The drivers aren’t the only ones who get excited about Spa-Francorchamps. Everyone loves doing laps of the longest circuit in Formula One and on Saturday evening the track had never been busier. Runners and cyclists were everywhere, and there was one man in particular who was generating loads of interest in the media centre.
British journalist Tony Dodgins says he isn’t a runner; he likes playing ball sports. But a few gentle jogs while on holiday in Portugal during the summer break persuaded him to try a lap of the most demanding circuit on the F1 calendar and a large portion of the pressroom turned out in support on Saturday evening.
Eyewitness reports say Tony took Eau Rouge very gently, but at no point did he slow to a walk and he completed the lap in 40 minutes. That put him 21 minutes behind the fastest lap of the weekend, set by Englishman Joe Batchelor. When asked if he’d run around Monza next weekend, Tony replied: “No chance.” Not words that we at Puma like to hear!
While on the subject of running, Mark Webber raised a few eyebrows in the paddock on Sunday morning. He was spotted running into the circuit, which, given that he was staying 10kms away in Spa, was no mean feat. Only the small matter of a grand prix distance lay ahead of the super-fit Aussie!
Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, revealed today that he shied away from exercise during the summer break. He is one of the fittest drivers on the grid, and he’s particularly good on a bike, but he took no exercise for 12 days in August and enjoyed the relaxation.
“I went to the beach,” he says, “and I did nothing. Absolutely nothing! I didn’t even watch the Olympics on TV. It was nice to relax properly, but it was fun to get training again too because I like all sports. I need to be fit to do my job, and I like being fit.”
There were huge cheers for Lewis Hamilton on Sunday morning during the drivers’ parade. He’s a popular driver, having won at Spa-Francorchamps in 2010, but his taxi for the parade got a lot of admiring glances too. Lewis was driven around the track in the legendary Mercedes Benz 300 SLR in which Stirling Moss won the 1955 Mille Miglia in 10 hours 7 minutes. Think about that for a moment: 1000 miles in just over 10 hours; that’s an average speed of just under 100mph.