F1 Race: India Cracks Success Formula

Monday, 31 October 2011, 02:56 Hrs   |    1 Comments
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GREATER NOIDA: The country's inaugural, Airtel Indian Grand Prix, got off to a spectacular and actionpacked start with world champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull starting from the pole position at the swanky Buddh International Circuit here Sunday.

Vettel made a brilliant start but third-placed Fernando Alonso of Ferrari went wide and allowed Jenson Button to get through.

Button and Mark Webber then fought closely for the second place behind Vettel. At the first corner, Williams' Rubens Barrichello's car spun off after being hit. Moments later the Team Lotus' Jarno Trulli also went wide on to the grass. It gave lot of opportunity for other drivers to move up.

F1 Grand Prix: India's date with Hotwheels

Seven time world champion Michael Schumacher made most of the opportunity and went to eighth place from 11th while India's Narain Karthikeyan gained seven places to 16 from 23rd.

There was excitement in the air as the race began with cricketers, Bollywood stars and celebrities making their presence felt. Before the race, 24 drivers took part in a vintage car rallly and waved to the fans to kick off the celebrations. Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar showed his passion for motorsports by being the first of the high-profile guests to arrive at the Circuit.

"His love for motorsport is well known and I was not surprised to see him three hours before the race time. I went to the gate to welcome him," Sameer Gaur, managing director of Jaypee Sports International , told IANS. Tendulkar, who will do the honours of waving the chequered flag, spent a lot of time at the paddocks before going to the VIP lounge area. His meeting with seventime world champion Michael Schumacher was widely anticipated and that was one of the first things he did after arriving here.

Tendulkar went to the Mercedes GP team garage and chatted extensively with Schumacher and fellow driver Nico Rosberg. He also introduced his wife Anjali and daughter Sara to Schumacher. The Mumbaikar then went ahead to meet F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone in the Formula One Management team building where they were joined by Bollywood actor Gulshan Grover and legendary three-time former champion Jackie Stewart.

Ecclestone said the sport will gradually match the popularity of cricket in India, adding he was satisfied with the organisation of the inaugural Indian Grand Prix.

"F1 is as popular in India as cricket in France but things will improve drastically in the years to come. The media coverage has been overwhelming and people here want to know more about the sport," Ecclestone told IANS at the paddock area. Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh was the second cricketer to reach the venue.

Besides Tendulkar and Harbhajan, Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone were also spotted. J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was spotted in the paddock for the second consecutive day.
Source: IANS
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