I’m not sure we’ve ever had a unanimous vote before, how exciting!
I hear ya!
Mitch brought the car in, stopping perfectly inside the Mortimer GP pit box. He was hoisted up on jacks, the crew changed his tyres, and out of the corner of his eye he spotted an extra mechanic having a closer look at the rear end of the car. It felt like he was stationery for hours, but in reality it was about ten seconds - longer than a pit stop should normally take, but not so long that he would lose the lead.
As he felt the car start to lower again, Mitch focused his attention on the lollipop resting just in front of him. It flipped over, and then it lifted, and the instant it began to rise, Mitch was on it, zipping back out into the pitlane, and heading towards the exit.
“Good job,” Pierre said.
“Sorted?” Mitch asked, but barely heard the response. He was at the pitlane exit, crossing the line, and up to full speed. Keeping the car firmly inside the white line, he braced himself for the first corner turn. Gliding around the ever-tightening circles at Shanghai, Mitch spotted a car rapidly approaching him. Out of nowhere, it appeared on his right, cutting across the gravel, and before he knew what had happened, he had been pushed off track.
The momentum kept them both going, bouncing across the trap, stones springing up into the air and showering onto them. Mitch felt them hit his helmet, and looked across to see who had lost control of their car. He couldn’t make out the driver amongst the dust that had sprung up, and before he had time to think anymore, they came up against the barriers with a massive bump.
“Safety Car,” came the message over Mason’s radio.
“Mitch is out.”
“Of the race? He was leading!”
But Mason soon saw the incident for himself. A few seconds further ahead, the Safety Car was waiting for him at the end of the pitlane. He reduced his speed, and watched as the train of cars gathered behind him. They took the first corner slowly, and Mason glanced to his right. A tangle of carbon fibre was pushed up against the barriers, a crowd of marshals working to make sense of the mess, and the medical car just arriving.
Then they were past, and Mason had an entire lap to complete before he could take another look.
“Is he alright?” Melissa shouted. Pierre shrugged. The world feed was showing them images of the two cars being separated, and the medical team were getting to the drivers. A marshal stepped into shot, covering the screen in orange.
“Move!” Pierre yelled, gesturing at the monitors.
Eventually, the screen cleared, and both Melissa and Pierre breathed a sigh of relief. Mitch was climbing from the car, one thumb up to the crowds and the camera.
“Good,” Mason replied, betraying no emotion. “What’s the plan now?”
“You’re leading. The plan is to win.”
Melissa stepped out from the shade of the medical centre into the bright sunshine, surveying the waiting journalists. A sea of microphones and cameras swung in her direction, notepads were opened, pens poised.
She cleared her throat. “Mitch is fine,” she said. “He took quite a knock and may have concussion. No other serious injuries.”
“Does he know what happened?” a voice called out.
“We’ve all seen the replays,” Melissa said, “Mitch can add nothing to what’s there for everyone to see. It was a separate collision that sent Leroy’s car directly into ours. Mitch was just a passenger.”
“Is Leroy okay?” another voice.
“As far as I know, he’s okay.” Melissa offered a half-smile. “It turns out Mortimer cars make great cushions.”
The media scrum chuckled, and Melissa excused herself, returning to the sanctuary of the medical centre.
“There he is,” Mason said, as Mitch walked into the motorhome.
Mitch shrugged. “Headache. I hear congratulations are in order. You nicked my victory.”
“We won the race for you,” Mason smiled, proudly, clapping his teammate on the back. “Now we’re thinking about a bit of a celebration. Want to join in?”
“‘Sposed to be resting,” Mitch said.
“Yea, but you can rest later. Just a bit of a thank you to the guys after such a tough day. Come on, what do you say?”