The all-new Buddh International Circuit has been given a resounding thumbs-up, following practice today for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix, the 17th round in the F1 2011 World Championship.
The 5.137 kilometre track is located just south of India's capital city New Delhi and has been designed by Hermann Tilke.
“It's an interesting track, a good challenge,” Vettel said after setting the second best lap on Friday. “It was very dusty to start with, but the track seems fun, especially the wide entries which give a lot of options to all the drivers.
“It should be a good race on Sunday. It's dusty off-line, which makes it tricky, so we'll have to make sure we stay on the racing line. It's a good circuit for overtaking I think, with long straights and wide entries.”
Team-mate, Mark Webber, who finished up fifth after FP2, was equally enthusiastic: “It's a good track with good F1 corners, there are quick left-rights and you can take a lot of the corners in 5th gear,” he continued.
“Turn 3 is a unique corner, it's very slow, but it's uphill and quite extreme on the elevation. Turn 4 is also not straightforward, so they're both challenging and I like the two quick chicanes – they're enjoyable.
“Even though the track is wide, it's quite greasy off-line, so most people will follow the racing line.”
Fellow front-runners Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button echoed those thoughts: “The track is fantastic – the organisers here in India have done a great job,” Lewis said. “It's very fast and flowing, the grip-level is fantastic, the run-off areas seem to be good, and the kerbs are probably the best of any circuit we visit: nice rumble-strips that you can drive on.”
“I really like this circuit,” Button added. “It's great fun to drive. There are some tough corners, like Turns Three and Five, but there's also a lot of high-speed stuff and it feels a lot faster than we initially thought it would.
“What's also been quite a surprise is the amount of grip out there, particularly in the faster corners where the downforce is really working for you. And, because the high-speed corners are pretty smooth, you can really carry a lot of speed through them.
“It's difficult to get the tyres up to their optimal working temperature range, but, once they're in the operating window, the high-speed grip is phenomenal. From Turn Five onwards, the track is actually very quick.
“We'll have a lot of fun this weekend.”