As any F1 driver will tell you, it's important to do everything possible to acclimatise to the tough conditions presented by the first round of long-haul races.
A little rest and relaxation is not a bad thing either, which is why Virgin Racing's Lucas di Grassi and Andy Soucek jumped at the chance to 'hang loose' with two-time ASP world champion Damien Hardman at Torquay beach, just down the coast from Melbourne where the team are preparing for this weekend's Australian Grand Prix. di Grassi is a keen surfer and Soucek loves to kite-surf, so the two drivers had a blast in the less than gentle Victoria waters.
“We drivers have to take the rough with the smooth,” said a super-relaxed Brazilian, who slept all the way back to the city, “Starting from this evening, the weekend gets a lot tougher, but it's good to chill out and clear the mind so we can focus on the racing from now on. I love surfing back home in Brazil - it's a great way to relax and it's tough physically, so it's good preparation for driving the car. Most importantly, we made it back to shore, which was the main concern of my race engineer!”
For Soucek, who figures to do a lot more standing around than either di Grassi or team-mate Timo Glock once the serious business of preparing for the Australian GP gets underway, it was good to stretch his legs a little.
“Today was a lot of fun," the Spaniard enthused, "After 25 hours on a plane, a bit of surfing was just what I needed to help with the jet-lag. Damien really showed us how it's done, although Lucas clearly knows his way around a surfboard as well. I love to kite-surf back home in Spain, but I haven't done much regular surfing. It's also the first time I've been to Australia and already I love the place. I'll definitely be back for more.”
Meanwhile, back in the Albert Park paddock, Scuderia Toro Rosso capitalised on the first day of activity to gathered in celebration of Jaime Alguersuari's 20th birthday.
A cake specially made by Red Bull hospitality's chef was presented to the young Spaniard, who shared the emotional moment with the national and international media, as well as parents Jaime Sr and Carmen, ahead of his tenth grand prix.