UP CLOSE WITH THE BRI­TISH GP GRID

The be­witch­ing hour; the calm be­fore the storm. The grid is where nerves fray as the min­utes pass, and the days of toil co­a­lesce into two flat-out hours of ac­tion…

F1 Racing (UK) - - CONTENTS - WORDS ROBERT HOLMES PIC­TURES ADRIAN MY­ERS

PREPA­RA­TION in these fi­nal mo­ments might from the out­side ap­pear rou­tine. But ev­ery ac­tion is pre­cisely timed and scrupulously ob­served, from check­ing the tyre warm­ers and ‘func­tional flu­ids’ to en­sur­ing the driv­ers are in place for the na­tional an­them…

TEN­SION builds in­ex­orably as the clock ticks for­ward to ten min­utes past the hour. Is all the prepa­ra­tion com­plete? Is the driver ‘in the zone’? It’s in these mo­ments that the ma­jor­ity of the team must start to let go: they’ve done their job in pre­par­ing the car – now it’s up to the driver to get the most out of it.

FO­CUS on the task ahead as the grid starts to clear and the hang­ers-on are ush­ered away. Celebs, TV crews, jour­nal­ists try­ing to get their faces on screen… all just pe­riph­eral noise, and all now tak­ing their leave. Just the en­gi­neers, phys­ios and team grandees are left now, ob­serv­ing the fi­nal pre-race ri­tu­als. A blast of dry ice to cool the cock­pit; a help­ing hand to zip up the over­alls, tidy the ra­dio wires and tighten the hel­met strap…

CRUNCH TIME and it’s ev­ery­body out. The driver clam­bers in past the halo, a task that de­fies el­e­gance, and is belted in. The gruff bark and turbo whis­tle of hy­brid power units fills the air, the me­chan­ics sprint away with their gear; we’re ready for lights out.

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