The race of a lifetime!
I’ve been in love with Formula One for over a decade now. And after spending a fabulous weekend at the 2013 Indian Grand Prix, the love for the sport has scaled new heights!
Had some heady experiences (“I can’t believe this is happening”) and brilliant moments at the race. Here they are, in no particular order:
1. The first glimpse of the Buddh International Circuit, after traversing through what seemed like an endless amount of Uttar Pradesh highways in an auto. The joy of hearing the cars on track before you actually saw them!
2. A guided tour of the Sahara Force India paddock area. Seeing mechanics working on Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil’s cars to set them up for qualifying. Being able to touch the cars, the tyres, the driver’s visors, seeing the control room, the engine, the pit crew…It was absolutely amazing!
3. Qualifying. Seeing world class drivers drive that one perfect flying lap.
4. Meeting the legendary Ross Brawn in the pitlane and getting him to autograph my ticket. Respect.
5. Stalking the Lotus garage, hoping for a glimpse of Kimi Raikkonen (yes I am a big fan!) Running into third place winner Roman Grosjean instead and getting his autograph.
6. Visiting the Ferrari garage as a guest. Seeing the mechanics working furiously on Alonso’s car, just before qualifying. Just beside, the Red Bull team worked away on Vettel’s car, as The Police played on the speakers.
7. Hitching rides to get around the circuit—with everyone from race marshals in pick-up trucks to the VIP car (whose driver was instructed not to drive below 120kmph at any point!)
8. That eerie, beautiful feeling when the Indian national anthem sounded through the Buddh International Circuit.
9. Running across the grand stands for the best possible view of the race start. The sound of 22 race cars powering down the straight together.
10. The sight of the start-finish straight swarming with pit crews running helter-skelter and moving equipment right after the race start.
11. The overtaking action at the end of the DRS zone on the hairpin. Racing at its best!
12. The pit stops. Blink and you miss them. How, how do you change four tyres in three seconds?
13. The sight of Sebastian Vettel taking the chequered flag to be crowned world champion for the fourth time straight. And then, unexpectedly, an exuberant Vettel doing doughnuts on the track!
14. Racing across the grand stands (again) to catch the podium celebrations. And yes, seeing an old favourite, David Coulthard!
15. Pretending to be part of the international media so we could get within touching distance of world champion Vettel at the post-race media sessions.
I left the Buddh circuit feeling heady, giddy with excitement and slightly overwhelmed. And yes, with renewed love for the sport, respect for the teams and admiration for the drivers. The raceday weekend of a lifetime, I’d say!
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