Karun Chandhok was going about his business at Sepang, focussing on qualifying and concentrating on all those things an F1 driver needs to focus on during a race weekend. But there was a gentleman there who wanted to meet him and cut into his busy schedule. Now Karun being the nice bloke that he is, took time out and met the man, and even gave him an autographed helmet visor. And of course, his happy fan, whose name happens to be Shahrukh Khan, was only too happy to cheer Karun on to 22nd position on the grid during qualifying.
The skies broke 5 mins before the qualifying session commenced meaning that it would be a wet session. Both HRT F1 drivers had their first experience of qualifying in the wet with very encouraging signs. Chandhok posted a time of 1.56.299 to qualify in not only the team’s best qualifying position, but his best ever position as well, in 22nd. With the top teams taking to the track too late this means that both HRT F1 drivers will start just behind former World Champions, Alonso and Hamilton.
Karun Chandhok commented, "The qualifying was good for us. I pushed early in qualifying as I could see the dark clouds and the rain becoming worse. I am very happy with the result as it is the best HRT F1 team result in our short history. I will start tomorrow's race just behind Trulli, Alonso, Hamilton and Massa. The weather was not looking good in the morning before qualifying and I was not sure if it would hold until the qualifying session as well. It didn't and that gave us our first wet experience driving the car for the first time in heavy rain. I am glad I managed to make the best of it."
Dr Colin Kolles commented, "Having never run the car in the wet before this weekend, HRT F1 team was taking a gamble with this wet weather for both cars .Without pre-season testing it is a big challenge to go out and drive in really wet conditions like today. Let's see what the weather brings during the race tomorrow."
Shah Rukh Khan, the leading Bollywood actor superstar was a surprise guest and watched qualifying from HRT F1 Team F1 Team, Hispania Racing garage. Shah Rukh Khan and Chandhok are both associated with leading watch maker, Tag Heuer.
On meeting SRK at the racetrack Chandhok commented, “This is definitely a surprise for me and a great one as well. I did not expect the Bollywood badshah to be here supporting me at such an early stage of my career. It was truly an honour for us to have him in our garage for qualifying. Tag Heuer have previously brought us together and it is great to meet him again. I have told him that it will be our priviledge to host him at other races as well so he has said he will bring his son with him next time. He is a great guy and definitely had the whole paddock buzzing over here.”
In the third morning free practice session they added 35 laps to yesterday's strong day of running. They posted laps in 1.39.868 - 6.3s away from Webber's pace at the front (1.33.542).