Mixed emotions for Vettel after India victory

Sebastian Vettel and his F1 colleagues pay tribute to Marco Simoncelli and Dan Wheldon before the Indian GP

Sebastian Vettel and his F1 colleagues pay tribute to Marco Simoncelli and Dan Wheldon before the Indian GP

Oct.30 (Reuters) Formula One celebrated its first Indian Grand Prix on Sunday without ever forgetting two fallen friends from the world of motorsport.

Sebastian Vettel during the Indian Formula One Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit on October 30, 2011 in Noida, India.

Mixed emotions for race winner Sebastian Vettel on the Buddh podium

Red Bull‘s double world champion Sebastian Vettel, proud to be the first name on the list of winners at the new Buddh International Circuit, sprayed the champagne with mixed emotions.

The race had started after a minute’s silence for double Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon and Italian MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli, both killed in crashes this month, and ended with a dedication.

“On the one hand I am very, very happy,” the 24-year-old Vettel told reporters after celebrating his 11th win of the season.

“It is the first grand prix in India and I am very proud to be the first winner and I think we can be as a team but on the other hand looking back….we lost two of our mates.

“I didn’t know Dan Wheldon but he was a big name in motorsport. I got to know this year Marco Simoncelli and our thoughts are with them.

“Yes, we are ready to take certain risks when we jump into the car but we obviously pray that every time nothing happens but sometimes you get reminded and it is the last thing that we want to see,” the German added.

Jenson Button

Jenson Button, on the podium at Buddh, wore a black armband in memory of his mate and rival Dan Wheldon

McLaren‘s Jenson Button, who finished second, was a friend and rival of Wheldon’s as they climbed the motorsport ladder in Britain before seeking fame and fortune in different arenas.

Wheldon never raced in Formula One, although he was offered a seat by the same BMW-Sauber team that gave Vettel his race debut, but he achieved much in America.

“The last two weekends have been very, very difficult,” said Button, a black armband on his overalls and Wheldon’s initials on his helmet.

“I knew Dan from a very early age, he was the guy we always had to beat in the early formulas…so I think we should dedicate this first Indian race to Dan and obviously Marco, another super talented youngster.

“He was the most amazing guy to watch on a bike so I think we should dedicate this to them.”

Ferrari‘s Fernando Alonso, the third man on the podium, agreed with both.

“I think we all raced for them today and try to go ahead but always remember these two fantastic people,” said the Spaniard.