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HindustanTimes Sat,12 Jul 2014
When Formula One driver turns a chauffeur
Vinayak Pande, Hindustan Times
Greater Noida, March 28, 2012
First Published: 00:12 IST(28/3/2012)
Last Updated: 00:15 IST(28/3/2012)
The driving style of an F1 driver was nothing like the general perception of daredevilry that surrounds them. MD Zakir/HT photo

Is it sacrilegious to be just ever so underwhelmed after being chauffered at full speed in a 450 horsepower car by a Formula One driver who beat Sebastian Vettel to the F3 Euroseries title when the two were teammates?

Perhaps the blame lies with what this writer's expectations were going into the Mercedes-Benz sponsored trackday event at the Buddh International Circuit that featured Sahara Force India's Paul Di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg. The two drivers took turns in going hell for leather in two Mercedes C63 AMGs with members of the media as willing passengers.

As I sat next to Di Resta (the driver who beat Vettel), I was fully prepared to be scared out of my wits by a professional speed demon in a rear-wheel drive car that has been known to be not the best when it comes to the stability of its rear-end at full speed.

Inside the beast
Right from the time the Scotsman slammed his foot on the accelerator, however, the confines of the beastly machine's passenger seat seemed like the safest place to be. The rear-end stepped out only when Di Resta made it in order to position the car at exactly the right point on the corner. As I gave up trying to be 'blown away' by the experience, my attention then turned to Di Resta's hands and feet.

His steering inputs matched the precision of a surgeon, as did the way he maintained the stability of the car through the corners with just the right amount of pressure on the accelerator and brake pedals.

The only time Di Resta looked like he would lose control of the car was on the exit of a corner that led to him running slightly wide on the exit. But that was down to Di Resta having to run a little wide on the entry of the turn due to the kerbs having safety cones placed on them.

Ultimately, maybe the experience fell a little short due to the fact that neither driver didn't complete a full lap.

Or maybe it was because there was a 563 horsepower Mercedes SLS AMG Gullwing standing unused in the pitlane.

Or maybe the 'trackday' fell just a little flat because I couldn't get behind the wheel of a big, powerful car myself.


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