It was a fantastic weekend of grand prix action and more good coverage from the BBC, both on Radio 5 Live with James Allen and Jenny Gow, and on TV with DC and Suzi Perry. Technical expert Gary Anderson (ex-Jordan, Jaguar, Stewart) flitted between the two studios.
Gary has started to introduce “the bubbly” into his repertoire, a little like Jake Humphrey, who early on in his F1 career was fixated with the idea of teams having a party after a win, as in: “I bet you’ll be having a party.” “Will you be partying?” “When does the party start…?” Gary thought that Marussia would be celebrating after beating Caterham again in qualifying. “They’re the ones who are going to be out with the bubbly after this session.”
Gary also re-sexed one of the Williams drivers:“That’s Valerie Bottas being told by his engineer that he’s half a second too slow.”
James Allen really rather does like… “The very charismatic Turn 2 here in Malaysia.”
After qualifying David Coulthard wanted to warn us that if it rained on Sunday, then that could play into Seb’s hands because he got his first win for Toro Rosso in mixed conditions. But it didn’t quite come out that way: “Let’s remind ourselves that his first ever win was in dominant conditions.”
Before the race James Allen reminded us of the cars that were kinder to their Pirellis: “Mercedes are a lot easier on their tyres, apart from the Lotuses, the Ferraris and the Sutil.”
DC thought he knew what tyres the teams would be running: “They’ll be out there on a mix of slicks and drys.”
On Lap 2, Gary Anderson was quick to remind us of something we already knew: “We can see the pictures… Listening on Radio 5 you probably can’t see them…”
Then he came up with the gag of the broadcast weekend with a very quick response to a Mercedes radio message. Lewis Hamilton had just made his first pit-stop and was told by his engineer:
“Okay Lewis, we stick to Plan A”
”Well that must have been to drive through the McLaren pitbox.”
James Allen had invoked the spirit of Yoda in Melbourne and he was at it again in Sepang. “Perez shapes up to retake that place from Raikkonen. Ninth and tenth they are.”
Jenny Gow: “Paul Hembery, is this race going how you expected?”
Paul Hembery: “You mean chaotic and crazy…?”
Race commentator Ben Edwards is ever the optimist, even for Paul Di Resta’s chances. “That record of Paul scoring points in Malaysia looks like ending. There’s not much chance of coming back after this…” said as, one lap down, Di Resta’s car was being wheeled backwards into the garage on a dolly.
The final description goes to David Coulthard who was trying to describe to Suzi Perry what it was like driving with a car equipped with slicks on a track that was still wet enough to take Inters – “It’s like driving on the iciest ice you’ve ever walked on.” Smooth.