• Indian Grand Prix - Driver and team reaction

Formula One labels India a success

ESPNF1 Staff
October 31, 2011 « Great weekend, forgettable race | Karthikeyan proud of home performance »
The Indian Grand Prix was enjoyed by drivers and team members alike © Sutton Images
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Despite what was ultimately a rather processional race at the Buddh International Circuit on Sunday, the drivers have been effusive in their praise for the track and the inaugural Indian Grand Prix.

An impressive crowd of 95,000 packed in to the circuit to see Sebastian Vettel dominate a race that saw little in the way of overtaking, but it was the man in second - Jenson Button - who reeled off the compliments to the organisers and Indian public after the race.

"I loved the whole experience this weekend," Button said. "And I think every driver will be excited about coming back here because it's such a phenomenal circuit; fast and flowing with a bit of everything. It gets a big tick from me. The Indian people have really welcomed us to their country; I've never seen so many people smiling before. And the crowd has been wonderful. I hope that Formula 1 grows in India in the future and that we get an even bigger crowd here next year."

Vettel's praise was reserved for the Indian people and their approach to life.

"It's a very impressive country here, very different to what we know in Europe, but very inspiring," he said. "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."

Lewis Hamilton was also eager to thank India for the way in which it embraced the race, saying: "The Indians did a fantastic job this weekend, the track was great, and we've been treated so well here, we've been treated like kings so I'm really grateful for that."

While Michael Schumacher has seen many new races join the Formula One calendar throughout his career, he said he was impressed with the event: "To the organisers of the first Indian Grand Prix, I would like to send a big compliment; I'm sure that I am not the only one to say that this was a very positive debut."

The race also saw team members full of praise, with Mercedes head of motorsport Norbert Haug describing it as "remarkable".

"This inaugural Indian Grand Prix was a remarkable event," Haug said. "This is a fantastic and challenging race track, and saw packed grandstands and great enthusiasm from the fans. Formula One could not have wished for more during the first race in a new country. So a big thank you to the organisers, the Jaypee Group, and to Bernie Ecclestone and FOM, who have worked very hard to make this new event happen."

McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh said that the race was "a fantastic success: a glittering spectacle and a marvellous addition to the international sporting calendar," while only Felipe Massa was happy to leave following a clash with Hamilton in the race: "I will try and forget this trip to India as quickly as possible, but that will be absolutely nothing to do with the country!"

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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