The colour of India never ceases to amaze. Cows on the side of the road, packs of dogs wandering down the central reservation, cars driving on the wrong side of the road; this country has it all. But your trusty Paddock Cat still managed to be astonished this morning, when he saw a goat on a motorbike! The animal was sat between the man at the controls and a lady on the back. Extraordinary.
Less extraordinary has been the sight of people playing cricket. Formula One’s popularity is growing on the sub continent, but cricket is far and away the most popular pastime here. Even the smallest patch of grass will have people gathering around to throw a ball against a bat, so it seemed apt for a journalist from the Hindustan Times to ask double world champion Fernando Alonso about his cricketing skills.
“I cannot play,” he said. “Not only can I not play, I don’t even understand the rules!”
“Why not, Fernando?”
“We don’t play cricket in Spain. Please don’t take offence!”
Mark Webber, on the other hand, loves cricket. He went to school with Australian test cricketer Brad Haddin and he telephoned Steve Waugh, the former captain of the baggy greens, for some advice on how to survive in India prior to coming out here.
“The cricket guys do long tours in India,” said Mark, “so they know how to survive here. They know what precautions to take when it comes to food and hygiene. Steve had plenty to say!”
Another person with lots to say after qualifying on pole position for tomorrow’s Indian Grand Prix was Sebastian Vettel. In the post-qualifying press conference he got playful and even compared his RB8 to a horse. They could see where he was coming from, except for two points: he’s got a herd of 800 under his right foot, not a lone one, and if his RB8 were a ‘Red Horse’, it would be a Ferrari!
The only thing left for Seb to do on Saturday was sign some copies of the new F1 Opus, which was launched at the Oberoi Hotel in downtown Delhi last night. The book is a glorious look at the last 60 years of the world championship and includes some never-been-seen-before pictures.
The copies that have been signed by every living world champion? A cool £20,000 each.