The first ever Formula 1 Indian Grand Prix got underway today with the first free practice sessions. 180 minutes on the Buddh International Circuit in which Narain Karthikeyan, the first ever Indian Formula 1 driver, made his debut in front of his home crowd. A historic moment for motorsport, F1 and HRT F1 Team. The vast amounts of dust on the 5.125km track meant that drivers had to be cautious and both Narain Karthikeyan and Daniel Ricciardo did their job step by step without taking too many risks to avoid any trouble. As the day went on, both drivers improved their set-up and their times by more than five seconds with Ricciardo completing 60 laps and Karthikeyan 66.
"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. 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".
"It was our first day here and I can say that it is quite a fun circuit, I'm happy with the layout and I think that most drivers will enjoy it. This morning the track was cleaning all the time so we just did as many laps as we could which is the most important thing. This afternoon we started to work a bit with both compounds. I'm not as happy as in the morning since we made some changes which didn't work as well as we thought they could do. We'll analyse that and work on it for tomorrow. I think we can compete with our main competitors here and give them a good run for their money".
Colin Kolles, Team Principal:
"Apart from what we had heard from Narain, we came to the Indian Grand Prix without knowing much about what we would find and I have to say that we are positively surprised.
They did a really good job with the track within a short time
They did a really good job with the track within a short time. The down side is the amount of dust all over. For us it has been a positive day. We had a program with Daniel and Narain that we managed to follow perfectly. Both drivers improved throughout each one of the sessions and did what they were supposed to, gaining in confidence and taking the cars to the limit without going beyond it. Under such tricky conditions, it was important not to cross the line and bring the cars safely back to the garage. For tomorrow I hope that we can fine tune the cars' set up for qualifying tomorrow and take another step forward".
Maximum temperature: Air 30ºC, Track 39ºC - Clear
10.00-11.30 FORMULA 1 PRACTICE SESSION 1
Narain Karthikeyan - F111-002 #22 - 22nd - (30 laps) - 1:34.113
Daniel Ricciardo - F111-003 #23 - 21st - (27 laps) - 1:33.928
14.00-15.30 FORMULA 1 PRACTICE SESSION 2
Narain Karthikeyan - F111-002 #22 - 24th - (33 laps) - 1:32.824
Daniel Ricciardo - F111-003 #23- 23rd - (33 laps) - 1:32.728