The track is fantastic and there are good opportunities to overtake: Hamilton
Expectedly, it was a moment of life-time for Indian drivers Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok to drive Formula One cars on the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) here on Friday.
Narain was quite emotional about the inaugural race in the country. “The first lap was very special; I felt so many emotions driving in India. I just could not believe it and there were so many things running through my head,” he said after the practice sessions.
Chandhok expressed similar sentiments about his home race. “It felt great to finally be able to drive an F1 car here at the BIC and it was a real honour to be the first car to set a timed lap in front of the fans.”
Narain, who would be the only Indian to race on Sunday, was satisfied with his experience on the circuit.
“In the first practice, we were just trying to get into the swing of things and the second one went much better. We have a lot of things to try for tomorrow.
“Overall, it was a good session for me considering I have not driven a full race distance since July. So the body needs to wake up a bit.”
The 34-year-old said the track was evolving and his team would try out a few things accordingly in the qualifying session on Saturday. Chandhok expressed pleasure about his performance and hoped that the track would become faster with time. “In the car I was pretty pleased with how it went today. The track itself was really enjoyable to drive, particularly the middle section which was very quick.” The track received some compliments from the top non-Indian drivers as well. McLaren's Lewis Hamilton described the BIC as fantastic. “The first sector is pretty cool. The middle sector is very fantastic. There are good opportunities to overtake.
“Probably the best curves we have had on the circuits, nice and smooth. The turns are just gripping up, particularly turn three. It is behaving as a brand new circuit.”
Hamilton's teammate Jenson Button gave some more details about the circuit. “Pretty slow corners, the turn three, but a lot of fast corners too from fifth. It is tough because you cannot see the outside. There are lots of tricky points in the circuit,” he said.
According to champion driver Sebastian Vettel, who finished second in both practice sessions, and Michael Schumacher, the track was dusty off-line and staying on racing line would hold the key.
Sahara Force India's Adrian Sutil was happy with the change made to the car and found the circuit to be nicely done. “We ran an aero upgrade on the car this morning and I could feel the difference in stability straight away, so I think we are going to run it for the race.”
His teammate, Paul di Resta, liked his new experience on the BIC. “The track is quite exciting. It won't be an easy race with the DRS zones being so effective and likely to result in lots of overtaking,” he said.