Start the clock.
Time is actually a relatively exact science, and nowhere is that more keenly felt than on a race track. Fractions of seconds, discernible only with the help of high-tech gadgetry, draw the line between victory and defeat, triumph and disaster. But what precisely happens in that hour before the lights above the grid go out? The final 60 minutes leading up to a race are something of a paradox – not enough time and yet too much. The seconds can pass at a tortuous plod but equally run through your hands like water. The meticulously measured world of Formula 1 appears to keep a different time to our internal clocks. The minutes are ticking down to this year’s Australian Grand Prix, but there’s no sign of stage fright on the face of Nico Rosberg. “Not after 128 F1 races,” says the Mercedes man with a shrug of the shoulders.
Right now there are 80 minutes to go before the race, and Rosberg has just made his way back from the drivers’ parade, which sees the Formula 1 stars greet the “ordinary mortals” in the stands.