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Hamilton, Button looking forward to Indian Grand Prix

india Updated: Oct 22, 2011 03:01 IST
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button are gung ho about racing at the new Buddh International Circuit (BIC) in Greater Noida and said they are looking forward to the inaugural Indian Grand Prix next weekend.

Hamilton has toured India a few times for promotional events and believes there is an "incredible" excitement and knowledge about the sport in the country.

"I've been a few times before – we've done a few Vodafone promotional days there. The last time was just crazy – just after Singapore, we did a demo run in Bangalore and were expecting 5,000 people to turn up. On the day, there were around 40,000 fans – it was just incredible," Hamilton said in a release.

"You can't believe how many people are aware of Formula 1 and how many are looking forward to the race next week. There's already a great deal of knowledge about the sport – I think it's going to be a big deal."

The 26-year-old British driver was confident people will open their arms to formula one and looked forward to a "fantastic" race on October 30.

"India's a sport-mad nation – mostly, it's about cricket, which is understandable because they're a very successful cricketing country, but I really think the people of India are going to take Formula 1 to their hearts," he said.

"I really hope India will get turned on to Formula 1 in a big way – it would be amazing to have an entire continent supporting you – and I really hope we can put on a fantastic race!," he added.

The other driver Jenson Button, who was the 2009 World Drivers' Champion, feels the Buddh International Circuit has a nice mix of corners and said it would look to make a good first impression here.

"Well, I can't really say properly until I've driven it. But the track itself has quite a nice mix of corners – the start of the lap is pretty stop-start, there are a couple of long straights mixed with tight hairpins, but it's the end of the lap that's more interesting: there are some pretty high-speed changes of direction through the esses and some gradient change," he said.

"One of the things that looks really interesting is the double-apex banked corner at the back of the circuit – that's pretty unusual. It's sort of a mix between Turn 13 at China and Korea's Turn 11.

"I always look forward to the next grand prix. The word is that people in India are really excited about Formula 1 and the event – it's important for the sport that we make a good first impression and I really hope we have a fantastic race. Our car's been pretty competitive recently and we'd like to win more races before the end of the season," he added.