Silverstone is always a difficult weekend – I don't know why, but it always seems to work out that way. And the Europeans obviously hate coming here – the money is wrong, everyone drives on the wrong side of the road, the weather is always a problem – and nothing ever goes right. Silverstone is always a difficult weekend – I don't know why, but it always seems to work out that way. And the Europeans obviously hate coming here – the money is wrong, everyone drives on the wrong side of the road, the weather is always a problem – and nothing ever goes right.
The weather is always bad, we'll be told – it's always wet and raining and cold. Personally I can't remember a cold, wet Silverstone since Bernie briefly moved the race to April a few years ago, but frankly that was always asking for trouble. It was this assumption that meant we didn't pack the air conditioning unit for the hospitality area – why pack something you won't need?
It's so hot here, they inevitably moaned – why don't we have any air conditioning?
But one group who weren't complaining were the Addax team, who arrived early to watch their crucial semi final against Germany – two hours later they were driving around town yelling and screaming, hanging out of the car and waving their flags madly, delirious with delight at their country's first World Cup final appearance.
Which gave the other Europeans something to moan about, of course. Apart from the fat kid annoying people this evening by riding up and down the paddock for no reason with his oranje shirt on, and the token Uruguayan at DPR who has hoisted his flag proudly on the portable workbench to share his allegiances in the pitlane.
Sam Bird was another happy camper, partially because we're at his home circuit, partially because he arrived off the back of a fun trip to Goodwood. “It was great, actually,” he gushed in the paddock earlier today, “I drove the 74 McLaren and the 2010 Williams – I do their straight line tests at Kemble, so it was nice to take a few corners this time!”
You might think that the opportunity to drive a championship winning car and the latest version of top end technology would be the highlight of the weekend. You might think that, but you'd be entirely wrong – better than driving these two cars, apparently, was the opportunity to enter an F1 quiz with Jonathan Williams and Karun Chandhok.
“Jonathan is amazing! There is nothing he doesn't know about Formula One – my girlfriend had a big F1 book and was randomly opening it and asking question after question, and he knew absolutely every answer!” I know from personal experience that Karun is a complete statistical geek about F1, and the combination meant that Sam didn't have a chance to get a word in.
“I am a huge F1 fan, obviously, but I didn't know any of the answers to these questions anyway! So I asked my girlfriend to give me an answer and then got her to ask the question – I just slipped the answer in quietly, they looked at me like they were impressed with my knowledge, and then I could just keep quiet from there!”
After which it was time for qualifying, but the less said about that the better: after dealing with the traffic on the way to the circuit and the over officious traffic wardens, the hordes of people walking up and down the paddock all day and the lack of air conditioning, it's a wonder heads didn't explode at the thought of the kerbs on the new part of the circuit and the endless traffic on track spoiling everyone's one clear lap.
But I don't want to make too much of it – after all, if it wasn't for the Europeans, we'd have nothing to complain about...