Chris Evans at the British GP

TV star and F1 fan Chris Evans had an enjoyable day out at the British GP, and was delighted to see new pal Jenson Button make the points. Adam Cooper spoke to him

Chris Evans at the British GP

There seemed to be dozens of celebrities milling around the paddock and at Silverstone, but none was excited to be there as Chris Evans. A genuine racing fan, he has had Eddie Irvine and Jenson Button on his TFI Friday in recent months, and he follows the series with great interest. He'd been to the British GP before, but not for quite a few years. Since then his fame has snowballed, and as a VIP guest of Jordan, Chris was present as a privileged insider, getting the ultimate close up view of the action.

On the grid he stood in front of Heinz Harald Frentzen's car with a grin spread right across his face.

"This is too exciting," he beamed. "This is the most exciting thing I've ever done! I didn't know I was going to be here until about five minutes ago some bloke said do you want to go on the grid? I said, Y-e-a-h! So we're here now. But I can't believe how relaxed and casual it all is. I'm excited, but everybody else is quite cool about the whole thing."

Evans is a real fan, unlike some of the celebs who turn up for a first time look at the F1 world. And yet he is rarely seen at the tracks.

"I love it, but I haven't been for ages. I don't know why - maybe I got too blasé about it. And the longer you leave it the more you get excited about it. But what a great day. This is totally unexpected."

The big question any F1 fan has to answer is McLaren or Ferrari, Hakkinen or Schumacher?

"I came here in one of the Italian cars this morning. I put it up against the kerb, which wasn't good, on the first corner outside my house! But Eddie Jordan's a good old mate, so I'm all the way behind my team today. And I'm looking out for Jenson as well."

And what about Jaguar?

"Well, I'm not excited about them yet. They've got to get some history going..."

A couple of hours later Chris was back in the paddock, and he was still buzzing after getting a close up view of the action.

"I did enjoy it. I was in the Jordan pit for the pit stops, and that was fantastic. At one point we thought Heinz had a chance of winning it - but he didn't! So for the first 20 laps it was edge of the seat stuff, and after that it was an anti-climax."

From the Jordan garage he had a privileged view of the pit stops.

"Unbelievable! There's a deafening quiet for the two or three laps beforehand, and then in they come. You think, 'I shouldn't be in here, I'm intruding,' and they say, 'No you're alright, just stay in the corner.' And then off they go. It was fantastic - Coulthard winning, Button getting two points. It was a great day, and the rain stayed away. It was a very good GP, very exciting."

And what about the prospect of sitting in a traffic jam for a few hours?

"No, I'm oblivious to that. Even if I get in one I don't care."

However, the journey home gave him time to contemplate his next trip to garage. Even for a millionaire, replacing a bent alloy wheel on a Ferrari is no fun...

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