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Commitments to keep, deadlines to meet

This time I write to you from onboard my flight to New Delhi and by the time you read this, I would have completed some sponsor commitments and media appearances there— including the Hero Indian Open Golf tour and it'll be just a couple of hours from when Sebastian Vettel will likely be crowned the F1 World Champion for the second consecutive time.

india Updated: Oct 09, 2011 00:12 IST
Narain Karthikeyan
Narain Karthikeyan
Hindustan Times

This time I write to you from onboard my flight to New Delhi and by the time you read this, I would have completed some sponsor commitments and media appearances there— including the Hero Indian Open Golf tour and it'll be just a couple of hours from when Sebastian Vettel will likely be crowned the F1 World Champion for the second consecutive time.

Back to the business in the cockpit then — I've been focussing on preparing for the Indian GP and analysing it now, Japan wasn't the best of sessions. It had been three months since I drove the free-practice session in Nurburgring, so getting back in the rhythm for a high-speed circuit took some time. Singapore was an easy nut to crack as its stop and go nature with low-grip demanded car control and the circuit came to me quickly despite having never seen it before.

Suzuka is familiar territory but a complete contrast - it is fast, flowing and not too wide, which means each mistake is punished severely. Not even Vettel was spared as he ran wide at the Degner curve and couldn't keep it off the barriers! Although Singapore was physically though on the body largely due to the atmospheric conditions, Suzuka is a different kettle of fish altogether.

The first sector with the S curves, the uphill Dunlop curve and the two Degners, is extremely hard on the neck due to constant g- forces. Then there is a few hundred meters of respite till you exit of the hairpin, after which you are constantly flat-out, turning right, on the approach to the Spoon curve which is taken in two stages. Exit Spoon and then it is a charge towards the mighty 130R - which along with Eau Rouge, is one of the most challenging corners on the calendar.

Being the first practice session on the prime tyre and decent fuel load, I had to lift slightly - in contrast, Vettel was flat-out with the DRS wing open in the same place! Just goes to show how aero-limited our car is at a demanding track like this and the edge Red Bull have on the rest of the field. Even the Ferrari and McLaren drivers couldn't dare to try that confidently at that stage!

First Published: Oct 08, 2011 23:55 IST