Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel has said he had 'mixed emotions' after winning the inaugural Indian Grand Prix today.
Vettel swept to another dominant victory at the all-new Buddh International Circuit, and while he added that he was proud to be the first ever winner in India, he was quick to remember double Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon and rising MotoGP star Marco Simoncelli, both of whom passed away this month on the track.
“It was very good race for us and I enjoyed it. I had a bit of a fight with Jenson [Button], who was always around 4 seconds away, but strangely he kept closing in around the pit stops. I was pushing very hard into the box, but we seemed to lose a little bit there, which we need to understand,” Vettel said.
“On the circuit it was crucial to manage the tyres and make sure we had enough left at the end, but it was a very smooth race. The car was very well balanced and it was a fantastic race today. Thanks to the whole team and to Renault, who have done an exceptional job so far this season. But I have mixed emotions.
“I'm very proud to be the first winner of the Indian Grand Prix, but on the other hand we lost two of our mates recently. I didn't know Dan Wheldon, but obviously he was a big name in motorsport. I got to know Marco Simoncelli this year and our thoughts are with their families at this time.
“We are ready to take certain risks, but obviously we pray that nothing happens; sometimes you get reminded and that's the last thing we want to see.”
Meanwhile, like all pretty much all the drivers and people in the paddock, Vettel was impressed with the reception the sport got in India.
“It's a very impressive country here, very different to what we know in Europe, but very inspiring,” he continued. “If you keep your eyes and ears open, you can learn a lot from the way the people handle things here.
“It's a big country with a lot of people, but they are happy and enjoy life, which is what it's all about.
“At the end of your life, it's friendships, emotions and thoughts that you take with you, rather than what's in your bank account. So, even though people don't have a lot here, they are a lot richer in many ways and we can learn from that.
“It's been a great race, a great event and the circuit is fantastic, so thanks a lot to all the people in India.”