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Billy on the Boz: Planes, rains and a lot of hot air

My regular reader will know that I'm not a huge fan of F1 (I know what the ‘F' stands for) but I was willing to give it another go as current opinion suggested that it was shaping up to be the best championship ever. Well, according to the BBC at least.

I would argue otherwise having just awoken from the coma that I had fallen into after the first race of the season, but I am a fair-minded chap and so it was off to Shanghai hoping that Jenson, Lewis and the boys could surprise me.

The opening certainly did, Jake Humphreys introducing a weird piece on Sebastien Vettel's (pictured) worrying trait of naming his cars after women, including Kate's dirty sister and this year's model, luscious Liz. Hot air getting in somewhere, and not just ducts.

“Sebastien showing the rewards you can reap if you treat your lady with respect,” is the formula for a winning relationship, according to Jake. All well and good until she prangs your big end.

Back to hot air and the volcanic eruption had grounded Eddie Jordan in London, so not all bad from it then, but Martin Brundle had made it and was wandering around like a threatening cloud in the pit lane, this time probing McLaren's F-duct. Nasty.

Then it started to lash, weather for ducks, or ducts depending on your personal persuasions, and Jake promised us, after an hour of build-up, that ‘it's shaping up to be exciting.'

And then we were off and a lap later they slowed down as the safety car came out to signal the start of the world tyre-changing championships.

I can't take this much excitement, Jake.

There would have been less wheel-based shenanigans if Boadicea had popped out in her chariot and wreaked absolute havoc in Tesco's car park and if I wanted to watch two hours of men in boiler suits humping Bridgestones about I'd just nip down to Kwik Fit for the morning.

In the end, Jenson won again and there were concerns that the ash cloud could leave F1 stranded in China.

Any chance that second volcano in Iceland could start bubbling?

Still, while Sebastien had the joy of six with Liz, there were at least some Red Bull competitors defying the volcano by roaring into the skies in their magnificent flying machines.

Both Five and Sky show the Red Bull Air Race World Championships and I was sceptical but with people beginning to point at the heavens like Fred Flintstone and wondering where all the big silver birds had gone to, I just wanted to ensure that flight was still possible.

“It's all about speed, precision and exceptional talent,” was the proud boast, as 15 men in wee planes took to the skies of Abu Dhabi but sadly the chance to say ‘Abu Dhabi flew' was passed by.

And we were off, buzzing around at 300mph about 20 feet above the harbour.

Health and safety would never pass this in Larne, then again, the flotilla of people fleeing in Falklands-like fashion would stop any planes from taking a dip.

It's all a bit mad, pilots weaving their way through giant inflatable traffic cones, only to be disqualified by a judge sitting with a protractor working out the angle they came in at was a degree or two out.

But like in China there was a British one-two, Paul Bonhomme edging out Nigel Lamb, and not a spare tyre or wing needed anywhere.

Belfast Telegraph