5 live Formula 1: Why does it always rain on me?
(Photo: Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images)
There are some times in life when you wonder if you have your own little dark cloud that follows you around...well, I think I might really have one; every time I go to an F1 race the heavens open and a deluge of water proceeds to fall from the sky.
My first Grand Prix in Canada in June 2011 was one of the wettest races ever. However, the race this weekend in Malaysia wasn’t far off those conditions.
Going into the race things were all set up to be a stormer - not just because of the ominous dark clouds that were bubbling up all around the Sepang circuit, but because the two McLarens were on the front row again. Michael Schumacher, proving there’s life in the old dog yet, was just behind them followed by the Red Bull’s of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel.
As we went on air mechanics and engineers were running around the paddock with new sets of wet tyres and the strategists where trying to second guess what was going to happen. The thirty minutes before the start of the race are always frenetic for everyone in Formula 1; for me it’s one of the times I look forward to most as I make my way onto the grid as the 24 cars assemble on their white painted marks and prepare to go racing.
However, as soon as I stepped onto the circuit with Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner I felt the first spot of rain on my arm and thought "this could spice things up". As team members rushed for umbrellas and lovely blue plastic rain ponchos (never a good look) the drivers nonchalantly carried on with their pre-race preparations – nothing gets in the way of that.
It was great the race could start without the safety car, but soon the rain was too much. With thunder and lightning crashing around us, Race Direction decided the time had come to wave the red flag and call a halt to the action. So far so good for Hamilton and Button fans – they seemed to be in command of the race but there was still a long way to go in the race.
The McLaren luck didn’t continue for long; after the restart Jenson was crashing into the back of HRT’s Narain Karthikeyan and Lewis’s pit stops were anything but impressive as the mechanics struggled with something stuck on the front right wheel.
In the end it was left for Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Sauber driver Sergio Perez to battle it out for the win and for a few nail biting laps it looked like it might be the Mexican’s moment...at just 22 he is one of the youngest drivers in the field and compared to Alonso’s 180 Grand Prix starts, Perez has made just 20! However, Perez made one small mistake and his car careered off the track and the much maligned Ferrari finished first.
It was an amazing race to watch and there were some very funny moments too – like Jenson Button making the most of the rain break to grab a cup of tea and wolf down half a bowl of pasta before being told to get back to the grid for the restart.
Then Lewis Hamilton’s girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger managed to get stranded on the wrong side of the paddock and one of my colleagues being only too happy to do the ‘gentlemanly thing’ and run through the rain to offer her a BBC Sport umbrella, which she readily took.
And finally, for those asking the sniffing challenge Colin Murray set me on his Friday night show, is going VERY well. There is an outright winner at the moment but there’s still some more nose twitching to be done before we get to China in three weeks time. But to prove I am taking this very seriously here’s a snap of me sneaking up on Sahara Force India driver Nico Hulkenburg to have a whiff!
And just in case there was any doubt – yes I love my job, no matter what the weather has to throw at me.