Well, that was all a surprise, wasn’t it?
Sergio Michel “Checo” Pérez Mendoza, 33, originally from Mexico and now of Feusisberg, Gnomeland, won the Saudi Grand Prix by five seconds from Mad Max; with Ferdy Alonso third then last then third again, and Georgie Russell six seconds ahead of the Hamster – and our new hero, Val Bottas, 33 originally of Nastola, Finland, now of Monte Carlo, Monaco and Stirling, South Australia, 18th.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, there’s a lot to unpack here before we open the kimono and boil the ocean about the macro themes coming into the Albert Lake soiree next weekend.
First up, Mad Max was meant to win. That’s how the Red Bull TV show is scripted.
Max’s excuse is he had to start from 15th on the grid. He got into second place very quickly but simply didn’t have the speed to catch Checo. Then because he had the tom tits, Max went against team orders and set the fastest lap.
Max is quickly learning the Hamo lesson about tall poppies and people going off him when he throws a tanty.
Now please pay attention here because it does get very confusing and there’s a quokka load of tom tit going down.
The seniors card holder of the F1 set, Ferdy Alonso, is suddenly the pensioner to watch. Two thirds in two races. Why? Because he is a great wheel person, driving what is effectively a Red Bull car with a Mercedes engine.
So Red Bull isn’t happy that Ferdy is just sitting there waiting for its drivers to make a mistake or break down. Mercedes is not happy that its cars are being beaten by a car with its engine. Ferrari is not happy because it is not even in the top group anymore. Lewis Hamilton isn’t happy because not only are Checo, Mad Max and Ferdy ahead of him, but Georgie Russell – the number-two driver for Merc – is consistently faster than him. And, Hamo has split with the stabilising force in his life, Angela Cullen, 48, of Adernland. Angela has been his physio, mental and physical health adviser for seven years.
None of us are happy that F1, a $40bn business, is run like the neighbourhood netball team. Last Sunday, Ferdy crossed the line third. Then 20 minutes after the race had finished and Ferdy had been given a trophy, been sprayed with cheap Italian sparkling wine (to save money F1 has stopped using champagne and uses the sparking Ferrari Trento, but here’s a thought: if things are that tight why not have a whip around among the drivers before the start of every race, send a volunteer down to the local Dan Murphy’s for a case of Moet and get back to the real thing?) and lit up his first Camel (the cigarette not the mode of transport in Arabville) – than the stewards took the trophy back.
Moving to more important matters, Val Bottas will be driving the 2016 Bathurst 1000-winning Holden VF Commodore V8 Supercar (the champagne of what has become sparkling wine Supercars) today at the Adelaide Motorsports Festival.
Val is a regular visitor to the City of Churches because his partner, cycle champ Tiffany Cromwell (born July 6, 1988) lives locally. Naturally the old bloke has already extended an invitation (with the permission of King Chuck of Soapdodger Land) to Val and Tiff to come to his Stepney atelier for a nude portrait session.
I have also extended and invitation to Val to race with Mick and me in a real car, the 1990 BMW 3 Series, in the Leyburn Sprints in August. Of course, having the silver tongue, Mick said we have to wish Val, tervetuloa Adelaidean, in the column today.
Talking of F1, next month, RM Sotheby’s is flogging Mick Schumacher’s 2000 Brazilian Grand Prix-winning V-10 Ferrari. One for the trivia freaks, Mad Max’s dad Jos finished seventh in the same race. This feezer sold nine years ago for $2.8m, so my guess is around $25m.
There was an election in NSW last weekend. Once again motorists will be largely ignored as will road safety. Let’s keep the mobile speed cameras sending money straight through to the pollies to waste.
Let’s keep the monopoly on toll roads so it’s really a tax on the poor that is redistributed to needy shareholders. As Nine’s Tom Rabe and Alexandria Smith so eloquently put it: “During its 12 years in office, the Coalition government has sold the tolling concessions for several major motorways to consortiums led by international road operator Transurban, generating billions of dollars for the state’s coffers”. Not to mention Transurban’s.
Roads spokesman for the communist opposition party and shadow minister for arts, night time economy and music John Graham said Labor would also make public any compensation agreements between the Coalition government and Transurban. “There is currently no way for the public to know how much we are up for in compensation if we try to reform tolling in NSW. There’s also no way to know how much drivers will have to pay over the decades remaining under these contracts. We don’t accept that toll costs are a state secret. John’s leader, Chairman Chris Minns, has promised to table to parliament key details of the lucrative agreements between the state government and the private sectoras part of his plan to reform tolling.
Finally, reader 19, Bob Cunningham, tells me his dad, Tom, was not only the first camera cop in Australia but in the whole world, and he invented the dashcam (1950s).