Public delight after Indian Grand Prix

Indian fans have declared Sunday's inaugural Grand Prix in the country a resounding success.

F1 News: Sebastian Vettel

Runaway world champion Sebastian Vettel stormed to victory at the Buddh International Circuit, and immediately spoke of how he had enjoyed his time in India.

The feeling was reciprocated by those who packed into the stands in Greater Noida.

"I am really excited to be here and I am very glad I booked my ticket in advance," said Kamal Vikram Dhar, an IT professional.

"I had never seen anything like this before in my life."

In a nation renowned for its love of cricket, some fans were happy to see another sport taking the headlines for once.

"F1 can be a good way to generate interest in other sports in this cricket-crazy nation. I am really happy to see so many people coming to see the race," Anushree Kushwaha, a Delhi University student said.

There were huge traffic jams in the build-up to the race and some fans were still waiting to get in after the start, but Dhar added that "our enthusiasm to see the race kept us going".

Cricket hero Sachin Tendulkar waved the chequered flag at the end of the race and Shah Rukh Khan also attended, as the organisers went on a PR offensive in a bid to swell crowds.

Most roads in the capital were flanked by F1 billboards and banners, while the Indian media ran special supplements and programmes to support the event.

"The Indian media has been very supportive of the event. Their massive coverage sparked interest among Indian people and it resulted in full stands on the race day," Rajdeep Patnaik, a journalist associated with Indian channel NDTV, said.

Patnaik also hopes the success of the event proves his country can host such an occasion, following some of the troubles that marred last year's Commonwealth Games.

"The ghost of the Delhi Games haunted all of us for the past few months, but now the organisers have proved everyone wrong," he added.

"I just hope they now sustain and make the event even bigger next year."



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