Sunday evening, late. I was back from the Nurburgring, but it was going to be a long night, for the Indianapolis 500 had recently ended. No, I didn't want to know who'd won, thank you very much. Large scotch, and start the video.
In fact, given what had happened in the European Grand Prix, it was an appropriate moment to be watching Indy. On the flight home, I'd been thinking about Eddie Sachs.
Sachs was a man obsessed with the Indy 500. In love with it. Every year the pageantry, the build-up, would get to him, the singing of 'Back Home Again In Indiana' reduce him to tears. Everything in his life was dedicated to winning this one race.
He came closest in 1961. It was the era of the 'roadsters', front-engined cars of great elegance and muscle, and in his Dean Van Lines Special Sachs took the pole, and led much of the race, which distilled to a fight between himself and a young AJ Foyt. The final pit stops would be crucial. Sachs came in first, and the stop was copybook, but Foyt's was even quicker, and soon he retook the lead with ease.
Too much ease, as it turned out. AJ's car was suddenly much faster than Sachs's for the very good reason that it was way lighter. They hung a pitboard out to him: 'AJ Fuel low'. A malfunction in the rig meant nothing like the full amount had gone in. On lap 184, with 16 to the flag, Foyt came in again, and Sachs, now with a 25-second lead, looked home free. Not so.
With four laps left, he felt his car twitch and a glance at the right rear tyre told him why. Back then, race tyres at Indy had a layer of white rubber beneath the tread rubber, and when you saw that the tyre was not long for this world. Eddie's right rear was 'through to the white'.
What to do? At the end of lap 197, Sachs came in, and his crew changed the offending wheel. As he took off again, a frustrated mechanic hurled a wheel hammer at the back of the car. And Foyt screamed by into the lead once more.
In the end Sachs lost the race by eight seconds. "I'd rather finish up second than dead," he said, and it was a fact that in those days the consequence of blowing a tyre, of hitting the wall at 170mph in a car devoid of any deformable structure, was all too easily fatal.
One USAC old-timer told me long ago he had a theory about Eddie's decision that day. "The Indy 500 was his whole life," he said, "and here he was, about to win it at last. He'd told me that if he ever did, he'd quit racing immediately. And you know what? I always wondered if a part of him didn't want to win it - because then his life would have no purpose. Coming up just short, finishing second, gave him a reason to come back..."
I wouldn't know about that. But Sachs did go back to the Speedway in 1962, and finished third. In 1963 he retired late on, and in '64 was killed in a multiple accident on the first lap.
After Sunday's race at the Nurburgring, plenty of people - with the benefit of hindsight - were saying that Kimi Raikkonen should have come in. All right, tyre changing is no longer permitted in Formula 1, but the rules allow for it if a tyre is in damaged or dangerous condition, and had Kimi stopped there could have been no objection from any rival team.
Given today's overwhelming obsession with the world championship, many suggested that Raikkonen should have taken the sensible option, and pitted. Yes, the victory would have been lost, but he could have collected a bundle of points, and minimised the damage to his title hopes.
I could hardly believe what I was hearing. Kimi had led from the start, and was on course for his third win on the trot. All right, he had made a mistake, and badly flat-spotted his right front tyre, but if the consequent vibration were sufficient to loosen his fillings, he was somehow coping - and what he wanted was 10 points, not six or four or whatever.
Back in the days when pit-to-car radios had become the norm, but the teams had not yet got around to 'scrambling' their communications, a scanner became essential equipment for a journalist, and events at the Nurburgring reminded me of Monza in 1987, of a mid-race conversation between Lotus team manager Peter Warr and Ayrton Senna.
On pure speed, Senna knew he had no chance against the Williams-Hondas of Nelson Piquet and Nigel Mansell, but he found himself temporarily in the lead when they stopped for tyres at half-distance, and he got on the radio to Warr.
What was the situation on tyre wear? Might it be possible to get to the finish without changing? Warr went off to consult the Goodyear engineers, who had seen the tyres that had come off the Williams. Then he radioed Ayrton again, and I listened in, spellbound.
"Mmm, it's marginal, Ayrton. Possible, but... marginal..."
There followed one of the famous Senna silences, as he weighed everything up before responding. For fully half a minute, there was not a word, then, "OK, we go for it..."
It would have worked, too, had not he been put off line by a backmarker at Parabolica, and gone into the gravel trap, half a dozen laps from the end. He rejoined, but Piquet had gone past, and went on to win by a second and a bit.
Ayrton, though, had behaved like a racing driver, as did Kimi on Sunday, and as long as there are people of that mentality, that spirit, in this sport, I for one will want to watch them.
"We talked on the radio," said Ron Dennis, "and jointly decided to go for the win - and no member of the team, including Kimi, regrets that decision."
Quite right, too, and I would have expected nothing else from McLaren. It could be that the decision ultimately costs Raikkonen the championship, but still he will stand higher in my estimation than winning the title by playing safe, putting points in the bank.
Back in 1961, Foyt had sympathy for Sachs's predicament at Indy. "It must have been the toughest decision, because a man's life is the most important thing in the world to him. But if he'd stayed out - and the tyre had not let go - he'd have won."
And what, in the same situation, would AJ have done? "I didn't want to say anything at the time. But I'd have stayed out..."