His bitter-sweet Bahrain experience yet to sink in, India's only Formula One driver Karun Chandhok today said he never thought his F1 debut would be so tough.
It was nearly a miracle that Hispania, grappling with a finance crunch, managed to get two cars in the season opener
in Bahrain without pre-season testing.
Karun was unveiled as one of its drivers just days before the race and the Indian, with hardly any mileage under his
belt, had his debut race over by the second lap of the Sakhir circuit.
"I knew my F1 debut was going to be tough but never realised it would be so tough," Karun said after being
felicitated by Raghupati Singhania here.
"This was definitely not how imaged my F1 debut but unfortunately this is how it was," he said.
The Chennai driver, however, is thrilled by his F1 experience and said the feeling had not sunk in it.
"It was surreal. The paddock was very welcoming. Most of the drivers welcomed me, saying 'welcome to the gang'.
"The best moment has been the drivers' parade when all 24 drivers made a circle of the circuit. My mother later pointed out that only 24 people in the entire world was part of that little group and it felt great," Karun said.
Looking ahead, the driver said, "The season is going to be tough and I need all the support I can have."
Cricket legend Kapil Dev was also present on the occasion.