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Old 16th September 2010, 22:42   #1
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Default Report & Pics : Lewis Hamilton at Chennai's MMSC track

A Formula One Driver visiting India is a big deal. And When its going to be the 2008 F1 world Champion driving an AMG Mercedes at the Chennai Race Track, it's gotta be HUGE.

The 'Hot laps with Lewis Hamilton' event by Vodafone was being publicised in the media.
Lucky winners of an SMS contest would get to ride shotgun with the 2010 championship contender in a Mercedes SL63 AMG on the MMSC track in Chennai.

The weather was very pleasant, by Chennai standards.
The event was scheduled to start at 11 AM. Vodafone seems to have arranged transport for spectators which was a good move since the track is 40kms away from the city and it would have been difficult for those interested in attending the event.

Report & Pics : Lewis Hamilton at Chennai's MMSC track-1.jpg
Report & Pics : Lewis Hamilton at Chennai's MMSC track-2.jpg
Report & Pics : Lewis Hamilton at Chennai's MMSC track-3.jpg
Report & Pics : Lewis Hamilton at Chennai's MMSC track-4.jpg

The track adorned a red look with the Vodafone livery.
Report & Pics : Lewis Hamilton at Chennai's MMSC track-6-arch.jpg
At 10 AM, The crowd started pouring in.

By 10.45, the area around the main straight was bustling with activity.

Report & Pics : Lewis Hamilton at Chennai's MMSC track-5-overalls.jpg
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At 11, a helicopter is heard in the distance. The crowd goes wild seeing the helicopter which makes two swift passes over the main straight and lands on the circuit.
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Report & Pics : Lewis Hamilton at Chennai's MMSC track-7-landed.jpg

Lewis is transported to the SL63 from the chopper in an M class and makes a grand entrance with the host Nikhil Chinnappa counting down from 10.

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Lewis descends from the SL and greets everyone.
The contest winners waste no time and get into their overalls for their hotlaps with the Formula One star.


Lewis takes the first few winners in the SL63 and after the 3rd run, says that the SL is overheating. Thankfully, the organisers have a spare car. A CLS AMG is pressed into service.

Report & Pics : Lewis Hamilton at Chennai's MMSC track-img_1027.jpg




After the contest winners were done with their hotlaps, the few chosen VVIPs were awaiting theirs and the first one was the coveted Tamil Film Star Vikram who greets the crowd.
Team-BHPian mlcarrera was one of the chosen few to get a ride in the SL63 with Lewis.
It would be great to hear his experience. Please do the honors, mlcarrera.

In between car changes, our 'only' female racer Alisha Abdullah gets acquainted with the Formula One superstar.
Report & Pics : Lewis Hamilton at Chennai's MMSC track-img_1081.jpg
Report & Pics : Lewis Hamilton at Chennai's MMSC track-img_1082.jpg
Report & Pics : Lewis Hamilton at Chennai's MMSC track-img_1083.jpg

The hotlaps came to a close. Hamilton and the contest winners climbed on to the vodafone truck.
Report & Pics : Lewis Hamilton at Chennai's MMSC track-img_1095.jpg
Hamilton uncorked a champagne bottle...
Report & Pics : Lewis Hamilton at Chennai's MMSC track-img_1096.jpg
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...and sprayed the champagne at the excited spectators finishing the track event with style.


He takes a 10 minute recess before the press conference.
At the press conference, he greets with a 'Vanakkam'
He inspects the tyres of the SL63 that's sharing the stage with him and admits there's still some tread left.
He answers questions thrown at him without being diplomatic.
He spoke about his split-second decision at Monza because of which he retired in the very first lap.

He also said that he was happy to be driving with the 7-time Championship winning legend. He mentions that he's always been racing since childhood without ever taking a year off as a break. And that it's not easy to be as good as he was after the 3-year break that Michael took.

He said that Karun has to move up to a better team to show his true potential and that at the small teams, it's about who brings in the most money. (Now we know why Yamamoto is driving Karun's car).
He was also complimenting the efforts of Vijay Mallya in bring the Force India team up from the bottom.
About the Indian GP, he says that he has just seen pictures and is excited about the grand prix. He promises to be there with his girlfriend who apparently claims that she looks Indian.

He also mentioned that his secret of winning is because he is his own engineer and takes decisions on the setup himself. During practice, while other drivers give feedback and complaints to their race engineer about the car, Lewis Hamilton comes back to the pits and orders for a stiffer roll bar or lower ride height or increased tyre pressures.


The event draws to a close as Lewis walks off the stage.
Just before he alights the M-class, he's mobbed by those present for pictures and autographs and obliges to a few.
Report & Pics : Lewis Hamilton at Chennai's MMSC track-img_1112.jpg
He finally bids goodbye with a smile.

Report & Pics : Lewis Hamilton at Chennai's MMSC track-img_1115.jpg

Videos:








For the tech nuts:
The tyres that the SL wore
Before:
Report & Pics : Lewis Hamilton at Chennai's MMSC track-img_0959.jpg
After:
Report & Pics : Lewis Hamilton at Chennai's MMSC track-img_1118.jpg
Report & Pics : Lewis Hamilton at Chennai's MMSC track-img_1120.jpg

30% of the Pics Courtesy: Ganesh Ramalingam

Last edited by Rehaan : 20th September 2010 at 13:15.
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Old 17th September 2010, 15:00   #2
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Default First Pics - Lewis burning rubber in Chennai!

First Pics - Lewis burning rubber in Chennai!

Excellent event / PR by Vodafone. Lewis is truly a golden boy for his sponsors & fans, absolutely worth every penny spent on him!
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Report & Pics : Lewis Hamilton at Chennai's MMSC track-img_1536.jpg  

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Report & Pics : Lewis Hamilton at Chennai's MMSC track-img_1564.jpg  

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Old 17th September 2010, 15:11   #3
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Default Second Set of the First Pics - Lewis burning rubber in Chennai!

Second Set of the First Pics - Lewis burning rubber in Chennai!
McLaren Forever!!
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Report & Pics : Lewis Hamilton at Chennai's MMSC track-img_1565.jpg  

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Report & Pics : Lewis Hamilton at Chennai's MMSC track-img_1581.jpg  

Report & Pics : Lewis Hamilton at Chennai's MMSC track-img_1582.jpg  

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Old 17th September 2010, 15:13   #4
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Default Hamilton burning rubber at the MMSC track

I have a few not so clear videos of him doing doughnuts at the track. Have linked to one of them here.
It was good fun, and the guy really is a good sport. No airs at all about him, came across as a very down to earth star.
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Old 17th September 2010, 16:12   #5
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Default Sequence of Events & Highlights of the Day!

Sequence of Events & Highlights of the Day :

The temporary seating area constructed for the full length of the start/finish straight is jam packed at 10:30 AM. Talks about how Lewis would be held up in traffic is heard.

Nikhil is the comperer for the event. He has the crowd engaged by conducting contests with simple questions about Lewis Hamilton and gives away T-shirts and Hamilton signed posters.

Announcement of Lewis heading towards the track goes on and everyones on their feet. Bang, Lewis arrives on a chopper and goes on circles above the track for 3 times waving to the crowd.

The chopper lands out of sight. 5 minutes of pause while Lewis is transported from the chopper to the paddock in an M-Class. The crowd is asked to go on a 10,9,8... to 1 countdown and everyone is seeing the area around the main entrance to the track.

Another surprise. Lewis Hamilton zooms into the track in the SL63 and stops at the start/finish line waving to the crowd and everyone goes crazy. I just cant believe, Lewis Hamilton is just in front of me (see pic 7 in the first set). My god!

Lewis gets down with great enthusiasm and greets the crowd "Vanakkam Chennai"

The first 3 contest winners are taken for a spin by LH in the SL63. He looked amazingly smooth but scorched the track. Everyone had 2 laps each.

By the end of the third guy, LH gets down and announces that he broke the car. Its overheating and cutting-off on power.

Quick solution - Its swapped with the CLS AMG and the Merc mechanics take the SL63 out of sight. The next few contest winners are taken around in the CLS. Man, it was quick too! Time for stunts - donuts & drifts!

Chiyan Vikram enters the track and got introduced to Lewis Hamilton. Both step on to the truck and goes for a parade lap.

Lewis spots someone in the crowd wearing a Fernando Alonso T-shirt and says "hey he has got a fernando t-shirt.. haha, i like it .. i like it".

On Vikrams query about tasting Indian food, LH says he and his girlfriend love Tikka Masala and she often claims that she looks Indian.

LH sees an area of the gallery filled up with school children - He asks "dont you guys have school today ? , thank you for coming".

How do you feel the climate is - I am OK, atleast not struggling as much as the car is (referring to the SL63 that broke down)

What track you like the most - LH says Monaco & Suzuka. Pauses for a while and says, actually this track too is good. I am also looking forward for the F1 circuit coming up in New Delhi.

For the question "whom do you like the most to be driving against", LH says Fernando, Jenson, infact all world champions. They make you be at your best. Michael is also back but not as quick as he was but still is pushing all of us very hard. I always wanted to race Senna but unfortunately it wasnt possible.

The SL63 is back and Vikram is taken for 2 laps and some stunts. LH drives off the track up to the grass and then spins. He gets down and says sorry for the grass, I had to get on to it to get it spinning.

More contest winners are taken around and the SL63 again has over heating problems. CLS AMG comes to the rescue again. After 15, I lost count of how many guys were taken for a spin (each 2 laps). The MD of MRF and the bigges of Vodafone were among the lucky ones.

Alisha Abdullah (the woman bike racer) gets introduced to LH and pics for the press.

Lewis is full of energy. He has not stepped off the track since he landed and it has been 2 hours.

The last lap is announced and LH starts the CLS with some donuts and bang a loud sound. The poor rear tyre on the CLS is butchered. LH gets down, smiles at the crowd and the lap is aborted. He picks up the shredded pieces of the rubber and throws them. He gets on to the waiting M-class and drives off to the paddock area.

The end of a superb event. Loved every bit of it!
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Old 17th September 2010, 16:34   #6
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very well written karthik. Feels like I was really there . Wish they had the SLS AMG
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Old 17th September 2010, 16:36   #7
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Rubicon, a very crisp report. Thanks for putting up a crisp yet detailed report.

Chennai temperature seems to have taken toll on both the engine and tyres :-)

Cheers,
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Old 17th September 2010, 16:48   #8
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A few pics from my visit at this event which was one of the better organized at the MMRT. And, the view is much better from the stands!. Who needs a pass?.
Attached Thumbnails
Report & Pics : Lewis Hamilton at Chennai's MMSC track-mmrt-053-large.jpg  

Report & Pics : Lewis Hamilton at Chennai's MMSC track-mmrt-067-large.jpg  

Report & Pics : Lewis Hamilton at Chennai's MMSC track-mmrt-086-large.jpg  

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Old 17th September 2010, 17:10   #9
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^^ Awesome shot Nick. Looks like a still from Rajnikanth movies
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Old 17th September 2010, 17:13   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronix View Post
^^ Awesome shot Nick. Looks like a still from Rajnikanth movies
Hey Anachronix, I know which movie you are talking about. It's BAASHA right? The same thought occurred to me too.

And what was Nikhil shouting into the mic? LEWIS PAARU, LEWIS PAARU?

Nick, fantastic shot dude.

Last edited by Gilead : 17th September 2010 at 17:16.
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Old 17th September 2010, 18:37   #11
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Very well written Rubicon. Very descriptive. Beatiful pics guys.

Very sad that i missed it today. . Hoping that vodafone comes up with something different next time
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Old 17th September 2010, 18:52   #12
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Did he just to all this! Or did he really do a timed lap!
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Old 17th September 2010, 18:53   #13
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Default Set 1 from the pits!

It was a great day to see LH burn rubber on the SL 63 AMG! Got more will post them soon.
Attached Thumbnails
Report & Pics : Lewis Hamilton at Chennai's MMSC track-smoke1.jpg  

Report & Pics : Lewis Hamilton at Chennai's MMSC track-smoke2.jpg  

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Old 17th September 2010, 19:21   #14
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Default Donuts on the CLS 63 AMG!

The sound of the V8 was music to the ears!
Attached Thumbnails
Report & Pics : Lewis Hamilton at Chennai's MMSC track-img_2793.jpg  

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Report & Pics : Lewis Hamilton at Chennai's MMSC track-img_2812.jpg  

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Old 17th September 2010, 19:29   #15
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This must be an amazing event!! A friend of mine was one of the lucky blokes who got a ride with Lewis in the CLS 63AMG!!!
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