McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton gave the Indian crowds a taste of what to expect at the inaugural Indian GP by driving the 2008 McLaren MP4-23 on the NICE highway on the outskirts of the city.
Behind the wheel of his 2008 title-winning steed, the estimated crowd of over 10,000 seemed to cheer up Hamilton who was in India on the back of an incident-marred Singapore GP weekend and overall a season that hasn’t really gone his way.
The principle sponsor of the McLaren Mercedes team and event organisers Vodafone seemed to be taken by surprise as the crowd numbers clearly exceeded their expectations. The short 300-meter stretch also seemed insufficient for Mercedes V8 to stretch its legs but the fans couldn't be more oblivious as they cheered in unison. The throng was extremely charged up and at one point tore through the barricades and dodged the security and police personnel to get a glimpse of the British driver up close – a testament to the amount of interest Formula 1 can generate amongst the masses.
Hamilton also did a few runs in the Mercedes SL63 and C63 AMG road cars, which obviously weren’t a patch on the drama of a thoroughbred F1 car on the road.
McLaren's roadshow was first in the series of events planned by F1 teams in the run up to the Indian GP – including Red Bull who is doing a run on the Janpath on October 1 with junior driver Daniel Ricciardo and Lotus Renault GP, who are planning similar shows in six cities across India over the next month.