Hamilton goes go-karting in Mumbai

Updated: 27 July 2008 17:41 IST

The F1 championship leader is on his first trip to India. He said it was unlikely the FIA would reduce car speeds in Formula One.


Speeds in Formula One racing were unlikely to be reduced despite new rules and regulations being introduced by the governing body FIA, Formula one ace driver Lewis Hamilton said on Thursday.

"GP2 is getting faster and Formula One will have to stay faster. But the thing is every time new rules and regulations are brought in teams only get faster," Hamilton, who was in the city for a promotional event, said.

The 23-year-old McLaren rpt McLaren Mercedes driver who almost won the drivers' standings last year on debut, said that he was in favour of the recent rule to eliminate traction control in the cars since it left a lot more to the driver.

"Without it (traction control) it is much more up to the driver. It really is incredible," Hamilton said.

With new technology and rules cars in Formula One were also set to look more like those in GP2 where a lot more driver skill would be required, he said.

Hamilton denied that the major teams like Ferrari and McLaren Mercedes had an advantage over smaller teams due to lesser financial constraints for development of cars.

"Formula One has been this way for many years. All the teams when qualifying are within one second of one another and it is not about who has more money but who spends it better," he said.

Hamilton, fresh off victories in two consecutive races at Germany and England, was in the city for a promotional event organised by telecom giant Vodafone, and visited a go-karting track in suburban Powai.

The ace driver, who is leading the drivers' standings presently, also drove seven laps in kart around a truncated track to the joy of hundreds of fans, mostly teenagers, and flagged off a race as well.

"This is my first time in India and I don't know when I would have found the time to come here," Hamilton said.

The British driver said he rated his victory at his home circuit of Silverstone, in which he started fourth on the starting grid but made the most of wet weather to win the race, as "one of the best victories so far".

"It was special for winning at home," he said.

Hamilton, who burst onto Formula One last year with nine consecutive podium finishes and finished second in the Drivers' World Championship, said it had been an incredible year for him.

"Winning would have been great," he said adding that it was now a challenge for him to try and win it this year and he was working hard towards it.

When asked who his closest rival for this year, would be Hamilton said he expected it to be Ferrari's Kimi Raikonnen, who presently trails him in the drivers' standings by seven points and snatched the Driver's Championship away from him in the final race last season.

He, however, refused to choose between former teammate Fernando Alonso, who is now with Renault, and current teammate Heikki Kovalainein.

"Racing with Alonso, a former World Champion, was very surreal while with Heikki it is his second year for him in Formula One as well. He has the same ambition and focus on goals," Hamilton said, adding that both were fantastic drivers.

The McLaren Mercedes driver said getting to Formula One racing had been a hard journey for him particularly with his family having to make a lot of sacrifices for him to continue racing in his teenage years.

"My dad had to mortgage our house three to four times and also had multiple jobs to keep me in racing," Hamilton said.

He said he hoped to give back something to motorsport in the future by starting racing academies or karting centres to train budding drivers.

Hamilton said he was looking forward to the first night race at the Singapore in September and it would be exciting since he had no experience in such a circuit.

"I can't say what it will be like since there are no other circuits like it. It will be about turning up having made preparations for racing there," he said.

However, his favourite track presently is the Monaco GP since he had been watching the race there for years and the circuit left the driver little room for error, Hamilton said.

The ace driver said he had heard of Indian Karun Chandok who is presently racing in GP2 and said it was a good training ground ahead of Formula One since it allowed big teams to see drivers.

He also had words of encouragement for the Indian Formula One team Force India and driver Adrian Sutil, with whom he was teammates in F3 racing.

The McLaren Mercedes driver, who is city said he hoped to see more of India in the future and would try to visit it more discretely the next time.

"While coming here (to the event) I was sitting in the back and said I should be driving, but it looks dangerous on the road," Hamilton said in a lighter vein, when asked how he found Indian roads.

Topics : Formula 1 Lewis Hamilton
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