Belfast Telegraph

Drama on the track branded 'a pure racing incident'

By Billy Weir

Remember after the summer holidays you would come back and hope sprang eternal that your chums would still be your chums and that the boy who you had never quite clicked with would turn out to be your bestest buddy?

It was probably the same when Mr Hamilton dropped off wee Lewis at the gates of Spa on Sunday morning – who knew Ballynahinch had a Grand Prix track – as the autumn term of racing, or crashing, got under way.

Nico, son of Mr Rosberg, or Keke's wee lad as he's known, had been a tad boisterous earlier in the season, but, hopefully, with a nice break behind him he'll have calmed down and the two Mercedes pals' friendship would blossom.

Eddie Jordan, part idealist, part soothsayer, knew the score as he was asked to narrate a typically convoluted introduction by the BBC, who were naturally excited as the Belgian Grand Prix is one they're allowed to cover live.

"Friends and now foes, cat and dog, scratch and snarl, finger flicking mastery of the new breed – drama we've been yearning for, so to part two of the season of change," he said, not realising that Nico had spent the summer practising on the dodgems at Barrys.

Even before Rosberg had decided to accidentally crash into Hamilton, the enmity between the pair had another duelling duo, Jordan and David Coulthard, unsheathing their verbal weapons in the pits.

"This is a big story about team orders, I don't believe a word of it," began Eddie.

"I don't believe there will be team orders – there might be instructions," retorted DC and we wondered how that was different. Wonder not for long.

"When my wife gives me an order, I jump to attention. When she gives me a polite direction, I think that's optional," he added.

"Not in my household," concluded Eddie as we had visions of him going home in Andy Capp fashion and being instructed with the aid of a rolling pin.

And as the cars revved on the grid, Eddie roared one last time, beseeching the overlords of the overalls that 'we want to see drama, we don't want to see a procession, we want to see high excitement.'

In fairness, we did, for one and a bit laps, where there was some great overtaking and then not overtaking when Nico accidentally had an accident, prompting a pained yelp over the radio from Lewis of 'Nico hit me, he's hit me' although he didn't go on to scweam and scweam and scweam.

"A pure racing incident," Coulthard insisted in the commentary box, as Mr Hamilton prowled the pits looking for Mr Rosberg to talk to him about the pure racing incident.

Lewis ploughed on manfully, eventually being allowed to retire, and Nico came second behind some Aussie bloke who was probably more cheesed off at there having been a bit of a blue and not being involved than anyone actually remembering he won the race.

"There's a pretty negative reaction to Nico Rosberg picking up the trophy," said commentator Ben Edwards, which didn't go down well with Eddie, who had appeared on stage to interview the podium people.

"Come on guys, steady up, steady, steady, Nico drove an incredibly good race," he said, although I had to look up in case Eddie was actually in charge of a cart being pulled by three goats.

His words fell on deaf ears as more boos rang out than at a Scooby Doo convention.

"Hey hey, come on, come on," said Eddie, or was it Mrs Doyle? "That's not fair, he's driven his heart out, like everyone on the grid."

But, in the words of Ronan Keating, sometimes you say it best when you say nothing at all, as Mercedes manager Toto Wolff was told by pit interviewer Tom Clarkson that 'Nico came out to some boos there' met with silence, a barely discernible raising of one eyebrow and a slight nervous twitch.

"Let's talk about the race then," began Tom, who was afraid of the big bad Wolff, and back came 'absolutely unacceptable, absolutely unacceptable. You try to overtake with the, how you say, the knife between your teeth on lap number two," he said, as we all remembered that old saying.

"How are you going to be handle this situation?," asked a Clarkson now more nervous that one up in front of the Broadcasting Complaints Authority.

"It's going to be handled," growled the Wolff menacingly as we envisaged a small blonde chap in overalls being bundled into the boot of the Mercedes bound for the Black Forest.

Back in the pits and the rows were still going on, a Jordan not so irked since Peter Andre insisted on singing Mysterious Girl in the bath, as Coulthard baulked at the suggestion team orders would have sorted all this out.

"You're taking the racer out of the racer," he whined.

"I'm sorry, this is not a sport for racing drivers, this is a sport for everyone and it's the team who employ these people," he said, thus reminding us why it's not really a sport at all and just a big advertising exercise.

"It means war, that's sadly what's happened and a war situation has possibly been declared," said neutral Jordan.

Don't be silly, a German and an Englishman squabbling needlessly over a piece of land in Belgium – there's absolutely no precedent for a war footing there.

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