Narain Karthikeyan has said his first lap at the all-new Buddh International Circuit
today was 'very special'.
Karthikeyan, who is making a one-off return for his home race, finished Friday practice, as expected, right at the back of the pack, but somewhat encouragingly for the Indian, he was only 0.056 seconds off his HRT team-mate, Daniel Ricciardo.
“The first lap was very special; I felt so many emotions driving in India. I just couldn't believe it and there were so many things running through my head,” Karthikeyan reflected.
“In the first practice we were just trying to get into the swing of things and the second one went much better and we have a lot of things to try for tomorrow.
“Overall it was a good session for me, considering I haven't driven a full race distance since July, so the body needs to wake up a bit. The track evolved a lot and so times were improving too. We have a few things to try ahead of tomorrow so I'm quite excited to see how qualifying goes.”
Fellow countryman Karun Chandhok was also on track, albeit only for first practice, as Team Lotus is sticking with its regular pairing, Heikki Kovalainen
and Jarno Trulli
for the inaugural Indian GP.
“It felt great to finally be able to drive an F1 car here at the Buddh International Circuit, and it was a real honour to be the first car to set a timed lap in front of the fans,” said Chandhok, Team Lotus' test and reserve driver.
“I want to thank the team for giving me that chance, and everyone at the Jaypee Group and all the people involved in helping create the first ever Indian Grand Prix
for doing such a great job on the whole event.
“In the car I was pretty pleased with how it went today. We completed most of the morning programme and without the yellow flags at the end of the session I'm pretty sure there was another second in hand on my final lap time.
“The track itself is really enjoyable to drive, particularly the middle section which is very quick, and as it evolves and the times keep coming down I think we'll see some very good racing here.”