Bandra resident Dhruv Jain barely got a glimpse of Formula One racer Lewis Hamilton when he visited France for the Grand Prix in 2008. On Sunday, the 13-year-old was spellbound when the Formula One World Champion walked into racing circuit without his helmet. “I still cannot believe that that I actually saw his face,” said Jain.
More than 30,000 people watched with silent awe as Lewis Hamilton scorched the roads in his MP4-27 Vodafone McLaren Mercedes car at the Bandra-Kurla Complex on Sunday.
“His first lap was a blur. The car went past me before I knew it. The fact that he maintains the speed for more than 50 laps is amazing,” said Alan Lobo, a spectator.
After a few rapid laps, Hamilton slowed down to pull some stunts and other sharp turns at along the 1.5km stretch of road that had been cleared for the occasion. “He is one of the best racers in the world and yet so humble. He had a smile on his face throughout the lap and slowed down at various points just to wave at the crowd,” said another spectator.
Before Hamilton took center stage, carnival dancers, stilt walkers and football jugglers walked down the road to entertain the crowd.
Television actors Manish Paul and Mandira Bedi hosted the event while chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and minister of public works and special assistance department Chhagan Bhujbal were the chief guests.
F1 fans are now planning to attend the Indian Grand Prix on October 28 at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida.
This is not the first time a Formula One driver visited the city. David Coulthard had previously driven on the Bandra-Worli sea link in October 2009.