That's what happened to the two Scuderia Toro Rosso drivers yesterday, when they headed south from Montreal, got out of their red and blue team kit and tried their hand at some white water rafting. Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat were in good company as they were joined by their colleagues from Red Bull Racing, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen. Adding some more local interest to the event that took place on the mighty St Lawrence river were two other Red Bull athletes, Charles Hamelin, 4-time Olympic medal winning speed skater, and Sebastien Toutant, X-Games gold medallist snowboarder – both of whom are native Montréalais. However, speed skating and snowboarding don't have much to do with white water rafting, therefore there were a couple of guides in the inflatable rafts to help everyone pick the right lines down the torrent of water.
Starting off from LaSalle, they ran the LaChine rapids before beaching a few kilometres short of Île Notre-Dame and the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. While the jet boat experience is a popular pastime on this stretch of water, our guys were strictly old skool paddling for their lives in an inflatable. Afterwards they met the press for a series of TV spots and print interviews.
"Rafting is a completely new experience for me," said Carlos as he dried off after the run down the river. "It was good fun, I must say, I didn't expect it to be that good. It was a great experience. I loved it. When you get close to those big waves the adrenaline really kicks in and suddenly the waves look three times as big. When you hit them, the boat is pretty stable, you can survive and keep going." Our Spanish driver was also enthusiastic when asked for his view of Montreal, the city that always gives Formula 1 a warm welcome. "The people really get into the Grand Prix. When the streets close and the parties get started it looks great and I like it even if we don't get to attend as we're busy racing! This city loves sport so it's the sort of place that I feel very comfortable in. I like the buzz."
Carlos is also buzzing about how things are going in the race car right now. "Reflecting on the season so far, I think it's been a great start, the best year of career, with some really good races.
My hopes for this weekend? Points!"
Daniil Kvyat was equally impressed with his first attempt at rafting.
"The waves were pretty big, which is cool," said the Russian. "I got a big adrenaline rush for sure and I wouldn't mind coming back to have another go, again with someone who knows how to do it because on my own I'd be lost as this was my first time. I enjoyed it a lot, it's very complex, and pretty thrilling, you need to know what you're doing – but our guides did."
Daniil went on to point out that the Gilles Villeneuve circuit would provide an interesting new challenge this weekend: "It's the first low downforce track of the year so it's going to be interesting to see how the car behaves here," he explained before going on to comment on how his year was shaping up. "My season's not been too bad so far with some ups and downs as usual but the speed is there so I'm happy about that. This weekend I hope the car will be good and we'll get a good result on what is an interesting track with unique corners you don't find anywhere else. The races here have good battles and plenty of overtaking so it's a proper challenge for the drivers."