Indian GP champions dedicate victory to Wheldon, Simoncelli
Greater Noida: In their moment of triumph, the inaugural Indian Grand Prix`s champion drivers Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso dedicated their wins to British IndyCar racer Dan Wheldon and Italian MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli, who lost their lives on the race track this month.
An emotional Vettel, who won the 11th race of the season, said he had mixed emotions after winning the first Indian GP.
"I have mixed emotions because this is the first Indian Grand Prix but looking back at last weekend we lost two of our mates. I didn`t know Dan Wheldon but I got to know Marco Simoncelli this year and our thoughts are with them," he said.
Asked if the two deaths affected them mentally, Vettel said: "We take great risks when we jump in the car and we hope nothing happens but you are reminded of these things, so our thoughts are with them."
McLaren`s Button, who finished second, dedicated the race to Wheldon and Simoncelli. In a mark of respect to his compatriot, Button had Wheldon`s DW logo on top of his helmet and also wore a black arm band to mourn the death of his close friend.
"We`ve had two fatalities and it`s very difficult. I knew Dan from a young age - so I think we should dedicate this first Indian race to Dan and to Marco, who was the most amazing man to watch on a bike," he said.
Alonso, who had watched Simoncelli`s fatal crash at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia last weekend, also had mixed feelings. The Ferrari driver on his helmet had a sticker sporting No.58, Simoncelli`s Honda number.
"As Seb and Jenson said, it`s mixed feelings with these being sad weeks for motorsport and we all raced for them (Dan and Marco) today. We`re always remembering these two fantastic people," he said.
The 33-year-old Wheldon, a former rival of Button and his Red Bull team mate Mark Webber, was killed during the season ending IndyCar racing after he was involved in a fatal 15-car pileup in Las Vegas, Oct 16.
The following Sunday the world watched aghast the death of Simoncelli, who was struck by other bikes after he fell at the Malaysian Grand Prix.