Pit Chat: ‘Renault party mode? More like pre-drinks’

Date published: July 4 2018

Christian Horner continues to aim digs at Renault, Paris Hilton gets a history lesson and McLaren fans turn out in their thousands at the Red Bull Ring.

The Austrian Grand Prix build-up got off to a great start with a wonderful reconstruction of a drivers’ briefing from last season when Felipe Massa stirred some sh*t with Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez.

How we wish those subtitles were real.

Guess who’s back?

We had not seen a certain ex-Formula 1 owner for quite some time. But, lo and behold, Bernie Ecclestone was back in Austria over the weekend. That disguise is fooling nobody, Bernie.

Either that or Damon Hill has been passing on some facial hair grooming advice.

And you have to begrudgingly admire the persistent stubbornness to stay loyal to his brand of Formula 1. Look at him sneakily resurrecting the old logo…

Razor sharp

Bernie is not the only one known for a sharp tongue, with Red Bull boss Christian Horner continuing to provide the soundbites after his savage response to a question about Renault the previous weekend in France.

He picked up where he left off…

On Sainz…

“Sainz will stay at Renault… unless Cyril misbehaves in which case weโ€™ll bring him back and send him to McLaren.”

On whether it is awkward with Renault now that they will be going their separate ways…

“Itโ€™s a bit like Love Island. Thereโ€™s a lot of chopping and changing going on.”

And the absolute best of the lot…

Channel 4 to Horner: “Howโ€™s the Party Mode working out?”

Horner: “Itโ€™s more like a pre-drinks mode.”

One of the lines of the season right there.

But Renault’s engine does have a party mode after all. Nico Hulkenberg switched it to ’90’s rave’ in the early stages of Sunday’s race.

The Red Bull Spy was also on good form as well…

Unfinished business

Someone else not finished with the jokes is Robert Kubica. Fresh from saying Williams’ biggest upgrade in France was the team shirts. He then had this to say in Austria…

Asked after his FP1 session what he felt was the car’s strongest trait, he told ESPN: “Engine. Power unit.”

Pressed as to whether that was ‘it’, he replied: “You asked for one!? Livery is nice, colours are nice…”

At least someone is smiling at Williams and at least that someone is Robert.

He is also very quick, smashing the sub-one minute lap time at the Red Bull Ring.

Getting risky

There was a slightly surreal cutaway from the action during qualifying when deputy team principal Claire Williams popped up looking at something on her phone.

Here is what we can make out from the e-mail…

Subject: Team Kit

Message: Hi Paul,

Claire or Paddy may have mentioned this, but as an engineer you need to be wearing shirt and trousers, not shorts and t-shirt, especially if you are sat on the pit wall. Thanks.

But we much prefer this version of events…

Kimi corner

Love him or ready to see him retire, you cannot deny Kimi Raikkonen is still good value.

Poor Martin Brundle trying to get a word from him on his grid walk…

It turns out all you need to do to get Kimi to open up a little is to swear at him. Look at how quickly the interview changes tone when the ‘Ice Man’ was interviewed by Dutch TV.

We got very excited when Raikkonen threaded the eye of a needle to get in between the two Mercedes at the start…only to then find himself back down to P4 before the first short lap had even finished.

Our reaction was pretty much this…

After you…no after you…

The popcorn was out long before the race, though. Those radio messages with Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were really something, weren’t they?

Ricciardo finally got a tow, on his birthday no less, sadly not the tow he was looking for.

We did get to see Ricciardo’s humorous side, though, in the Drivers’ Press Conference…

Busted

When you pull a sicky at work and then spot yourself on TV…

She was one of very few Red Bull fans in Austria over the weekend. With the Red Bull Ring completely taken over by McLaren fans.

Isn’t that right, Fernando?

Lots of support for @svandoorne and orange @mclaren โ˜บ๏ธ

A post shared by Fernando Alonso (@fernandoalo_oficial) on

When in Austria…

Verstappen and Ricciardo certainly looked the part on race day…

But Lewis Hamilton wasn’t having any of it…

Are you sure about that, Lewis?!

Any other business

Always good to see the young drivers setting an example…

Safety first boys and girls… ๐Ÿ˜‡ #halolife #trackwalkcycle #halosaveslifes

A post shared by Lando Norris (@landonorris) on

Paris Hilton gets an unexpected history lesson…

And F2 driver Artem Markelov upstaged the whole Formula 1 grid with this stunning triple overtake…

Last word

Step forward Anthony Davidson on Sky Sports…

Crofty: “Ant, what would you do next year if you were Fernando Alonso?”
Ant: “I’d give Davidson his seat back at Toyota.”

Next stop: Silverstone.