New Delhi: The two Vodafone McLaren Mercedes drivers, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, are excited at the prospect of racing at the spanking new Buddh International Circuit (BIC) in Greater Noida where the inaugural Formula One (F1) India Grand Prix would be run next weekend.
While Button, the 2009 World champion, believes that the track would be quite challenging, given the mix of slow and fast corners besides a couple of super-fast straights, 2008 title winner Hamilton is looking forward to a “fantastic” race.
Hamilton, who is no stranger to India having participated in a couple of promotional events, recalled his visits with understandable excitement.
“Yeah, I have been a few times before; we have done a few promotional days there. The last time was just crazy – just after Singapore, we did a demo run in Bangalore and were expecting 5,000 people to turn up. On the day, there were around 40,000 fans – it was just incredible,” he said in a release.
The 26-year-old British ace believes that F1 is fast becoming popular in India where cricket is considered the No.1 sport. “You can’t believe how many people are aware of F1 and how many are looking forward to the race next week. There is already a great deal of knowledge about the sport – I think it is going to be a big deal.
“India’s a sports-mad nation – mostly, it is about cricket, which is understandable because they are a very successful cricketing country, but I really think the people of India are going to take F1 to their hearts.
“I really hope India will get turned on to the sport in a big way – it would be amazing to have an entire continent supporting you – and I really hope we can put on a fantastic race!”
Looking ahead to the race itself, Hamilton opined that McLaren would be quite competitive, although Sebastian Vettel and his Red Bull team have already won the two titles this season.
“It is too early to say, but I think we are set to be competitive at all of the final three races. We were quick at Singapore, Japan and Korea, and I think the pattern at the front has sort of settled down now as we reach the end of the season.