Wot a season wiv the guys and the situations. Off on F1 brings you the best of ITV pundit Mark “Git orf me barra” Blundell for 2008.
First published by Off on F1 in 2008
It was Mark Blundell’s swansong season as the pundit sidekick to Steve Rider on ITV’s BAFTA-award winning F1 coverage. With his cheeky chappy personality, Blundell has won the hearts of literally several people around the world over the years. We will miss him a lot. In his final year he gave us many profound foughts to fink about. Let’s indulge ourselves one more time.
It was a slow start to the season with a fairly measured Blundell keen to keep it tight. It was clear he didn’t want to unleash the kind of sentence that we’ve grown to know and love over the years. The kind that starts off and then transmutes into something else and then wanders unsuspectingly into a cliché and then forgets where it started and rounds off suddenly, Steve.
But talking to Jenson on Saturday we did get: “You done a lot of progress from winter testing, Jenson, but where’s the next step coming from?”
And on Sunday, talking about first lap incidents:“You’re going to see more and more of this as we go into the season because there’s a lot more at issue going into Turn 1.”
It’s rare that Mark gets upstaged by Steve Rider, but following revelations about Max Mosley, Steve managed a (whip) cracking quote. In the wake of more revelations from Max Mosley’s five-hour sex tape in the News of the World on Sunday it was obvious that Steve had read the S&M coverage on Pages, 1, 4, 5, 6 & 7: “The Ferraris will take some beating this afternoon,” said Steve with a twinkle.
Blundell’s race coverage was disappointing, but for qualifying we did get the utterly remarkable: “Maybe those waved yellow flags should have been stagnant yellow flags.”
We got a bumper crop in Istanbul. On qualifying: “Wevver there’s something there wot’s going to come out of the woodwork in qualifying we’ll have to see.”
On Kubica’s chances in Q3: “I fink he’s got something there he can muster up for his qualifying lap.”
On Massa’s chances for the race: “He’s been here on a couple of times previous.”
On Raikkonen’s P4 in qualifying: “He just had a sector what blew out on him.”
On Massa’s set up: “He likes to have a front end what blends off the turn.”
Inspired by the glamour of the occasion Mark Blundell was on fire in the tax dodger’s haven and perverts HQ.
He became a pundit and weatherman rolled into one:“It literally does look like there’s possible rain on the horizon.”
He revealed that Felipe Massa is inflatable: “Massa’s needed pumping up a little bit at the start of the season.”
He could tell when Lewis’s race started:“He just managed to take Raikkonen off the start line and that’s where his race started.”
What were the conditions like?“Very grease conditions.”
How did Robert do?“Kubica climbed his way through.”
Were McLaren expecting an early return to the pits for Lewis?”Of course they’d have had something already written down on paper so to speak to know if something like this happened or occurred.”
Has it been a good start to the season for DC?“It’s been terry dough - very tough for David.”
At Silverstone Mark had some exciting news about David Coulthard’s origins:“He’s got a lot of support, not only from England, but Scotland, where he actually comes from.”
Some drivers will try new lines around corners, Mark tries new descriptions:
”He gets a little bit squirly into the turn there.”
Mark liked the rivvum that Felipe was getting into at Hockenheim: “Massa seems to be very fluid round here.”
In Hungary we found out some good solid racing information. No fancy stuff. Just the nuts and bolts what was needed. If you wondered what kind of circuit it was. Mark was ready with: “It is very alike a street circuit.”
If you wondered why Kimi Raikkonen had a late surge in the race: “It was almost like he was trying to get together with his car.”
And if you wanted to hear a sentence with various key words cut out, try Mark’s analysis of the forthcoming three weeks: “It’s very difficult because their testing ban. None of the teams and cars can go out and putting more miles in.
In Italy he started messing with our heads and using weird concepts.“Lewis didn’t have the confidence, because there wasn’t the confidence out there.”
For F1’s night race Blundell came up with one of his all-time greatest. Talking about Sebastian Vettel’s mature drive in the previous race, Mark waxed lyrical: “He’s got such a balanced pair of shoulders with an old head.
There was a bit of post-Japan revisionism going on about the pundits views of the race and Lewis’s part in it. But as Mark Blundell rightly said: “both the guys in Japan were a little adrift with their train of thought.”
For the race he guessed that: “Alonso will be in there, watching and hovering.”
And afterwards he left us with thought of the day with regards to Lewis’s chances in Brazil: “If he does what he done today in Brazil then it’s done and dusted.”
ITV went out on a high with the most dramatic GP of all time and Mark rose to the occasion. He introduced a particularly nice fruit analogy for tyres in qualifying:
“They’ve only got goodness left in them for this big lap you put in.”
At the end of the race he came up with two Blundell gems to treasure for all time.
“Sao Paulo is predictably variable.”
and”...a last lap wot made the GP very special.”
Thank you Mark. We will not see your like again…Except watch out for the Giant Off on F1 – All Time Greatest Blundellisms Ever – feature this Christmas