By Rajarshi Gupta at BIC
The home advantage would have had little meaning anyways for Karthikeyan, who finished 21st at the Indian GP on Sunday but the Chennai lad confessed he had not set his sights very high either.
HRT would have had high expectations from its two drivers- Karthikeyan and Pedro de la Rosa but while the latter did not finish, the local boy only managed a paltry 21 st. There were several issues with overheating of the brakes, which despite corrective measures, crept up, impending the Indian from doing any better than his lowly rank infront of an expectant home crowd.
The duo had got off to an impressive start, with the Spanish even soaring ahead to 17 th at one point, but once the problem was detected on the third lap, both drivers had to slow down to control brake temperatures and complete the 60 laps.
Karthikeyan had a rather good pace on the hard tyres and therefore he could finish the race while de la Rosa’s failed brakes at the 45th lap left him with no chance to reach the finishing line.
However, Karthikeyan, who walked around in low spirits after the race, later said he was happy to finish the race in front of his home crowd.
“I got off to a good start but had an incident on the first corner and lost a chunk of my first wing. The damage wasn’t too severe but we had problems with the balance of the car from then on.
“But the greatest problem was the overheating of the brakes. They warned me on the radio that I had to look after them because we had to make it to the end. And we did that. Today we got the most out of what we had and I am happy to have finished my home race,” Karthikeyan said, still reeling from having to give way because of overheated brakes.
De la Rosa was obviously far more distraught, having failed to even finish. The Spaniard blamed the tough track conditions which has three consecutive hard braking corners – coupled with high temperatures, which could be damaging.
“It’s a shame that I had to retire because the car was running well on the hard tyres but, with no warning, the brakes failed.
“…but the important thing is I’m fine and the car isn’t too damaged for Abu Dhabi. We have to understand why this failure occurred and fix it because Abu Dhabi is another challenging circuit for the brakes,” de la Rosa summed up a disappointing day at work.
The Spanish driver was seen turning and screeching on the tracks till his tail hit the wall on the sides, prompting help to rush across. The team radio revealed it was a brake failure, which scuttled his hopes of improving on some of his earlier performances- at one point, de la Rosa looked braced for that.