25 NOVEMBER 2016
First Practice Session: 1:43.297, Position: 3, Laps: 26
Second Practice Session: 1:41.389, Position: 4, Laps: 24
“My last Friday at the track for this season wasn’t bad. We had a few issues with the car today which meant aborting the last run was the sensible thing to do so we can check the car and make sure we are ready to go in the morning. Nothing is broken and there is nothing to worry about, just safe to stop early. The grip is always a bit difficult in the first session here with the temperatures being higher but already you can tell it’s a lot better as the track is cleaner in FP2. The Ultrasoft compound dropped off quite quickly, as you can tell by the short runs on them but the soft seems to be performing well. Ferrari look strong but we are up there also. I had a bit of traffic on my quick lap so I’m confident we are competitive, it should be an exciting qualifying tomorrow. Generally over the season we have improved from Friday to Saturday so I think tomorrow we will be strong.”
First Practice Session: 1:43.362, Position: 4, Laps: 27
Second Practice Session: 1:41.390, Position: 5, Laps: 33
“It’s hot here, even if it’s night-time and the tyres get worked pretty hard both front and rear so relative to everyone I think we still look pretty good. If we all put it together tomorrow we’re more or less there and I’m confident it’ll be a good fight for third place. As expected Mercedes are ahead but I don’t think they are miles ahead, so looking at today maybe we can still race them on Sunday. It’s a dangerous circuit around here, but I don’t see any reason to hold back in practice. If it’s Monaco then I understand if you’re being careful about your equipment but here you can definitely push and go on the limit so we’ll see tomorrow. Maybe Nico is holding back a bit and not showing Lewis too much. I think everyone predicts Lewis to take pole so it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out tomorrow. I definitely felt comfortable today and am looking forward to the next two days.”
The End is Nigh
We could probably count the insane air miles total of the average paddock worker, or calculate the number of cans of Red Bull imbibed across the course of this marathon season, but frankly we’re too knackered. So, as we approach the final stretch of the longest ever F1 season, take a bow everyone who made it through the whole tour, you’re all heroes. And to celebrate your achievement here are a few more lengthy sporting extravaganzas….
1.     Longest Marathon – In 1912 Japan’s Shizo Kanakuri made a fairly gruelling trip by ship and Trans-Siberian Railway to take part in the marathon at the Stockholm Olympics. The debilitating journey took its toll and during the race Kanakuri passed out and was cared for by a farming family on the route. Embarrassed by his failure to finish Kanakuri quietly returned to his homeland without notifying race officials. Thus race officials considered his marathon incomplete and the runner missing. In 1967, he was tracked down by Swedish television and offered the opportunity to complete his run. He accepted and finished his marathon in 54 years, 8 months, 6 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes and 20.3 seconds, remarking, “It was a long trip. Along the way, I got married, had six children and 10 grandchildren.”
2.     Longest penalty shootout – Well, the longest in the English game at least. This took place just three weeks ago. At Stamford Bridge on November 8th, Chelsea’s U-21 side played League One’s Oxford United in the EFL Trophy. Ninety minutes (+7m of added time) later the teams were deadlocked at 1-1 after Oxford equalized in the 94th minute. With no extra time provided for a penalty shootout began and kept going and going and going. In the end it took a whopping 34 spot-kicks to separate the sides, with Chelsea winning 13-12 when Oxford’s Wes Thomas missed in the 110th minute of the game.
3.     Longest Frame of Snooker – Snooker’s not exactly the most electrifyingly rapid sport but at the 2015 Ruhr Open the action moved in glacial fashion. The first five frames of the first-round match between Alan McManus and Barry Pinches hadn’t been fast but the sixth frame slowed to a snail’s pace and eventually took 1 hour, 40 minutes and 24 seconds, making it the longest ever competition frame. Pinches won to level the score at 3-3, by McManus then took a lightning-quick 39 minutes to win the next one and the match. In total it took the pair one minute shy of five hours to complete the seven frames.
4.     Longest Baseball Game – Unless you’re from America and have grown up with a sport that to others is just rounders with statistics, then baseball is likely to seem a tad dull to even the most ardent fan of ball sports. However, even natural born fans of the US’ national game must have found the 1984 MLB game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Chicago White Sox a challenge. The game went to an exhausting 25 innings (regulation is nine) and lasted 8 hours and 6 minutes. The game was so long, it was suspended at the top of the 18th innings and was completed the next day. The White Sox won.
5.     Longest Cricket Match – to appease any Americans feeling peeved at how we’ve treated their national game, let’s also have a go at cricket, which makes baseball look like a thrill-a-minute rollercoaster ride of non-stop action. This would have been especially true for those that attended the March 1939 test match in Durban between England and hosts South Africa. The match had no time limitation and thus was to be played until one side won or the match was ruled a draw. After nine days (nine days!) England needed 41 runs to win at the close of play, but the match was drawn because the English players had to leave to catch their boat back home. Not a pointless exercise at all then.
6.     Shortest Pro Boxing Match – For our last stat we thought we’d reverse the pattern and go for something really quick. Though it’s hard to be exact with this we couldn’t find a fight quicker than the light heavyweight bout between two US boxers Phil ‘The Drill’ Williams and Brandon Burke that took place at Roy Wilkins Auditorium, Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA on June 15, 2007. When the bell rang Burke steamed across the ring to be met with the left hook of Williams, which knocked him out. The whole thing took 1.5s. Perhaps Burke had been distracted by the delays surrounding his choice of apparel – an outrageous pair of comic book boxer briefs. Regardless, the outcome was improbably quick – much like this year’s winter break!