Mumbai: He came, he drove and he conquered. In the end, the wait was worth for the thousands gathered to watch Lewis Hamilton zip down street at the Bandra-Kurla Complex on Sunday. The event, Vodafone Speedfest, started well beyond scheduled time but once it began, it left everyone gasping for more.
People were perched on bus stops, trees and whatever vantage point they could get to see one of the most exciting talents in Formula One in action. Many of them didn’t know who the man was but that didn’t matter to them, they had gathered to get the adrenaline rush and that’s what they got.
The audience didn’t even matter the delay as it gave them a feel of a night race. The organisers wanted to create a night race atmosphere, like the Singapore Grand Prix which became the first night race on the Formula One calendar a few years ago and will be held next weekend, and they were successful to some extent as the people gathered were glued to the position till the event was over.
For Formula One aficionados the lights weren’t that great but how does it matter when the target audience enjoyed every bits of it.
As soon as the event was flagged off by Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, a collective roar went among the crowd and it transcended into a deafening sound as Hamilton pressed on the throttle, accelerating to top speed within a matter of minutes.
On his sortie, at the three kilometre circuit, Hamilton waved to the crowd, did some doughnuts (360 degree spin in Formula One lingo) and gave some demonstration of the power his McLaren Mercedes car can generate. He would have wished to go a bit faster but the narrow stretch of the BKC road meant he had to hold back his horses.
“This beats the Red Bull event that happened in 2009 on the Sealink. Good to see that Hamilton’s car didn’t stall like David Coulthard’s did that day. Hamilton came back for another couple of laps we didn’t expect him to do so.
Me and my family enjoyed every bits of it,” said Vile Parle resident Raunak Shah. Ashford Sequeira, a resident of Marine Drive, was disappointed as the event was shifted to the suburbs. “I could have witness the event from my balcony but that wasn’t to be. Nevertheless, it was once in a life time opportunity,” he said.
(With DNA inputs)