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Barbed Response

EVENT COUNTDOWN

ALBERT PARK

12-15 MARCH 2015

Narain Karthikeyan may have spent all day Friday standing in a fruitless and frustrating wait for his Formula One racing car to be built, but he retained his dry sense of humour.

As a team of mechanics from his hard-worked Hispania team toiled to build up a machine for him to use, India's first Grand Prix driver turned his mind elsewhere.

"At least we smashed the Aussies," he said, his first words of greeting shortly before second free practice on Friday afternoon. "We didn't give them a chance."

As a close friend of the legendary Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar, who is bidding to score his 100th century in international cricket, Karthikeyan, 34, is keen fan of India's most popular sport.

"I haven't been able to speak to him on the phone because of the time difference and our work, " he said. "And the match was on late so I could not see it here on television, "But it was the first thing I checked on when I woke up this morning. And it was great. We smashed them, didn't we?"

His smile supplied the energy that kept him upbeat on a downbeat day for Hispania - until the team managed, with two minutes remaining, to send Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi out for a single lap installation run.

"It is so difficult for us," said Karthikeyan. "Parts for the car are still arriving from Europe all the time... Very difficult to be honest."

Karthikeyan raced a single previous season in Formula One for the Jordan team in 2005 when he started 19 races. In that season's Australian Grand Prix, he qualified 12th and finished 15th in the race. 

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