"Well I hope the wind doesn't take until Wednesday to quieten down otherwise DC has a long wait."
"[BAR] ended up having to have this rather clumsy looking paint-scheme with a big zip down the middle. It looks like something out of a lingerie catalogue, not that I've got one of course Murray."
Murray: "We have long press conferences, and Marc Gene was
very, very confident, extremely eloquent, and most authoritative,
interesting and informative. We need a few more like him."
Martin: "But is he fast?"
"I don't actually think [Hakkinen's free practice crash] was a massive accident; I thought it was a moderate accident, but now that the wheels are tethered to the car, they bounce around and do an enormous amount of damage, and it looks like he's had a big shunt because the car was all in pieces."
"I'm beginning to think that they've built the track in the wrong place you know, because the cars seem to want to go around the outside there. The tarmac's in the wrong place clearly. They've put the grass where the tarmac should have been." (the new extra groove in the harder tyres cause several drivers to go off at Turn 15)
"Hakkinen coming onto the grid now, as I'm talking about him he's trying to run me over!"
"Well what a dramatic start to the Grand Prix. It all looks a bit amateur hour at the moment."
"The McLarens were notably unreliable in the test - they'd barely get you down to the chip shop on some days."
"Interlagos - 2.66 miles, an average speed of about 120 mph. It's a hoot already and we've not even arrived at the first corner. You're doing about 190 miles an hour here and you brake at the 60 metre board."
"Now here's a corner I bet you've never heard of - Laranja. It's just 50 miles an hour in second gear."
"That's one of the scrappiest laps you'll ever see Damon Hill drive. Damon's normally just so smooth."
"It looks much easier from the TV camera than it does from the cockpit because the track really disappears over the top of a blind hill there and you have to have a stab at where you think the apex of the corner is."
"Engines love to run on a cold, damp day. They've got 306 kilometres [per hour] out of these cars at the end of the short back straight. Tremendous straight line speed here. The engines are all singing this-afternoon, none more so than this Mercedes-Benz here in Hakkinen's car."
"Villeneuve yesterday they told him he wouldn't be able to run his car, they had a technical problem. They told him they wouldn't be able to get him out in the afternoon. They had 100 people lined up to sing Happy Birthday and give him a cake; Villeneuve went back to the hotel in disgust and they were left looking at the cake." (this wasn't a set-up: JV's car really was broken, so his actions weren't ironic)
"I was Hakkinen's team-mate for a year at McLaren and there is no doubt about it, he does have an ability to go out there - and as we say in the pitlane - put the three bells up, get the three fastest sections all in the same lap and somehow just pull something out of the bag."
"Seven minutes to go Murray. This is a very unusual situation. There's only three cars that are able to join the race track with enough laps to go, so you're not going to have a traffic problems, it's a perfect scenario. It's just a McLaren show-down, and the only [other] guy with any laps left is Johnny Herbert."
"I think we're going to see Coulthard locking up. This is where his bad first section went. That's his new set of tyres that are going to look like a 50 pence piece and he's not even got the car into turn 1 yet."
"No Williams in the top ten Murray, isn't that incredible?"
"Let's talk about Jean Alesi, Murray. He's 5th place, he's about to set the fastest lap of the race; where's he come from?"
"There's two rules in Formula 1: One is 'Don't go against Bernie too often' and Rule Two is 'See Rule One.'"
"There's Villeneuve out of the race. We put a curse on him didn't we?"
Murray: "Damon Hill alongside Eddie Irvine... alongside Eddie
Jordan, I'm sorry, not Eddie Irvine."
Martin: "Eddie Irvine's never going to forgive you for saying that!"
"I think that psychologically was a great lap for Mika Hakkinen. I think he was saying to Michael: 'Listen buddy you can have a push and my answer is not to get flustered and ragged - I'm just going to take a second a lap out of your very best effort; Thank you and Goodnight - I'm off!'"
"Where the fastest drivers in the world get to rub shoulders with the rich, the famous and the beautiful. And me and Murray."
"Back a few years ago, in the days when Grand Prix drivers were old enough to shave every day, this [corner] was somewhat more challenging - you came around a wall and it was blind; very, very scary."
"Only two corners now 'til the end of the lap - but don't worry, plenty of time to crash yet."
"The times here always tumble like a fruit machine as every lap you get a little braver."
"Apparently - I was away for Imola - Bernie Ecclestone tried to hi-jack my grid walk. So I thought I'd better bring in today a minder: Frank Bruno."
(to Frank) "If you see a little man with glasses - short guy with really deep pockets - it's Bernie Ecclestone. No, it's not Harry. You've got to protect me because he's trying to nick my job."
(to Bernie) "You missed the first three races. Did you lose your passport or is there something big going on? What's all this about Brands Hatch?"
"I went underneath Coulthard's car [in 1995 at the start] and came out the other side and opened my eyes again. I was in third place and pretty happy about it. Unfortunately they brought out the red flags."
"[Marc Gene] must have doubled Monaco's budget for Armco barrier because he's been having a nibble at it at every opportunity."
"He's stroking it. Michael's just playing with it."
Martin: "Interesting shot there Murray."
Murray: "Hello girls!"
"You don't get many of those to the pound! Were those girls in the race or something? Because they seemed to be getting a lot of coverage in this podium procedure."
"There's Michael Schumacher walking off to the Gents I imagine."
"Imagine that - you're doing 180mph, you're braking at something like 4G, 110 metres before the corner, and you're inches apart from another car doing exactly the same thing."
"I do feel for him. It's the chateau d'eau - ironically the water tower corner - and Alesi certainly found some water there didn't he?"
"I've seen the safety car crash. That's when you know it's really getting bad!"
"A lot of pressure in the paddock - and this is something I dislike a lot about Formula 1 - saying Damon should go now, he should go immediately; that sort of thing. Last September everyone was painting him as the hero when he won in treacherous conditions like this in Spa, and all of a sudden there's this big movement, 'Oh Damon you should go straight away.' I don't subscribe to it at all. The man's still a world class driver."
"Go and talk to him Murray after this race. He's got to go to the British Grand Prix. Go and have a word with him for goodness sake."
Martin: "I can see in the pitlane that they're getting another
steering wheel ready for Michael Schumacher's pit-stop. So maybe
he didn't go off the road. Maybe he just had some kind of gear
James: "You're absolutely right there Martin. I don't know what kind of crystal ball you've got up there, but it obviously an expensive one!"
"Ralf misses his braking point and goes across the green tarmac there. That used to be all gravel. They make it too easy for these drivers these days. They should have poles in there with spikes."
"I don't know what the penalty is [for overtaking in the pitlane], but they can fine [Michael Schumacher] ten-thousand bucks, which will hardly dent his pocket-money this week. But it's out of order - you don't expect to be overtaken [there]."
"I think Hill's done a great job too. You can't drive around here a tenth of a second slower than Frentzen if you're not totally on it and totally wanting to do it, let me tell you that."
Martin: "They have a stall control system - as soon as the
engine detects it's running too low in revs the car can pull the
clutch in Murray, and stop the engine from stalling."
Murray: "I'd like one of those!"
Martin: "I've written a script, right. Edge Frentzen into the
gravel into the first corner; drill Irvine; Schumacher and
Hakkinen are going to have each other off; follow Coulthard, he's
going to come in ten laps to go because he's going to be so
surprised the car's still running; you go on to win, yellow
[Jordan] flags waving. How about that?"
Damon: "I think you should drive and I'll do the commentary!"
(to Damon) "Break a leg mate." (ironic, given Schumacher's later crash)
"I wanted to see Mr Prescott. I've lost sight of him now, which is not that easy a thing to do in fact, is it?"
Martin: "Mr Prescott, ... is this your first Grand Prix?"
Prescott: "No, no, I've been 3 or 4 times. Best driver to win, but I'm hoping it's Damian."
Martin: "Sorry, you're looking for Damon?"
Prescott: "Damian, yes."
Martin: "Oh right, excellent stuff...."
"Silverstone has never looked better - eat your heart out Brands Hatch."
"Damon Hill radioing in, saying 'Stop the race now! Stop the race now! This is far enough - we'll settle for this!'" (Damon leads his final home Grand Prix during the pitstops)
"Schumacher will be out of that car very quickly." (Before marshalls took half an hour to pull him free from his wrecked car.) <Gary Cullen>
"I suppose the first question Mika has to ask him is 'Are you asleep?'" (Schuey supports Salo from home)
Murray: "Damon was rhapsodising about how well the
Jordan handled just yesterday. They put it away in the garage, it
was a perfect motor car; this morning, it's all to pot."
Martin: "Is rhapsodising good or bad?"
Murray: "Oh, very good indeed!" (English lessons with Murray)
"You saw Mika peering over the right side of his cockpit. He's looking for that yellow line to park his front wheel on it. I did some practice pitstops in the Jordan on Wednesday, and I could believe how difficult it was to look out of the car and even see that yellow line. Mainly because you're looking out of the top of a bath tub."
"Michael Schumacher with his leg up in front of the TV, and Eddie Irvine in a less than sparkling third place and falling back." (Eddie struggles initially with a high fuel load)
"Now there's a couple of guys I wouldn't want to have to pass in a hurry - Alesi and Villeneuve."
"If I was still a Grand Prix driver, and the team said to me 'OK, you can miss one race each year, which one will it be?' I'd say Hockenheim for the German Grand Prix here. Why? Because the place scares me a little bit. Other circuits scare you, but they thrill you at the same time."
"I didn't see the topless grandstand, that's for sure." (out in the two-seater McLaren)
"Two Finnish drivers 1st and 2nd in this race. Not bad for a nation of 5 million is it?"
"A Minardi has just passed a Williams, Murray. What's happening? It's just incredible."
"'Damon Hill sends a message to Martin. He'll meet him at the
airport after the race.'
See, he's a nice man isn't he?"
"Here we are down at Turns 6 & 7, and these saw-tooth kerbs are just unbelievable. Look - here's my mobile 'phone; I can actually loose it completely in the bottom of this kerb."
"Basically there's three ways of getting these cars off the line: 'Granny leaving the supermarket', 'Boy Racer' and 'Control Freak'. Granny is the winner closely followed by Control Freak."
James: "Mika Salo said 'This Ferrari is going to be right on
the pace of the McLaren in qualifying.'"
Martin: "Did he say which year McLaren he was going to match the pace of? That's the thing!"
James: "The 1994 McLaren I think!"
"Well we're back on the grid. We bought a little sticker here off of Bernard Charles Ecclestone; probably the most expensive piece of plastic in the world I imagine."
"We'll be back after these retail opportunities." (Martin seems to make even the commercials exciting!)
"Well let's, er," (laughs) "look at the evidence..." (Hakkinen gets the 'push' board)
Martin: "So why the push board to Mika Hakkinen then?"
Murray: "Don't ask me awkward questions like that 'cos I haven't got the answer!"
"Talking about foreign drivers learning English in British Grand Prix teams; they tend to learn a particularly colourful Formula 1 English."
"Now I don't always carry furry dice in my car, you'll be pleased to know. We put them in to demonstrate what g-force is. It's the same force that will slide your granny from one side of the car to another if you go into a roundabout a little too quickly." (excerpts from Martin's ITV inside guide to F1)
"I've got a good tabloid story to tell about Damon Hill: he's admitted to trying on Frentzen's underwear. I'm not going to tell you the rest of the story because it spoils it and makes it all seem too obvious."
"The day you're satisfied with your car and your lap is the day you need to retire. There's always a little bit of something extra."
"Any car that has a horrible colour scheme like that is bound to have a bad season in my view."
"Damon Hill there - 4th on the grid. I think he did a superb job yesterday. A track that needs total and utter commitment, he was one of the fastest through Eau Rouge, if not the very fastest. For a man who's acknowledged that he's moving into his last five races of his career, I think that is a great performance."
"What on earth's going on here? We're three abreast here and it looks more like a super-speedway race."
"Adrenaline's a wonderful thing isn't it? I sat with [David] Coulthard half an hour before the race and he looked like he should be tucked up in bed with a hot water bottle and a lemon drink. But once that adrenaline gets pumping around your veins it's amazing what you can do."
"In '96 I had a similar battle here with Barrichello when we were both in the Jordan and we were this close for 4th and 5th position. Barrichello was jumping over the kerbs in the first chicane, his hands flailing around, managed to switch off the ignition, which I was very thankful for as it enabled me to pass him and take the position. But no such problems for him here, although he's got rather a lot of silver paint in his mirrors."
Martin: "I drove for Ken Tyrrell for three years. I used to get
called down to Occam - which is two and a half hour drive from
Norfolk - two days after a Grand Prix to be told which laps I lost
the most time on in traffic or whatever. There would also be a
little tray of gears on the desk saying 'Do you know how much
these cost? Do look after them a bit better during the race!'"
Murray: "Lovely man, and we miss him in Formula 1 here."
"I suspect the pain in [Michael's] leg is directly related to the number of points that Eddie Irvine is scoring."
"That's normally a prancing horse but right now it's a guinea pig." (Irvine is the first to try slicks in the drying qualifying)
Martin: "Who's going to win the World Championship?"
Bernie: "The one with the most points I'm sure."
"There'll be little white boards saying 'SC' - Safety Car - to tell the drivers to expect to trip over a Mercedes-Benz with a lot of fairground lights on the top any time soon."
"I've never seen anything like it! There's no tyre to put on! Now they're going to have a committee meeting about it! Stick it on and send him out!" (absolute farce at Ferrari)
Murray: "And there is Fisichella..."
Martin: "...lapping Hakkinen."
"I don't ever remember saying this as a driver, but a sprinkling of rain does make for a cracking Grand Prix, doesn't it?"
"If he (Diniz) hasn't suffered any serious head injuries then he is a very lucky bunny indeed." <Gary Cullen>
"Michael 40.8 - that's a tremendous first lap. He's not lost any speed has he?"
"This man hasn't been in a qualifying session since July, and he turns up and he makes them all look silly."
"Mika Hakkinen parked down there in the parc ferme, all ready to go up to the press conference for the top three, and suddenly he's not in the top three anymore. He's now walked away back to his garage as soon as he heard that Coulthard had pipped him."
"[Mika]'s got to treat Michael Schumacher's Ferrari like it's the back end of a mule."
"Hakkinen must feel like the boy in the schoolyard, and nobody will pass him the ball."
"If you can't overtake here in a Formula 1 car then there's something wrong with the car, not the race-track."
Martin: "In the good old days, if the lead driver's car broke
down, they turfed out the second driver and put him in that
Murray: "I remember Peter Collins - who could have won the World Championship for Ferrari - stepping out of his car to let Fangio take it over and become World Champion. Now that's true sportsmanship."
Martin: "Your Grandad told you about it did he Murray?"
Murray: (laughs) "I was there!"
Martin: "Let's just put this in perspective. That man has spent
all afternoon trying to go slowly, and he's now leading the race
by 6.7 seconds. Megastar."
Murray: "I'm tempted to say to the people who write the many letters saying to me that I overstate Schumacher's brilliance - have another think after what has been happening today."
"Practice was temporarily halted yesterday afternoon when a
cobra was loose on the track."
"I'm surprised Mr. (Mohatir) Mohammed does not have a couch in the McLaren garage!" <Ken Cyrette>
"You can't be a little bit pregnant, as they say." (referring to the Ferrari bargeboard incident)
"Somebody's just told Michael he's been on TV yawning." (at the back of the pit garage in qualifying)
"Bernie Ecclestone normally gets the credit for these 000's, but he's a long way away in Great Britain." (Mika matches Michael's provisional Pole time to the thousandth)
"Well, 'What goes around comes around' is what Ferrari are going to be thinking at the moment, after of course they played this game to rather supreme effect in the last Grand Prix."
"That's put a bit of a bad nose on McLaren's Constructors Championship there; that's really knocked that one for six."
"I believe if it was Michael Schumacher's World Championship up for grabs, he'd be lapping somewhat faster than he is right now."
"[Damon] stopped one year too late sadly, didn't he?"
"The Brit in me really hoped Irvine would take this, but the driver in me I think says that Mika deserved this Championship. I'm pleased Ferrari have got the Constructors too, because they've had a strong season -- a strong two or three seasons really."
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Document Copyright 1997-2004 David Crick.
Last Updated: 07 July 2004