Formula 1: Indian GP – Right First Time for Ferrari in India
Noida – The expression used in the theatre that “it will be alright on the night” can be applied to this first day of Formula One running at the brand new Buddh International Circuit. When the teams first arrived here, it’s fair to say that work was not quite complete and there were concerns about such issues as power outages. However, apart from the morning session having to be briefly red flagged while a dog was retrieved from the track, everything ran smoothly for the first day of free practice for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix.
The track itself was given a resounding thumbs-up by all the drivers who enjoyed the challenge it offers, while hoping that the usual difficulty with a new venue, the dirty track surface, will gradually improve during the course of the weekend. Apart from some smog hanging over the track, the weather has also been fine, with very low humidity and temperatures only in the high twenties. If it was a good day for the first official running of Formula 1 cars in India, it was also – eventually – a good day for Scuderia Ferrari. Four laps into a very busy programme in the morning session it did not look that promising however, as Fernando Alonso was heard on the radio informing his engineer that he was trying to bring his 150º Italia back to the pits. He didn’t make it, parking the car at the side of the track with an engine problem, before sitting underneath a giant screen that showed a replay of the incident. Not an ideal start when there is so much to do at a new circuit, as well as all the usual jobs of preparing for the weekend, combined with tests aimed at next year’s car.
However, Felipe Massa’s morning went well and in the afternoon, both drivers ran trouble free and got through the bulk of the programme.
In terms of performance, one can at least say the Scuderia has got off on the right foot, as Felipe ended the day fastest of all, with Fernando Alonso third, while Vettel provided the Red Bull sandwich in between the two Ferraris. Of course, Friday times, especially on a new track, never mean very much, but our Brazilian driver did admit that it least if felt good to be in that position, even if it would be tough to stay there right through to Sunday night! Lewis Hamilton was fourth for McLaren, ahead of Mark Webber in the other Red Bull and Jenson Button in the second McLaren. In this era of simulation, the basic details of the track were known to everyone, however today spectators and viewers were able to see how spectacular and quick it looks and clearly there is every chance of witnessing a thrilling and very fast qualifying session tomorrow afternoon.