Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Billy on the Box: Big, hairy and scary at the Brazilian GP

Mark Webber reacts to the news that the F1 season is over

You knew it was going to be one of those days on Formula One when the first thing Sebastian Vettel promised to do after the Brazilian Grand Prix was have a close shave. Please, stop sniggering at the back.

The wacky German turned up on BBC1’s swansong modelling the sort of face topiary on his upper lip that we haven’t seen since Nigel Mansell’s day and it led to all sorts of merry japes with Eddie Jordan.

“How do you now come down off this madness?,” asked Eddie, clearly looking for company over the winter, to be told ‘well, first I shave the moustache.’ Yes, yes, it’s an hilarious prank but don’t labour the point.

Then again it’s a question he could have asked Eddie and Jake Humphrey as Brazil marked the end of the Beeb’s exclusive rights to show F1 live with Sky moving in, and if you looked closely you could see ‘For Hire’ written on their shirts.

Mind you, when we cut to Martin Brundle’s final pit walk he was clearly wearing a number that said ‘I went to Brazil and all I got was this lousy T-shirt — and a big, fat contract from Sky’.

He’s off and it’ll be interesting to see who he’ll join but knowing Sky it could well mean petrol head Georgie Thompson prancing up and down in skimpy clothing on the pits and I don’t think anyone wants that.

I’ll record it just in case

Back to Jake and through the tears of knowing he’ll only be on half as much next year, there were attempts at laughter.

“We all know what a Golden Globe looks like, an Oscar looks like, what a BAFTA looks like, but this is what everyone wants to get their hands on,” he said as he held up a Sky viewing card.

Okay, not really, it was a wee plastic trophy handed out for various categories, including Best Paddock Wow, which led David Coulthard to invite Eddie to put his hand in his pocket. I know it’s the end of year party, but this is Sunday afternoon on BBC1, there’s a time and a place.

Phew, it was a prize for Eddie’s shirts and well merited but savour being first as it lasts but a fleeting second as a late entry for paddock wow stole the show.

Jake and Eddie were joined by Sugarloaf Mountain in a pair of shorts, but on closer inspection it turned out to be footy legend, Ronaldo, who has been munching on a few corned beef sandwiches since he quit the game.

He was joined by son, Alex, who was less than impressed with the day’s proceedings, when he interrupted Jake in full gushing praise of Rotundo to blurt out ‘can we just go home now?’

Undeterred Jake seized the moment, hunkered down and told Alex, ‘there’s a wonderful Grand Prix about to happen, are you not excited about the race?’ A pause, a shake of the head and ‘no’ and with that they were gone.

Alex knew more than the rest as the final ‘race’ of the season was like the others, dominated by Vettel, whose ‘dodgy’ gearbox meant he had to allow Mark Webber to get past but thankfully was good enough to keep everyone else at bay for about 60 laps.

And with that it was over, Brundle clearly briefed not to mention that he was off, just signing off with Coulthard saying ‘it’s been great working with you in the commentary box’ while his co-commentator was on with his agent looking to reclaim his role as Kryten in Red Dwarf.

There’s still the repeat fees, don’t worry David and as Jake told us you still have 10 live races and all the highlights for next season to look forward to. Don’t you dare shake your head and ask to go home in a huff.

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