The remote location of the Korean International Circuit has its advantages. Without a bustling metropolis nearby in which to pass away the evenings, the F1 paddock hangs out at the track and partakes in some group exercise.
Michael Schumacher has spent much of this week lapping the circuit on his bike (see yesterday’s Paddock Cat), and on Saturday evening it was the turn of the paddock runners. Williams’ third driver Valtteri Bottas set the record, with a stunning lap of 19m53s – only 12 times slower than Mark Webber’s pole position lap on Saturday – and Jenson Button set the record for consistency when he completed two laps within four seconds of each other.
Such a high level of endurance from JB comes as no surprise because he’s a very talented triathlete and he’s currently training for a marathon in Hawaii at the end of the season. That being the case, we can expect to see the 2009 world champion complete three laps of the Buddh International Circuit in two weeks time as he extends his training programme!
Unfortunately for Jenson, he didn’t need much stamina in Sunday’s Korean Grand Prix because he was taken out by Kamui Kobayashi at Turn 4 on the opening lap. “To finish first, first you have to finish,” is an old motor racing adage, and never has a truer word been spoken about this wonderful sport.
Red Bull Racing dominated the race from the front, which meant drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber got reacquainted with chequered flag waver Psy, the singer with whom they’d embarked on some Gangnam style dancing prior to the off. (For the record, Webber was a better dancer than Vettel!).
Next up in the finishing order at the Korean International Circuit were the Ferrari drivers in third (Fernando Alonso) and fourth (Felipe Massa). It was the team’s biggest points haul since the Italian Grand Prix at Monza and it saw them overtake McLaren for second place in the constructors’ championship. It was a good day’s work for the Scuderia and even more smiles were added to the faces in the team after the race, when the catering team served up some delicious pasta to refuel the mechanics.
Gone are the days when the Ferrari staff all sat down with a glass of wine at a racetrack, but the food at the team remains second-to-none. An army marches on its stomach and Scuderia Ferrari marches long and it marches fast!
For those not involved in the paddock pack-up, Sunday evening became a race back to Incheon Airport in Seoul, and then on back to Europe. With the Indian Grand Prix in just two weeks time, every night at home during these long haul races is a bonus. Such is the non-stop nature of F1.