25 AUGUST 2017
BELGIAN GP – FRIDAY PRACTICE
First Practice session: 1:46.302, Position: 4, Laps: 18
Second Practice Session: 1:45.225, Position: 4, Laps: 16
“An OK first day back here at Spa but nothing special. Between Daniel and myself we tried a few set-ups to improve speed on the straights, it’s somewhere we need to improve in order to fight so we are trying to find a good compromise. At the moment we don’t seem too far off the two top teams but it is only Friday, I’m sure it will be a different gap tomorrow. It’s hard here to find the set-up to be competitive on the straights but also balanced in the corners, we will make some steps in the right direction tonight, hopefully. In the dry I think we will be the solid third team like we have seen so far this season. Although it’s raining at the moment I don’t think there is much more forecast. This is a shame as it would definitely help us; fingers crossed we get a bit more for the race. There is already a lot of orange to be seen in the crowd and it’s only Friday, I’m expecting to see a lot more tomorrow and Sunday which is really great and nice to see so many fans supporting me, it always helps come race day.”
First Practice Session: 1:46.352 Position: 5, Laps: 22
Second Practice Session: 1:46.072, Position: 6, Laps: 15
“This track is always a bit of a compromise. The first and third sector is very fast and in the second sector you need the downforce. I tried to be quick in the first and third part, but the compromise wasn’t good enough. I still lost too much in the second sector. Yes there was some traffic as well and without that I could’ve probably gone a few tenths quicker but it still wouldn’t have put me in the Top 5. For sure we won’t keep the same set-up tomorrow. Whether we’ll go in Max’s direction or try to find a better compromise between the two we’ll see, but we’ll definitely be stronger tomorrow. The objective is not to lose too much time on the straights. For tomorrow it would be good if it was dry, because I’d like to try the ideal set-up and see how much potential we have.”
Raid the Netherlands!
The other day in the ever trustworthy, carefully fact-checked and always accurate Fake News section of our website, we reported that the Netherlands is officially empty, with almost every living soul currently in a caravan or a grandstand at Spa-Francorchamps. What does that mean? Simple, it means that there’s no one keeping watch and the whole place is pretty much up for grabs. But is there anything worth purloining? Don’t be silly, of course there is…
An obvious choice but also probably the most valuable. Vincent Van Gogh’s most widely known painting is actually a series of paints (five are known to exist) and a repetition of the fourth in the series hangs in Amsterdam’s Van Gogh museum. According to Martin Bailey, author of Studios of the South: Van Gogh in Provence, the Sunflowers series are almost priceless though he estimates the open market value of any to be at £100m plus. The version in Amsterdam, featuring a yellow background, was painted in 1889 while van Gogh was living in Arles, just a month after he cut off his ear.
- Nice racks
Every home needs an instrument of torture; especially if you’re involved in delicate negotiations around driver contracts, engine deals or revenue distribution. Have no fear; Holland can help. While most people flock to the big guns of Amsterdam’s 400+ museums and art galleries, such as the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk Museum, the city also serves a load of, shall we say, more obscure interests such as cats, sex and bizarre pathological specimens. The oddest, though, might be the Museum of Torture. Here you could pop in and take home a nice medieval rack. If you don’t know what a rack is, it’s a wooden frame with a roller at one or both ends. The victim’s ankles are fastened to one roller and the wrists are chained to the other. The roller increases the tension, result in popping joints and snapping cartilage, ligaments or bones. See, you can get your star driver to sign away those image rights.
- A diamond in the rough
Amsterdam is a famous as something of a clearing house for diamonds and there are hundreds of gem specialists in the city, all dealing in some very, very expensive sparklers. However, a solid bet for your Netherlands raid might be the world’s largest uncut diamond, which is currently on display at famed Amsterdam diamond factory, Royal Coster Diamonds, Europe’s oldest diamond factory and famous for polishing the world famous Koh-I-Noor diamond, part of England’s crown jewels. The Lucullan diamond was dug up in Zaire and weighs in at a monstrous 181 carats. As a frame of reference in 2015 a ‘flawless’ 100-carat diamond was sold at auction for $22.1m. It took about a year to be cut into shape after it was mined in South Africa and originally weighed more than 200 carats. So once cut, you 181 carat Lucullan could be worth in the region of $20m.
4 Nick some cows
Little known fact, but Holstein Friesian cows, originally from the Netherlands are the world’s highest dairy producers. Yes, get a good Holstein and you’ll swimming in milk forever. Now, you might think that’s a bit dull, but what if we told you that the highest price ever paid for a cow was for a Holstein. Can’t have been much, right? It’s only a cow, after all. Not so. In 2009, Holstein Missy, from Canada, became the then most expensive cow in the world when she was auctioned for $1.2 million. Why was she so expensive? Three reasons: Perfect udders (according to Popular Mechanics, which actually investigated this, the preferred width is at least eight inches), and perfect legs. “The width between Missy’s rear legs is important because it allows room for the udder.” Prairie Farm and Ranch magazine called the three-year-old Holstein “the Gisele Bundchen of cattle”. Now you know. There are plenty of expert Holstein breeders and embryos dealers in the breed’s country of origin, so help yourself to a few eggs and make a million or two.