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Vettel airs praise for first taste of India

SEBASTIAN Vettel departed India with nothing but high praise for a country on which he left an indelible mark yesterday - and that did likewise on him.

In a season of superlatives for the double Formula One world champion, the inaugural race at the Buddh International Circuit was one of the high points.

For the first time in Vettel's career he achieved F1's 'grand slam' of pole position, race win, fastest lap and leading every lap.

And the 24-year-old is already looking forward to next year's race after being impressed with his debut experience in India as the sub-continent embraced F1 for the first time.

"If you look at where we come from, it's hard to imagine things if you haven't seen them," Vettel said. "For us, we sometimes measure happiness in our lives, in our world, by what we have achieved, what we have.

"But for the people here, it doesn't really matter. They're happy with what they have, even if you compare and they have so little, but they are happy, friendly, helpful and respectful.

"Obviously I haven't spent a lot of time here, but it was very inspiring, with a lot of things making you appreciate more than you probably do.

"It opens your eyes, it was an inspiration and something you should never forget."

Vettel finished 8.4 seconds clear of McLaren's Jenson Button. Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was third ahead of Mark Webber in his Red Bull, while Lewis Hamilton was seventh, with the McLaren star involved in a sixth collision of the season with Felipe Massa, who later retired on lap 34.