Hamilton revs up Bangalore

Hamilton revs up Bangalore

McLaren Mercedes driver enthralls crowd with a blazing run in championship winning MP4-23

Hamilton revs up Bangalore

All the while, an ill-mannered crowd of more than 20,000 -- four times the number supposed to be in attendance -- grappled with the barricades and brought down a few while screaming their lungs out in anticipation. But at 11.15 am, when the Briton hit first gear and charged down the 500-metre stretch on NICE Road, there was silence -- except from the car’s engine.

The car, powered by the equivalent of more than seven hundred horses, screamed its way through to the other end in little less than three seconds, and sent a shock wave across the fragile-looking stands. Hamilton, who has resorted to using the spin-about after a minor collision more often in his racing career than most other F1 drivers, was more than happy to spin the 2.4-litre, V8, naturally-aspirated, near-ton car around while burning some rubber and waving out to the crowd.

It was easy to see that Hamilton tried hard not to rev past 8,000-9,000 revolutions per minute on a car used to getting as high as 19,000 rpm. It was also quite clear that by second-gear time, the end of the road was nigh. Restrictions, which also forced him to work inside the nine-metre width of the chosen section of the road, hindered the 26-year-old from letting loose, but that didn’t stop him from tearing up the road.

In the three minutes that the F1 car was out on the road, Hamilton spun about thrice, marked the road with two tyre burns and completed a couple of half-baked do-nuts. After his fifth sonic-boom whiz-past, though, the MP4 was steered into the garage, and a maroon Mercedes convertable was brought out for the Hot Laps. Ten lucky winners, selected through various contests and auctions, got a chance to sit by the champ as he sped down the road and manoeuvred through a traffic cone obstacle in the middle of the road.

However, with all the electronic aid in the car -- a problem ‘Drift King’ Terry Grant suffered during his visit to the Irungattukotai track in Chennai on September 17 -- and the limited work space, Hamilton was left with no choice but to speed up and down the track in more or less a straight line on several occasions.

After going through the piggy-back rides and handing out merchandise to a relentless, restless crowd which by now had broken through the barriers and was within inches of the track, Hamilton was back inside the MP4, and this time around, he really stepped on it.

A full-swing do-nut right in front of the photographers’ stage area, a mind-boggling tyre burn and yet another spin-about brought an end to a memorable show, capped by Hamilton’s loss for words when asked to describe the atmosphere.