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GP Week : Issue 165
21 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: A four-and-a-half week break was just what the doctor ordered before Part 2 of what will prove the longest season in F1 history. Many went to exotic climbs. Me, I stayed at home and watched TV. That might sound like a bit of a waste of time, but when you live out of a suitcase 250 days a year, the post piling so high behind your front door you can’t even open it, a few weeks sleeping in your own bed is more attractive than any full-board desert island packed with aquatic toys. Speaking of toys, I put into action my notorious blaggage skills last week to snatch the keys to a very fast car. Nissan’s brilliant GT Academy, which takes PlayStation gamers from virtual to reality racing, took place a couple of weeks ago. Nissan needed a French judge so I introduced them to Rene Arnoux. My cut? A GT-R for the week. I’ve driven the GT-R on the road and track before and it’s a mighty machine. I therefore wasn’t expecting the journey from Paris to Spa to take the best part of 12 hours. In the 15 years I’ve had my license I’d never once got a puncture until Wednesday, when I got two. Having picked up the second flat somewhere near the old Riems- Gueux grand prix circuit, I had to visit three tyre shops before I found one who could fix it. The GT-R doesn’t pack a spare, see. So that cost a few hours, and causing further delay to the journey my co-pilot, GP Week’s stat-man Sean Kelly and I were so upset our day of continental motoring had been ruined we drowned our sorrows in a seven- course Michelin-starred dinner. Well, there have to be some perks to a French road trip. And that would have been fine if assistant editor Naoise Hollohan wasn’t sat waiting for us for five hours at a train station near Spa. I felt a bit guilty about that, but once he saw the car he didn’t seem to mind. Still, I wasn’t the only one facing motoring woes on the Paris-Spa commute. Another pair of chums from the F1 media had their journey interrupted when they put petrol in their diesel motor, and as a convoluted consequence were serenaded by a gay sailor. But that’s another story. As usual, after the break, paddock chat was largely centred on where people had been and how ridiculously bronzed one or two TV people were. But the main talking point was @lewishamilton. The McLaren driver has become very active on Twitter in the last month, posting lots of Instagram pics and filling his fans in on his preferred poets, both traditional and urban. After practice at Spa he informed usitwasas“wetasamofo”out there, and he reacted to his poor qualifying with “Damn, WTF!!?” Staying optimistic, he promised he would drive “H.A.M” on Sunday, and if you don’t know what that refers to you’re going to need to look up the lyrics to Jay-Z and Kanye’s track of the same name (actually that song has always come to my mind whenever I’ve seen HAM on a timing screen). AlotoftheF1media–whono doubt had to Google that reference – have been criticizing Lewis’ rap-inspired Tweets. Personally, I’m all for it. Let the lad express himself. Isn’t it refreshing that he’s different, non-corporate, has a life outside of the sport, drags Lupe Fiasco to the Belgian countryside, and that his team doesn’t have control over his Blackberry? Were he faceless, dull and uncontroversial, those same people would be criticizing him for that too. McLaren did step in, though, when he Tweeted a telemetry overlay of he and Jenson, revealing data they would rather keep secret. Martin Whitmarsh ordered he delete it, but once these things are out there that’s it. Lewis earned 20,000 followers overnight, and my guess is they’re all rival engineers. ALWAYS PACK A SPARE TYRE, AND NEVER TWEET YOUR TELEMETRY OPINION OPINION ADAM HAY-NICHOLLS F1 Editor