New Delhi: Drivers run the show but it`s the fans who make a Formula One race special and the Indian Grand Prix can become one of the most exciting races on the calendar if the home fans support the event, outgoing McLaren star Lewis Hamilton said on Wednesday.
Close to one lakh people had thronged the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) to watch the inaugural Indian GP last year but it looks it won`t be a full house this time around.
"The track and the good crowd make the race exciting. In Singapore and Silverstone, it`s full of people. When in Spain and Montreal, the city comes alive. It`s the fans who make it special. So if people can turn out, it can become one of the most exciting Grands Prix," Hamilton said ahead of the second edition of the Indian Grand Prix.
Hamilton, who will move to Mercedes in the next season, said he was aiming to leave the British outfit on a high by helping it win the constructors` title.
Hamilton began the season well but a poor second-half has has left him at fourth place with 153 points, 62 adrift of leader Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull.
The Briton, however, conceded that drivers` title is out of his grasp and so he`s focussed on constructors` title for his team.
McLaren (284) are third in the standings, behind leaders Red Bull (367) and Ferrari (290).
"The target is to help my team win the constructors` championship since realistically, it`s too far away for the drivers` title. I will try to get as many points as possible. I would like to go on a high," he said.
Hamilton will replace the legendary Michael Schumacher, who is seven-time world champion, in the Mercedes but he said he doesn`t think it that way.
"The intention was not to come in the way of Michael. He has done more than any driver in the world. I have seen him winning those championships sitting in my home. To jump to his seat is a real privilege," he said.
Reflecting on his days with McLaren, the 27-year-old driver said he had good time with the team but this year was disappointing for him.
"In 2007, we lost (drivers' title) by one point and the next year we won by one. Red Bull had a dominant car, Ferrari also stepped up every year. For whatever reasons it has not happened this year. It has not been a great year, still have some races left and I will try to get results," he said.
"It has been a fantastic, long and exciting journey. It was an emotional one. I had the support of the team and I am helping the side develop new car," he added.
Talking about India, a country which he has been visiting regularly, Hamilton said he was very fond of the people here.
"India has become my second home. More people have started to understand F1. It is different atmosphere from Europe. I am most excited about the people here. They are welcoming, so polite and humble, it's just a pleasure to be here. Hope to have more people at the circuit," he said.
Hamilton said the Buddh International circuit (BIC) will improve with time on the pace front.
Almost all the drivers have appreciated the new facility bu there were complaints of dust on it last year, though it's normal for any circuit.
"It (circuit) takes good races to settle. Last time, everything had to be rushed. The pace should be perfect this time. It's a medium to low-speed circuit and incredibly challenging. It's a demanding circuit on the tyres," he said.
Jokingly, Hamilton said he won't dare driving on the Indian roads.
"I don't drive (on Indian roads). I try not to focus (on the traffic). The roads are so busy. Once I was at a crossroad under a bridge and did not know how people were not hitting (each other). You must have some amazing drivers," he said.
Hamilton also announced that the four lucky winners who won a Vodafone contest would be with the McLaren team during the race.
He also said that the logo of a Bangalore-based company Sequel Logistics, which won a Vodafone contest, will be put on the McLaren F1 car during the race.