First Practice Session: 1:18.486 Position: 1, Laps: 31
Second Practice Session: 1:18.455, Position: 1, Laps: 32
“I can’t complain with that day after topping both sessions, it’s nice. We obviously brought some updates here and they seem to be working, I definitely feel like we have found some grip in various areas and taken a step in the right direction. We know this track usually suits us so it was important to come here and extract everything we could out of the car and make sure the updates did their job which in turn can allow us to fight with the guys up front. Being top of the timesheets is always nice but we were able to replicate that pace in the long runs which gives me confidence looking ahead to the rest of the weekend and achieving a solid result in Qualifying tomorrow. Ferrari seemed to find a bit more pace in the afternoon but I still managed to stay ahead so all signs are good. I’m sure the other teams will bring a bit more tomorrow, but I also think we have a bit more to find. If we can put it all together it could be a really positive Qualifying. I have a car I am comfortable with and I’m at a track I enjoy so it will be an exciting weekend, drive fast and put it all together in Q3, that’s the plan.”
First Practice session: 1:19.162, Position: 4, Laps: 27
Second Practice Session: 1:18.951, Position: 6, Laps: 25
“From my side in the beginning it was a bit difficult today and I was struggling with the balance. We changed quite a lot of things on the car and by the end of the second practice it was actually feeling quite ok. On the Supersoft tyre it was all coming together but I struggled to get a clean lap because of the red and yellow flags. I went out again when everyone was doing long runs and the sector times were fine so we are up there and it’s looking good. I’m finally feeling good in the car at the end of a practice session so I think we can work from here. In qualifying Mercedes will of course turn up the power so I think we still need to find a bit of pace to really fight them, but it’s all looking a lot better than previous races.”
R&R = Risk and Relaxation
It’s Hungary, which, last season’s wonky schedule excepted, means that we’re just a couple of days away from the summer break, when the majority of us get the chance to throttle back and relax a bit. That’s probably a bit boring for the drivers though, so to cater for their adrenaline addiction we’d like to offer them a few more extreme holidays, the sort of low-stress breaks every self-respecting thrill junkie needs in his life…
1. World’s edgiest hotel – The Skylodge Adventure Suites in Peru’s Sacred Valley near Cuzco offer you the chance to sleep in a completely transparent hanging bedroom. So far, so boring, right, though some curtains might be nice. The extreme bit is that the transparent cocoons are suspended 400m up a sheer cliff face. To get to the pods you have to climb up the cliff using a via ferrata, a steel cable running along the route. This includes a hanging bridge: two parallel chords – one for feet, the other for hands – that require a leap of faith into a vertical position before shimmying over an abyss. Once inside, the pods feature all mod cons and the transparent walls provide breathtaking views of the Sacred Valley.
2. World’s deepest holiday destination – How about a course in free diving at the world’s deepest swimming pool. The Y40 pool, known as ‘The Deep Joy’, is 40m (131ft) deep, the equivalent of a 14-storey building. The pool, opened in 2014 and designed by architect Emanuele Boaretto, sits inside the Hotel Millepini Terme in Montegrotto Terme, a small Italian commune near Venice. And yes, you can learn to free dive there – free diving being the art of diving to extreme depths without breathing apparatus. A basic course will teach you how to hold your breath long enough to swim down to 15m (50ft) while the advanced PADI course will help you make it to 24m (almost 80ft).
3. World’s craziest animal encounter – Bored by being chased by bears? Tired of running the bulls in Pamplona? Then how about this: swimming with sharks – without a cage. Bizarrely, plenty of places offer the experience, with the Protea Banks off the East Coast of South Africa (Kwazulu Natal) in particular being a world-renowned shark-diving reef. Agencies there will happily take you out and let you interact with the reef’s shark species, which include Ragged-tooth, Zambezi, Hammerheads, Tigers, and the occasional Great White! Mexico’s Guadalupe Island is also a renowned spot for diving with sharks and one agency offers divers the opportunity to see Great Whites from ‘double-decker’ cages that allow them to “venture onto the upper deck and outside the bars to truly go face-to-face with Great Whites”. The site adds that it is “an unforgettable rush when a Great White looks at you and then swims over for a very close look!”
4. World’s most remote island getaway – Forget the Maldives or Fiji… forget, even, a trip to Easter Island. If you want to truly get away from it all then consider holidaying on Tristan da Cunha, the world’s most remote inhabited island. The nearest speck of land, St Helena, is a whopping 2430km away, and it’s over 2800km to the nearest continent, Africa. The entire population of some 300 inhabitants is concentrated on the only flat bit of this volcanic landmass, in the tiny hamlet of Edinburgh of the Seven Seas on the main island of the little archipelago. Good news though: you can travel there, but it’s not easy. There’s no airstrip, but you can go by sea. It takes five to six days to travel the 2810 kilometres from Cape Town and several polar research ships and fishing vessels ply the route. Return tickets are between US$800-$1300. A clue to the remoteness of the archipelago lies in the name of one of the larger landmasses in the group – Inaccessible Island. Things to do and buy? Not much, really. There is a sole pub, The Albatross, open for just a few hours a day and a shop selling everything from basic supplies to homemade crisps (Tristanians are rightly proud of their potato crop) and hand-knitted Tristan beanies. Have fun!
5. World’s most extreme holiday (official) – all of the above are a walk in the park compared to the really extreme summer break trip: taking a screaming horde of children to a coastal resort in high season, when the costs are exorbitant, the crowds unbearable and the tantrums more volcanic than that of a senior driver after being outqualified by his junior team-mate. Enjoy the break!