Ryanair check-ins are hardly the most glamorous of travel experiences, but the departure lounge at Bergamo airport on Sunday night after the Italian GP was very much like an F1 paddock, with Ross Brawn, Nick Fry and the rest of the Brawn GP squad heading home to Luton in what we love to call, if not experience, ‘down the back of the bus.’
Anthony Hamilton, Lewis’s dad, was also there along with some of the BBC F1 commentary team, so there was plenty of chat and gossip about the Barrichello-Button one-two at the autodrome and Lewis’s last lap shunt, when he pressed a touch too hard almost within sight of the chequered flag.
It may be coming up to three years since Ross left Ferrari, but he’s still a great star in Italy and there was an endless queue of adoring fans coming up to be photographed with him, including one young lady who bought her bouncing baby to be snapped in the arms of the former Maranello technical director!
Ferrari may have had a bit of a bum day with the Kimster trailing home an outpaced third in the team’s home race, but I just love the unbridled five-star passion which the Italians focus on their cars and their motor racing.
I even managed to join in the spirit of things by snatching a lift in a Ferrari California which had been borrowed for the weekend by the Times motor racing correspondent Ed Gorman. Only shame was I couldn’t persuade Ed to relinquish his place behind the wheel. Lovely stuff!
Oh yes, and as a PS, I was intrigued to hear over the Monza weekend that some F1 big wheels had been encouraging Sir Jackie Stewart to run as a potential candidate for the FIA presidency.
Jackie, who clinched his first world championship with a win at Monza in the Tyrrell Matra MS80 some 40 years ago, wasn’t interested. Wise man; he had enough of convoluted politics as president of the BRDC a few years back.
But the fact he was asked surely suggests that the Jean Todt camp may be getting rattled as we start the countdown to the FIA presidential election on October 23.