When it was time for Lewis Hamilton to step inside his McLaren Mercedes MP4-27 last night at the Bandra Kurla Complex, it was as though the Gods were waiting in anticipation too just like the thousands that had lined up both sides of the 1.5km track. The heavens opened and the master of wet weather Formula One racing took full advantage of the British-like home conditions.
Hamilton first warmed up his F1 car with a slow run across to just get the feel of the track. And just as some of the spectators would have been on the verge of cribbing about his slow pace, the 2008 F1 champion revved up his mean machine blasting away and emitting the trademark deafening sound that was prominently bounced off the trackside glass-façade corporate buildings at BKC.
Hamilton sped through touching speeds of over 220kmph, which in his own words was, “just not all that fast enough.”
Hamilton’s first session with the car lasted for about half an hour. Obviously, he wasn’t done. He brought out his speed car yet again and continued not only racing across the track but also performing some stunning donuts for the cheering crowd. He even broke traditional racing rules when, instead of driving in the centre of the track, he sped dangerously close to the outside of the track to get nearest to his fans and speed enthusiasts, waving and doing the thumbs-up throughout.
Not over yet
A couple of promotional events then followed with Hamilton some swanky new Mercedes AMG sports cars with some contest winners by his side. Many thought that’s the end of the show with hosts Manish Paul and Mandira Bedi even announcing closure. However, Hamilton was still not done. Long after the chief guests left the scene with their entourage, Hamilton stepped into his MP-427 once again, and for one last time sped up and down the track, this time waving good bye to the by now, speed-satiated spectator base.
Mandira then got Hamilton to travel with her along the track atop a float with the champ even mouthing some lines in Hindi like “Namaste Mumbai… main aapse bahut pyaar karta hoon” etc.
The clincher however had to be the speedking admitting that this was his best Indian experience till date. “I’ve been to India four times before this and this was the first night run that I’ve done in the country. It was definitely one of my best experiences till date and the crowd here in Mumbai has been the biggest and best of all,” he signed off.