Amazed to see the rapid rise of Formula One in India, McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton said the F1 race here could become one of the best of the year given the country’s potential.

“It is amazing to see the rise of India in Formula One.

From a driver (Narain Karthikeyan), to a team and then a Grand Prix in a matter of few years shows the potential of the country,” the 2008 F1 champion told PTI in an interview.

“I am amazed at the development and rise of Formula One in India in a matter of few years. India will become a major destination on the F1 calendar in the coming years,” he said.

Inspired by the vibrant colours of India, Hamilton will be sporting a specially designed helmet during the Indian GP.

“I try and play with the design of my helmet in a few races around the year. Be it the first race of the season, or Monaco, Silverstone or the season-ending Brazil GP. Indian GP is a very special race for me and hence I have designed a special helmet.

“It has the ‘Holi’ effect with different colours like the beautiful and colourful festival in India and also has a special message in Hindi meaning Believe in yourself enough and anything is possible.”

Hamilton felt that Narain Karthikeyan’s move to Force India would do wonders as he is presently driving a slower car in HRT.

The Brit said the Indian driver has not been able to drive a competitive car until now due to which he has not secured any good results.

“Not all drivers get fast cars. But, if Karthikeyan were to get to race for Force India, just I drive for a British team, it can work wonders and do great for both the driver and the car.”

Hamilton is disappointed at how the season has panned out for the Woking-based Mclaren outfit so far.

“It has been a struggle this year for us. In the first part we faced a lot of problems with the pit stop while in the second half we have struggled with the tyres,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton is fourth, 62 points behind Vettel who is at the top while Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso is six points behind him.

While McLaren have slipped to third in the constructors’ standings -- six points behind Ferrari and 83 points adrift of leaders and defending champions Red Bull.

“We are hoping to salvage things and fight for the Constructors’ title till the very end. It is difficult but it can be done,” said a positive Hamilton.

On the question of replacing the legendary Michael Schumacher in the Mercedes team, he feels that those are very big boots to fill.

“Michael has been a phenomenon. He is a legendary driver and I am looking to continue the good work with the German team.”

Leaving a team that he had been with since when he was 13, was not easy for the Brit.

“It was a tough decision to leave a team with which I have been since I was a teenager. But, these things happen and who knows maybe someday before I end my career I might even be racing in a Ferrari car!”

Praising Championship leader Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull engineer Adrian Newey, Hamilton said “When I won the world championship, I wasn’t as lucky as Sebastian, who has got a ridiculously fast car.

“Adrian has done something tremendous with his car. It will help him to be dominant the next year as well,” Hamilton said of the 25-year-old German who is chasing a third championship in a row.

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