As is the way with back-to-back races on different continents, the post-race celebrations were somewhat muted at the Buddh International Circuit this evening. Red Bull Racing managed a quick celebratory photograph to celebrate their 1-3 finish, but the moment didn’t last long; the mechanics needed to continue what they’d started.
The teams’ freight had to be packed away and ready for loading onto lorries six hours after the chequered flag dropped, so the pack-up was an all-hands-on-deck affair. Even the race engineers donned dayglo bibs and got stuck in, which, Paddock Cat has been informed, is very rare!
Amid this mayhem, however, the ‘beautiful people’ were nowhere to be seen. When the race ended, the VIPs headed to the Amber Lounge after-party in downtown Delhi, where the Black Eyed Peas were playing and the stars of Bollywood were expected.
Members of the Black Eyed Peas were spotted at the circuit before the race, all of them guests of Williams. (How apt, given Will.i.am’s connection to the band! – Ed)
If you’re a cricket fan, and there are lots of them in India, you would have been excited to see Harbhajan Singh today. He was a guest of Ferrari sponsor Hublot for the second year running and he couldn’t wait to get up close to the cars.
“They look much smaller in real life than they do on the TV,” he says. “It’s great to be here and to support this race. I hope the Indian Grand Prix becomes one of the favourite on the calendar.”
Had Harbhajan Singh made those comments in the media centre, he’d no doubt have received a round of applause – as Seb Vettel did during the post-race press conference. The double world champion spoke eloquently about how much he enjoys India and even the most cynical hacks broke into spontaneous applause. It seems everyone in F1 enjoys coming to Delhi and people who speak up in support of the event – be they cricketers or pop stars – are praised.
Someone else who went out of his way to say how much he enjoyed the race was Lewis Hamilton. “The track is one of the best we drive on,” he said, “and I love the country. The people are very friendly and there’s so much to see and do.”
Perhaps it wasn’t a coincidence that Lewis gave his first ever grid interview today. Normally, he parks up in his grid position, heads to the toilet, talks to his engineers and gets back in the car; today he did all of those things, but still managed to find some words for Sky’s Martin Brundle.
Within 24 hours the F1 paddock will be in Abu Dhabi, but the 2012 Indian GP will live on in the minds of the people involved in it for many days to come.