We all know the best way to get things done in racing: go as fast as you can without rushing, because that's when the problems happen. Better to get things done at your own pace so you don't make any mistakes which you'll pay for later.
Obviously that doesn't include races, but they're another form of life altogether.
So I've only got myself to blame for the serious bruising on my foot. I knew we had to change the backdrop for the press conference between events, and GP2 was yesterday afternoon while GP3 was this morning, but for one reason or another no one did it when we had time to spare, and I had to rush it through this morning.
The backdrop itself was okay - it fell on my head a couple of times, but that generally happens anyway - but when I put the large strips of it onto the desk to get ready to roll together they knocked the desk name plate onto my foot.
A long, heavy, sharp T bar of steel. With the sharp edge down. Onto my toes.
I saw stars. I thought I was going to throw up. I couldn't hear anyone talking to me because of the white noise in my head. And we still had to get it changed with the drivers heading to hospitality from their trucks. With me due to host the press conference.
I would do well to remember their names with my foot throbbing, let alone what happened in the session (I didn't: I wrote their names on paper, along with some questions). I don't remember it, but apparently it happened because there are some quotes on the website. And then we had to change it again for the race press conferences.
So not an ideal start to the day.
Luckily we had a good way to ease back into life: after a hiatus of 3 years we're going back to doing the teammate interviews for the Insider. We've had a number of requests, and it's great because they're both popular and really fun to do.
So I hobbled over to PREMA with Pauline to sit down with Pierre Gasly and Antonio Giovinazzi, and it's really clear that they've built a strong relationship already over the off-season. Pierre laughed at me for wearing sunglasses in the truck (they're prescription: I'm getting old) before jumping straight into it, relishing the chance to make fun of his new teammate, who soon worked out what was happening and joined in with abandon.
They have a photographer working with them, and he was laughing away while he snapped us all gesticulating wildly as we laughed about Pierre's obsession with pizza and the pair's view on subjects like clothes, music, their philosophy of racing and, inevitably, girls. You can look forward to reading it soon, and make sure to sign up for the Insider magazine if you haven't already to get a copy.
It was a shame to leave in the end, as the company was tremendous and their truck was really comfortable: it reminded me of why it can sometimes be harder to write a blog now than it used to, as the comfort levels in the teams' trucks are way higher than it used to be, so the drivers hardly leave to come to hospitality now!
One person getting used to a higher level of comfort is Luca Ghiotto, the eminently popular Italian who steps up after a fantastic year in GP3 to show what he can do on a bigger stage. Not that he's taking anything for granted: "I'm so lucky to be with Trident," he told me as we headed over to the Fanzone for the usual video game contest, "as they were really happy with me last year, and offered me a deal to be here. I really owe them a lot, and it's great that we're all friends too."
Top ten in his first qualy won't have harmed that, either.
Luckily there was no one from the team to see him at work in the game zone, because it didn't go well for him.
"What was that about?" I laughed afterwards as we discussed his crashed as we walked over to the collected fans.
"I know, but it's not my fault, the car was crap!"
"Typical driver, always blaming the car."
"No, it was the program: I'm blaming the internet!"
Jimmy Eriksson came over to gloat (he came third), but his demeanour sometimes doesn't tell the story he might want it to.
"Did you enjoy that Jimmy?"
"Yeah, it was great!"
"Maybe you should tell your face!" I laughed. "I tell you in every press conference to smile more!"
"I'm just Swedish: we're all like this!"
"Not all of you! Maybe you need to be like Nobu, and learn to chill out..."
The Japanese driver wandered serenely past to take another photo with some fans, his new buzzcut in ample evidence.
"What's the haircut about?" I asked in the minibus back to the paddock, "trying to show a new serious side?"
"Yes," he stated inscrutibly, "and also for racing: I save some weight, I go faster." I wasn't sure if he was being serious or not until the edges of his mouth tipped up slightly, cracking everyone up.
It was soon time for the race, and it was great to be able to dump all the tension and get down to the reason we were all there: great, that is, until all the screens blacked out on the first lap of the race, leaving me to hang off the side of the pitwall shelter to try and see the screen on top of the stands opposite, just to be able to write what was happening.
Luckily (for us, anyway) it coincided with Luca running off and bringing out the safety car, and some fast work by the Force India mechanics got the screens back up before the race went live again. After the race I saw Marvin Kirchhöfer walking back to the paddock with his trainer: he pitted for a new nose after the incident, so I asked him if he'd caused it. "No!" he roared, wounded at the suggestion, "they went off in front of me, and their debris damaged my car!"
The other driver I saw on the way back was Sergey Sirotkin, waiting for his team to return after he spun out of the race from third. I asked if there was a reason for his spin and he moaned "yes, it's because I'm the biggest idiot in the world", looking so depressed that I almost hugged him. There's plenty of other opportunities to come, I stammered, but he wasn't having any of it: "No, it's unacceptable, I just can't do it" before slumping off to his truck.
Suddenly my foot didn't feel quite so bad. We got to work writing up all the reports (and the less said about the flag marshal's effect on the end of the race the better), and I almost thought about going for a run, just to see if the foot was okay, when there was a sudden downpour.
Which was clearly a sign: my foot was still hurting, the weather wasn't playing ball, so it was almost as though it was fate. So, I thought, let's have a go at putting together a blog, and see if there was anything to talk about today.
I'll tell you when I know if there was.
"It must be so glamourous" people inevitably say when I tell them about this job, about following the circus around Europe from circuit to circuit, from year to year. "All those great cities, all those fabulous restaurants and nightclubs, all that time with the drivers and everything."
I love Barcelona: I always have. It's a great, chilled out, fun town which surpasses the comments above. But the problem with this job is that the reality never quite matches up to their dreams. We don't actually see the cities we go to: most of the time, like here, we see the airport on arrival, get a cab or a car past the city to a race track out of town, shuttle between there and a hotel nearby with a gorgeous view of an ordinary freeway, and then drive back past the town on Sunday to the airport on the way home.
So this year I came out on Thursday morning instead of the evening, just to remind myself what a great place Barcelona is. I caught the bus into the Placa de Catalunya, walked down la Rambla and through the old town, past the Museo Picasso and the Arc de Triompho to la Sagrada Familia and up the hill to Park Guell to take in the stunning view of the whole city laid out in front of me.
Instead of rushing around for flights and taxis in the dark I arrived chilled out and ready for the opening party in the hospitality area, laughed with the drivers and team members as we had a few drinks before a few of us decided to head back into town for some tapas, and still managed to be in bed before midnight.
So I guess that's ruined my argument next time someone tells me I have a glamourous job. It could be worse.
But the chilled out vibe couldn't last for long - we're all here to race, after all - and Friday saw the atmosphere ramp up as the teams eased into their jobs, preparing the cars for free practice while Sergey Sirotkin, Gustav Malja and a few others watched the F1, Nobu Matsushita jumped into his car to tweak the seating position, newbie Luca Ghiotto stood deep in conversation with a mechanic, the Indonesians stood in the shade opposite the Campos pit taking in all the activity for the first time and the Russians, now old hands in the pits, sat around behind the RUSSIAN TIME truck and gentled bickered with each other to pass the time until the session got underway.
The drivers looked to be extra careful not to put a wheel wrong in free practice given the shortened period between the session and qualy, which seemed to arrive 10 minutes later, just after we all threw down a quick bite to fuel us up again. The day had started with a wide open sky and blazing sun, but as the clock ticked down to qualy the clouds snuck in like a dog in trouble with its master as the Minion toy on top of one of the Tridents supervised the team's work, Oliver Rowland hung off the rear of the MP canopy with a giant drink hanging from his mouth and Artem Markelov strided back to his pits, peering over the top of his sunglasses as he scrolled through the screen of his phone for a nugget to consume.
Alexa isn't with us in person, for the completely joyous reason of being pregnant and therefore inappropriately proportioned for the heat and grime and hours and stress of the paddock, so she has arranged for a proxy to attend in her stead in the form of Pauline, to deal with the things she can't do from her spy drone hovering overhead for 20 hours a day. Pauline is a great proxy: less blonde but just as French, and with the same amount of dry, sardonic snarkiness needed to get through a race weekend.
She's quietly enthusiastic about everything, which is winning her a lot of fans. At the press conference, as we all chatted together while we waited for the noise from the Porsche session to die down, she took a photo of the top three drivers laughing together and showed it to them. "It's a good thing you took it before the press conference," I smirked. "Usually the photos during it show one guy engaged as he answers me, and the other two looking stunningly bored. Indeed, sometimes they all look bored!"
"Well if you could ask some good questions from time to time maybe we wouldn't look like that!" Alex laughed.
He seemed in good form when we finally got started, so maybe I'm getting better at this job after all this time, or maybe he was just in his usual jokerish form. Afterwards he and Pierre were talking about the Matsushita/Gelael spat during qualy to see if they could find out what had happened when Norman came over and said something in French to his countryman: "oh right," Alex sniggered, "Norman just admitted he took them off..."
Then it was time to write everything up before dinner, which saw Stoffel Vandoorne and Esteban Ocon come back over from the big paddock for a bite to eat and to catch up with their old team. It's always good to catch up with our graduates, and it gave me a chance to have a joke with our current champion.
"It's lucky you raced with us last year," I began. "I mean, sure, you got pole position here and it pretty much set up the whole season for you, but that time would have only been good enough for 12th today..."
"What?" he blustered, taking the bait completely. "I could do better! Give me a helmet and let me race tomorrow!"
"You've hit a nerve!" Esteban laughed. "Don't you know he thinks he owns GP2!"
"Well, he pretty much does now!" I laughed back as Stoffel realised it was a joke and finally joined in. He probably doesn't get much of the chilled out atmosphere we have anymore in the new paddock: they may have a bit more glamour, but I know which side of the fence I'd rather have dinner.
And, clearly, I'm not alone.