Manama, Mar 14: Indian racer Karun Chandok is all set to make his Formula 1 debut, as he qualified in last place for the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix on Saturday, Mar 13.
26-year-old Chandok who qualified in the Saturday's first knockout qualifying session, is the only driver in recent memory to make his debut with the least experience behind the wheel.
However, it was not an easy win for the Chennai-born racer. Chandok was forced to wait and watch as mechanics worked to fix hydraulic problems that left it unable to engage gear, before winning the last-gasp battle for survival.
"At the last minute we threw everything together and we got out. The session had already started when the floor was being bolted on. "It was just a shakedown...it was literally just to do some laps and make sure we were okay for the race tomorrow, we went up and down all the gears and made sure everything worked and my seat was okay.
"The seat belts and everything had to be readjusted. It was just a bit of a relief to drive and actually see what the new bit of the circuit is like." Chandhok only obtained his mandatory super licence on Thursday, granted a special dispensation having not done the requisite distance in testing, on the basis of his past performances in the GP2 support series.
"I didn't want to get in anyone's way and in fact I picked up a lot of dirt on the tyres just by getting out of people's way. We're not here to upset anyone, just here to be respectable and do the best job we can."
Overjoyed Chandok, who became the second Indian to race in Formula One after Narain Karthikeyan in 2005, quoted his mom, when he was asked to express his feeling about the win.
"My mum just sent me a text saying 'Oh, I finally saw your car run'," grinned the ever-patient Hispania (HRT) driver when he caught up with reporters in the Sakhir paddock.