drive to survive on Netflix

Drive to Survive – Episode 1

Despite being badgered and harangued by all and sundry, I have finally found an opportunity to settle in and watch this. Not that it didn’t cost me a pizza and a bottle of wine to be left alone for an hour, but it was definitely worth it.

Like any good documentary, it is the human element that catches the attention so readily. Its easy to sit at home and chuckle away when an overpaid driver bins it into a corner and takes out two other formula one cars. And then punts it into a wall under a safety car. But that formula one car required a support crew of 212 individuals, none of whom are there to take their pay cheques and put their feet up each night. My stomach churned particularly hard when the Haas F1 mechanic was trying to explain to his boss why he hadn’t tightened up a wheel nut that had put them out of the race. “I was tired and we haven’t had enough practice” are excuses that would normally get a raised eyebrow. Or a formal warning. But this was a guy who had a) done a 20 hour flight a few days before, b) had probably pulled a handful of all-nighters in the lead-up, and c) is probably supporting his family on about £30k a year. He looked like he’d just cried and, in that situation, I think I would have done too.

It certainly reminded me how sensitive I could be in my younger years when, against most peoples advice, I believed I was a contender. Could I have been? No. Did I behave like one? Yes. Tears, tantrums and elation are part and parcel of elite sport. Be that the mechanics, the drivers, or the team bosses. They are all there to do one thing, race. So when you see the smiles of Daniel Ricciardo after putting his car where it doesn’t belong, sometimes you realise that the tears of an epic screw-up are sometimes worth it.