alonso’s) having his accident and still giving the Williams driver the bird!”

Trulli kisses the Renault symbol on the nose of his car.
“The Rossi Snog on the front of your piece of equipment that’s just let you win the race.”

“I almost expected a Kleenex moment from Trulli there.”

Coulthard and then Fisichella decide not to go out on their qualifying laps.
“I’ll go down and have a go in the safety car in a minute – see if we can put something out on the race track.”

James: “What about this new qualifying format [which may come in from the British Grand Prix] – two twenty-lap hurrahs, all the cars on track at the same time, 20 minutes in between for you and I to play Scrabble and talk about a few other things?”
Martin: “I think it’s gonna be frantic track action – we could well see the situation where we don’t see pole position, especially with the aggregated situation. I wouldn’t wanna be the Formula 1 TV director. All we’re gonna hear is drivers bitching about traffic. I’d be happy with the one-hour session we used to have but make them do a run every 15 minutes. But one thing’s for sure – those two 20-minute sessions are gonna be must-watch television.”

“The car looked as predictable as a puppy dog.”

The Race
“Coulthard in the 20th grid box. You almost expect to see tumbleweed blowing past.”

“DC says, ‘I’ve met a lot of nice marshalls this year’.”

“(Klien) looks like a twelve year old who’s hotwired a car down on the estate, doesn’t he? He can’t see out of it – he needs to sit a bit higher in that car.”

“I’d got Sato down as Driver of the Day by a country mile until he pulled that stroke into Turn 1 ... (later) ... I’ve still got him pencilled in for Driver of the Day after thinking some more about it. I think he really did put in a great performance ... (later again, when asked for his final decision) I think I’ve already nailed that one with Sato.”

“Massa’s gonna be needing binoculars to see the start lights.”

“Massa had a highly technical problem – it was a puncture!”

“(The Renault) has all the turning ability of a Hong Kong ferry.”

The Race
James: “In that final chicane they’re going from 215 miles per hour down to 75 in just two seconds. What does that feel like?”
Martin: “It sucks the air out of your lungs. On a cold day it’ll pull a teardrop out of your eye. I’ve had that where it pulls the teardrop out onto the back of your visor. I would imagine it’s like being hit by Mike Tyson.”

(Klien spins for the umpteenth time.)
James: “Look forward to seeing Klien in the paddock and asking, ‘What was the highlight of your race?!’”
Martin: “I suspect you might be queued up behind David Coulthard to speak to him about the first corner!”

James: “My Driver of the Day is (Raikkonen). I don’t understand how he can be in seventh place. He’s made five pitstops, he’s had a drive-through penalty, he’s been involved in an incident in the first corner and he’s had three steering wheels and he’s still managed to score two points!”
Martin: “For me it’s between Michael Schumacher and sixth placed man Fisichella. Oh, let’s give it to Fisi. I think he’s done a great job out there.”

“The tight corners – it’s like racing a thoroughbred racehorse round your back garden.”

“Jean (Todt) – the Master Yoda of the Ferrari team.”

“Michael won’t talk to me because he’s got a contract with German TV but it doesn’t really annoy me that he won’t talk to the British fans(!)”
[Michael also won’t talk to him because he took offence at Martin being brutally honest about some dodgy driving tactics which Michael once employed.]

(Michael pits while 15 seconds in the lead.)

“He could afford to stop for one of those big turkey legs they sell out at the back of the stands.”

Driver of the Day
“It’s between Michael Schumacher and Sato ... but Sato made more than the best of what he’d got.”

James: “Ross Brawn tells (Michael), ‘I need you to find 8 or 9 seconds,’ and he goes out and does it.”
Martin: “Yeah, they seem quite pleased with him, don’t they – I suspect they’ll put him in the car for Silverstone next week.”

(Barrichello overtakes Trulli at the last corner.)
“Jarno was thinking about what to say in the press conference – he was asleep.”

Driver of the Day
“It’s relatively easy – Michael Schumacher, he just pulled out everything he needed to do.”

On 6th July Martin drove a Jaguar around the streets of central London for a demonstration of Formula 1 cars. This is part of his in-car commentary:
“Past Hamleys, but I’ve got the best boys’ toy in the world ... the [traffic] lights are on red but I am not gonna stop! ... I’m used to coming down here [Regent Street] in the back of a taxi at about 5 miles an hour! London will never look the same to me again.”

Talking to Jim Rosenthal about the day:
Martin: “Some of [the fans] didn’t even get to see a car. I spoke to two or three hundred fans and some of them only heard them and they still thought it was fantastic.”
Jim: “Have you been done for the congestion charge?”
Martin: “No – no number plates on it, they’re still trying to trace us.”

“(Mark Webber) talking about Turn 11 and 12 which all the drivers and teams do now, which is such a shame. I think that’s Abbey Chicane – you’ve got these great corners with lots of heritage, like Copse and Stowe and Club but they just get turfed out of the window for numbers, and it’s a pity.”

The Grid Walk
“The grid is absolutely full of politicians but I don’t think you’ve tuned in to see them today. They’re all pretending they’re marginally interested in the Grand Prix – haven’t seen them do much for the British Grand Prix yet!”

Martin: “Jenson – lot of pressure on you today.”
Button: “Thank you for that, Martin!”

Martin: “D’you think we’ll be here next year?”
Bernie: “You know we’ll be here next year – all you’ve gotta find is somebody with the money, so why don’t you put some of your money in and we’ll do it together?!”
Martin: “I couldn’t afford to lose that amount of money – I’m a very poor man compared to you!”

The Race
“(Ferrari) are like a bar of soap in the bath – you don’t quite know where they are and you can’t quite get hold of them.”

Driver of the Day
“Easy – Fisichella – he’s put in the best performance of the day.”

“It’s like a kids’ playground round here – you can’t really hurt yourself.”

“(Massa) said he learned a lot last year testing with Ferrari. I think he must have left his notebook behind.”

“Jarno Trulli put out a press release saying he’s leaving the team [and] he’s quite happy about it. I’ve never seen a release that says, ‘I’m happy to have been fired’!”

Bernie: “If (Michael) is such a big attraction to the Germans, why isn’t the place full? It’s not full because he’s winning everything. We ought to take him out, give him a pension or something.”
Martin: “No, no, don’t sit on the fence, say what you think!”

(Schumacher speeds up as Button starts to gain on him.)
“I think Michael had to put the Financial Times away and get on it.”

Driver of the Day
“Jenson Button – great run. Maybe he should drive with one hand more often.”

Martin wasn’t commentating this weekend.

“There is a good view of that new incredible run-off [at the Bus Stop] where you could hold an entire kart meeting in there, including transporters and trucks.”

“The exit [of the Bus Stop] used to frighten the life out of you and thrill you all at the same time – now you just point and squirt.”

“You go to any airport when teams are migrating to a Grand Prix – the carry-ons are incredible! Even drivers carry pieces out to race tracks.”

“No doubt there’ll be a bit of blue sky and some sunshine any time soon for Michael Schumacher’s lap – that’s how it normally works out, doesn’t it?”

“That flashing red light [on the back of cars in the wet] would drive me mad if I had to follow that all afternoon.”

“Pantano having an ‘I’ll go and join that accident’ moment.”

(Ted reports that Pizzonia’s race engineer is telling his driver to push like hell.)
“He should be pushing like hell anyway!”

Driver of the Day
“I didn’t even give it any thought yet! I think it’s comfortably Kimi Raikkonen.”

“I’m surprised (Baumgartner) hasn’t got the mirror off the Minardi truck on the side of that car so he can see who’s gonna hit him next.”

(Martin says that Baumgartner won’t be penalised for cutting the chicane, then Race Control announces that the car is under investigation.)
“Yet another opportunity to remind myself that I’m only half as smart as I think I am.”

“I’m gonna be about as welcome as a toothache on the grid here today.”

“I’d love to be down there every day of my life – except days like this when I wouldn’t change my microphone for a steering wheel.”

“It’s like trying to nail jelly to the wall when you’re on tyres that have gone off.”

Selvy Emmanuel submitted the following quote as a rather cheeky comment from Martin:
“This is a brilliantly effective podium here – as you can read in my new book coming out in October.”

“Rubens kept his head, won the Grand Prix – he’s my Driver of the Day.”

(Ted reports that Villeneuve has said not to expect much from the Renaults.)
“We’re used to hearing the excuses after the session’s finished, not before they get out there!”

“Funny old business – (Renault) are congratulating (Villeneuve) on being just about half a second slower than his teammate. Two races down the road, he’ll not be getting that.”

“Honda apparently talking about one thousand horsepower for 2005. I mean, you can’t go that fast, it’d make your nose bleed!”

(Michael spins off on the first turn.)
“It’s just one of those things. They’re hardly gonna fire him, are they?!”

“Hug the inside of the first corner like it’s your favourite granny.”

“A sweet and sour qualifying for Ferrari – I thought I’d get that in early so you can groan.”

(To Ross Brawn on the grid walk)
“There’s a story going around that Michael intentionally spun off yesterday in some brilliant three-banana strategy from you.”

“People [have been] saying, ‘What on Earth are they gonna do to stop Schumacher winning?’ – well, parking him in the pits, giving him no tyres and making him have to refuel before he starts the race might just be the solution every weekend.”

“With that sort of dexterity, I reckon Alonso could get a job driving a transit van round the M25.”

Driver of the Day
“It’s gotta go to Barrichello, hasn’t it?”

“Happy 81st birthday today, Murray Walker.”

“This is the calm after the storm that never quite got here.”

(Qualifying took place on Sunday morning because of a threatened typhoon on Saturday.)
“Everybody came in with a purpose this morning instead of wombling in, getting the sleepies out of their eyes.”

(Webber retires after his low ride height caused burning to his seat.)
“He’ll not be sitting down much on the flight home tonight.”

Driver of the Day
“Coulthard was shaping up to be driver of the day [until he clashed with Barrichello].”
“Michael was just gone, wasn’t he?”

Martin: “Max and Bernie: huge changes for Formula 1. Team managers running all over the place, making decisions on the hoof – it’s been a weird weekend.”
Bernie: “Be quiet – now you’re an author, you’re writing books and things ...”
Martin: “Have you got my new book?”
Bernie: “I’m gonna buy it – well, I was hoping you were gonna give me one. What’s it called, so I can get it right?”
Martin: “Working the Wheel. You’ve got me into a lot of trouble now!”
Max: “You’ve got the plug done now, so d’you wanna know anything about Formula 1?!”
Martin: “I wanna know everything about Formula 1! Why are we making so many changes on the hoof? Why isn’t it done in a three-day meeting on a tropical island somewhere?”

“Enjoy this, because the cars are changing fundamentally for next year and they’re gonna be quite a bit slower.”

“(Montoya) is comfortably my Driver of the Day.”

(For part of the show, Martin interviewed David Coulthard and Jenson Button.)

Martin: “Let’s get this out of the way early: Buttongate; Contract Recognition Board. You two were together on a boat, I think, floating around the Mediterranean somewhere. What was that all about?”
Jenson: “Well, we were just on holiday in Sardinia, really!”

Martin: “DC, you’ve been on the podium sixty times – thirteen of them for victories – but I’ve seen you standing up there with a face like a wet Monday morning.”
DC: “We’re not actors. I guess we are living out a lot of people’s dreams but the reality is we have a professional job to do and if you don’t achieve your goal, how can you be happy about that?!”

(Talking about the incident at Monaco where Montoya ran into the back of Schumacher in the tunnel behind the safety car.)
DC: “Montoya was running second in that group of cars but he was a lap down, and just as you have on the open road, whoever runs into the back of the other car is at fault, so I just don’t get how Montoya could run into Michael in the tunnel and put the leader out of the Grand Prix and not receive some sort of penalty.”
Martin: “Yeah, but if you’re going through the Dartford Tunnel in a Ferrari and you accelerate like crazy and [then] jam the brakes on and somebody runs into the back of you, they’re not gonna be happy with you!”

(After a montage of clips from Martin’s gridwalks, including one where Martin had incorrectly said to DC that this was his best grid position of the year and DC had had to correct him.)
Martin (to DC): “Looks like your manager should talk to the media a bit more, fill us in.”
DC: “Absolutely. Your gridwalks – obviously you weren’t always on the money. I understand that you’re under some pressure but also, in some of them, you were doing a good impression of Montoya’s dad with your tight T-shirts ...”
Jenson: “... and also a little bit of Simon Cowell with the old trousers up around your nipples.”
Martin: “Right – I’ll get ‘em down by my knees for the next one ... but be careful, cos what goes around comes around!”
Jenson: “S’alright, my old man does it as well, so it must be cool!”