The real S.B.

Sandra Bullock? Simon Baker? So Beautiful? A metallic element having four allotropic forms? A bachelor's degree in science? Small Business? Sound Blaster?

Today started with Alexa and I annoying a couple of motorbike cops: the day could probably only improve from there.

Maybe I should go back a bit. Driving in to the circuit (much earlier start, much less traffic than yesterday) I looked over to see Alexa waving at the car next to us. It was only when the occupant made one back and zipped in front of me that I realised it was Sam Bird.

He stayed there for a few miles before suddenly pulling back into the other lane and slowing quickly. “What's he doing?” Alexa quizzed, seemingly unable to understand why a driver would ever slow down, but a quick look in my mirrors showed the dayglo colours of the British constabulary.

Unfortunately Sam filled the only gap in the other lane: I figured the police wanted to get through, so I accelerated slightly just to get ahead of the guys in the left lane and let the boys in iridescent yellow go through. Which only prompted them to zoom ahead of me and wave their fingers at me before sitting on 39mph all the way to the track.

No good deed goes unpunished, clearly. I think they only failed to pull over and nag me because it would cause a big tailback in the traffic. We finally got into the paddock, and Alexa switched from complaining about the local police to moaning about her foot: she was proud of the fact that she was down to just one crutch at the start of the weekend, but it was already clear that she was overdoing it and had hurt her foot again. We got her upstairs to the office to put her foot up and I took my chance: I locked her into the office, but GP3's Amanda ruined it all by opening the door to ask a question, giving Alexa the chance to limp to freedom.

Not wanting to be responsible for the inevitable increase in foot pain I ran off (well, actually I walked: Alexa is really, really slow these days, so anything over a dawdle works like a fastest lap) before she blamed me.

We had a few interviews set up, and this week's teammate interview soon came around: it was Carlin today, and it's great fun to talk to Alvaro and Max about what they get up to. I found out that Alvaro is the Portuguese James Bond, Max found out that the Portuguese fans are very, very passionate about his teammate, Alvaro found out that Max is a complete golf junkie: the only thing we didn't find out was Max's ideal car, as it turned out to be an impossible choice for him to make.

I'm half expecting an email in the middle of the week from him asking if it's too late to tell us his choice for the interview...

At lunch I found myself in the queue just in front of Giedo van der Garde, who has been incredibly laid back all weekend considering the dramas he's suffered: it's almost as though each new problem has allowed him to relax a bit more, to take a little more pressure off his shoulders.

“It should be a good race,” he noted. “The quick guys are at the back, we've got nothing to lose, so I think you're going to have some fun watching it today. Wet or dry, I think it will be fun.” It was about this time that he noticed Sam sitting at one of the tables with his back to us, and that he was wearing a shirt with a giant SB on the back. “Hey, is that shirt from Sebastien Buemi? I didn't know you were a big fan of him...” Sam glowered a bit which made Giedo laugh, and he reached over to pull the Englishman's ear, which annoyed him even more: when he stomped off the Dutchman laughed out loud, happy that he had managed to annoy one of his rivals so easily.

And then the race came, preceded by yet another torrential downpour. I am so glad I brought my thick jacket this weekend.

But if Giedo has been unlucky this weekend, we should spare a few thoughts for Michael Herck, who seemed to combine a season's worth of bad luck into one race. He couldn't get off the line when the safety car led the rest of the field away, and had to be pushed into the pitlane to be restarted.

He then went to leave the pits only to find that the red lights were on, and was stuck there fuming until just before the safety car came back around, losing almost a complete lap. Coming in on lap ten to try and find a strategic advantage he left again on wets, and then came back two laps later to get slicks when it was clear that this was a better choice, just as Marcus Ericsson and Stefano Coletti made their well timed stops.

When the Romanian set the fastest lap next time by it was clearly a vindication, but unfortunately he soon had a message that he had picked up a penalty for speeding in the pitlane, undoing all his good work. He was soon back into the pits, but hadn't been told that it is a 10 second stop go penalty in Silverstone, given the time advantage in the pits, and so had to come back in once again to serve the penalty correctly. I've never seen anything like it before: it was as though he'd run over a black cat. I wanted to go and ask him about it, but I was worried I might make him trip down the stairs and knock himself out or something.

Then it was back to try and find a way to squeeze as much of the race as possible into a press release, and then catch the GP3 race: I missed the start because we don't have a TV in our office, and when I looked at the screen next door and saw them in the pits I thought I had an installation lap to come, and I missed the last lap because Al rang me to say that our drivers were in the press conference room waiting to be interviewed.

With all the delays to our race and the following GP3 event, we'd forgotten to push the time back a few minutes: I walked around to see all three drivers patiently sitting there, waiting for me to arrive, with Al and the journalists looking back at them. We've got our boys trained so well. I was so proud!

And it was great to see Marcus Ericsson back in the press conference after so long: he's a great guy who just lives for racing, and he was so happy to be back at the front again. He hung around to chat to me and a Swedish TV crew afterwards, and he couldn't stop smiling. “I'm so happy to be back in here again,” he laughed, “it's been way too long! I'm so happy to show what we can do: we're so fast here, but we still had to gamble to do it.”

“But I am going for a podium again tomorrow: I love all this, I want to be in the press conferences all the time!”

I'll be wishing him good luck as he goes for it. But Marcus, if you're reading this, you might want to wait until you get into the track before you put your foot down: you'll be risking some seriously wagged fingers if you don't.


on Saturday 9 Jul 2011 - 22:38 by Kat

Is it possible that the FIA mixed up the trophies? There's a pic where you can see the GP3 logo on the bottom when they're held up by the boys.
Wheeee Jules first! *is a happy ARTfan*
Why is everyone trying to annoy Sam, is it a secret competition we know nothing about?
Amaaaazing race today, can't wait for tomorrow! GP2 totally rules action-wise.

on Sunday 10 Jul 2011 - 09:42 by Lin

The Bird is the Word!

on Sunday 10 Jul 2011 - 11:50 by Nathalie

The real S.B : I like ONE "Sam BIRD" but inside him there are differents SB (Raccer (=BIRD), Glamour (=Sam) and heart full of generosity (= Sam BIRD)). In 3 years I meet and saw the 3 and it's Great !

on Tuesday 12 Jul 2011 - 18:11 by Terrie

Seriously breathtaking,Smart and brave.Srong and bold.All could be Sam Bird.LOl :) Love the articles.Great job.:)

on Tuesday 12 Jul 2011 - 23:17 by guyh

Nice one, gotta love Sam. A totally nice guy and bloody quick too. Nice skills DC.

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