The inaugural Indian Grand Prix was a big success on the weekend with 95,000 fans in attendance and Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel heaped praise on the event which appears to have a big future.
Red Bull’s Vettel led from start to finish at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida, winning ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button in second and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso in third.
Speaking after the race, where Vettel claimed a grand slam of honours with pole position, race win, fastest lap and the lead after every lap, the German heaped praise on India’s hospitality and the event as a whole, despite concerns prior to the race.
“All in all it was great to be here, a great circuit, which is what we judge the most,” Vettel said. “When my engineer came on the radio and said ‘12 laps to go’ I was surprised and I thought, ‘That went by quickly.’ It’s a good sign because it means you enjoy the circuit. Having had debuts in different places the last couple of years, this will be one of the races that settles in very quickly and we will all be happy to come back.”
On his experience in India, he added: “If you look at where we come from, it’s hard to imagine things if you haven’t seen them. For us we sometimes measure happiness in our lives, in our world, by what we have achieved, what we have, etc. But for the people here, it doesn’t really matter.
“They’re happy with what they have, even if you compare and they have so little, but they are happy, friendly, helpful and respectful. Obviously I haven’t spent a lot of time here, but it was very inspiring, with a lot of things making you appreciate more than you probably do. It opens your eyes, it was an inspiration and something you should never forget.”
Formula One president Bernie Ecclestone was also pleased with how proceedings went which is a great sign for the Indian GP.
“F1 is as popular in India as cricket in France, but things will improve drastically in the years to come,” he said.
“I’m very, very happy with it, and everybody else is as well. We’ve nothing to complain about. There are bits and pieces they can do, but this is a prototype, so I’m sure they’ll get down and have a good look at everything.”
There were some teething issues, with some facilities not completed, while traffic around the venue wasn’t ideal however the consensus is the race has a huge future on the F1 calendar.
Jenson Button said: “Even though it was the first race it was a pretty good crowd here. And the Indian people seem to love motor racing. I think it will turn out to be one of the great events on the Formula One calendar.”
Perhaps the biggest positive of them all, was the drivers had resounding praise for the track itself, despite issues with dust.
Fernando Alonso said: “It was fantastic. Okay, it was a very narrow line of normal grip and outside that line there was a lot of dust and low grip but this is normal for new circuits and I think with the years that will improve.”