Spa-Francorchamps is a tiring place to work. It's vast, it's hilly, and I wouldn't have it any other way. But with temperatures nudging the mid-30s through Thursday and Friday morning, it was rather energy-sapping.
To see anything worthwhile you have to walk a long way at Spa. The media centre offers hardly any view of the track (thanks, Herr Tilke), Eau Rouge is a bit of a nonentity for Formula 3 cars these days - easy-flat, although there are various degrees of kerb usage at the top of Raidillon. Instead, you have to go to Les Combes or Rivage (if you've got a bike), Pouhon or Fagnes if you haven't.
Even Pouhon has become slightly emasculated, acres of Tarmac run-off meaning you can work down to the limit rather than gradually build up to it, taking away one of the vital skills of being a racing driver. But there are some interesting takes on getting around.
The Spa weekend gives us the best field of the F3 season to date, with 29 cars from the British and FIA European championships doing battle. Jack Harvey, despite losing most of first free practice to an injector problem, is instantly impressive at Pouhon, right-side wheels well over the kerb before turn-in, and the car three-quarters over the outer kerb halfway round the curve. Felix Serralles and Hannes van Asseldonk are really attacking it, their Dallaras wriggling around after the first apex, Serralles hanging on and enjoying the ride but van Asseldonk looking a touch lairy as the moment goes on for longer.
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Marcus Simmons is the deputy editor of Autosport magazine. As a child he was a regular on the chalk banks of Thruxton, before becoming an MSA timekeeper at the age of 17. Shortly afterwards, he started reporting for Motoring News and joined the staff in 1990.
After abandoning a parallel Formula First career – which had been as incident-packed as his childhood equestrian exploits – he moved to Autosport in 1996. Since then he has had two stints as a freelance and a brief spell as editor of Motor Sport magazine, during which the revered green cover was revived, before rejoining Autosport in 2008. He lives in Twickenham with his partner, two daughters, cat and guitars.