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F1 Star Lewis Hamilton Sets New Top Gear Lap Record 19
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, lewis-hamilton, News, Sebastian Vettel, star in a reasonably priced car, Top Gear, video on 02 19th, 2013


Lewis Hamilton made his first cameo appearance on Top Gear in 2007, during the British driver’s inaugural Formula One season. His Top Gear test track lap of 1:44.7 wouldn’t have been particularly impressive, except for the fact that the track was wet and the final corner, Gambon, was covered in oil from a grenaded gearbox.

Compared to other F1 stars, Hamilton wasn’t too far off the mark. Nigel Mansell managed a 1:44.6 on a dry track, while Hamilton’s former teammate, Jenson Button, produced a matching time of 1:44.7 on an exceptionally hot day. In the wet, with the track nearly underwater, Kimi Raikkonen turned a lap in 1:46.1.

The fastest lap time among Formula One drivers was set by multiple world champion Sebastian Vettel, who cranked out a lap in 1:44.0. That time stood for two seasons, until Lewis Hamilton had a chance to reprise his role on the show. As Planet F1 tells us, Hamilton completed a lap in the Suzuki Liana (used by all F1 drivers) in a blistering 1:42.9, cutting an impressive 1.1 seconds off of Vettel’s previous record.

In fairness to Vettel, Hamilton was driving under clear and cool conditions, ideal for setting a high-speed lap (once the tires have heat in the, of course). Will Vettel have the opportunity to reprise his lap as well? How about Kimi Raikkonen lapping in the dry?

We’ll see the lap on BBC America next Monday, February 25, but the “behind the scenes” video below (from Top Gear’s Transmission blog) sets it up nicely.

Lewis Hamilton Signs His Name – With A McLaren MP4-12C: Video 4
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, F1, Kurt, lewis-hamilton, mclaren, McLaren MP4-12C, video on 10 4th, 2012

Lewis Hamilton, practicing penmanship with a lucky fan

Soon to be ex-McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton still has an obligation to the team’s sponsors through the end of the year, and one of those sponsors happens to be whiskey distiller Johnnie Walker. While in Singapore for last month’s grand prix race, Hamilton spent some time with Johnnie Walker employees and guests, in an effort to promote the company’s anti-drunk driving campaign.

Called “Join The Pact – Never Drink And Drive,” the campaign asks fans to “sign” a pledge against drunk driving on Facebook. Giving Hamilton a bit more latitude, he was asked to sign his name using a most unusual writing instrument – a McLaren MP4-12C. One lucky fan got to ride along as Hamilton worked on his drift skills, but the end result really didn’t look much like a signature to us. On the other hand, we’re pretty sure that Hamilton is faster around a road course than either Tanner Foust or Travis Pastrana.

We doubt that the Johnnie Walker sponsorship will follow Hamilton to Mercedes, which is kind of a shame. We’d pay money to see Hamilton sign his name in a mud pit using a Mercedes-Benz Unimog, or on a snow-covered frozen lake with an SLS AMG.

F1 Surprise: McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton Moving To Mercedes In 2013 28
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, F1, Formula-One, Kurt, lewis-hamilton, News on 09 28th, 2012

Lewis Hamilton – image: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

With just a few races remaining on the 2012 calendar, Formula One now heads into its “silly season,” where drivers on the bubble scramble to find rides for next year, while top-shelf stars near the end of existing contracts quietly shop their wares among other (presumably higher-paying) teams.

While rumors of Lewis Hamilton’s departure from McLaren have been circulating for months, it was hard to imagine the British driver moving to another squad. That’s why the news of Hamilton’s departure comes as such a surprise, especially since he’s headed to Mercedes (who currently supplies engines for McLaren). Taking Hamilton’s place alongside Jenson Button (who’s staying put for 2013) will be Sergio Perez, an impressive driver with lots of talent who has lacked a winning car to date.

As you may have guessed, Hamilton will be replacing Michael Schumacher at Mercedes, who will once again hang up his Nomex at the conclusion of the 2012 season. Hamilton will race alongside Nico Rosberg (a friend and former teammate from Hamilton’s karting days) at the Mercedes squad.

Perez’s departure leaves a vacancy at Sauber, a team that has shown a bit of promise in 2012. Don’t expect to see a big-name driver chosen to fill that seat, even though Ferrari’s Felipe Massa will likely be out of a job at the end of the season.

Is NASCAR’s Tony Stewart Headed To F1? 13
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, F1, Formula-1, Kurt, lewis-hamilton, Nascar, News, racing, Tony Stewart on 05 13th, 2011

'Remember, Tony, there's no bump drafting in F1.' Image: Exxon Mobil, via Autoblog

If you had to pick the two most diametrically opposed professional racing series in the world, chances are you’d go with NASCAR and F1. One series is the favorite of the blue collar, good ‘ol boy crowd, while the other is the darling of the uber-rich and beautiful. There’s no chance of finding caviar and foie gras in a NASCAR skybox, just as there’s no chance of finding pork rinds and corn dogs in Monaco. Even the style of racing is completely different, since NASCAR stockers are primitive, heavy beasts that require techniques like bump drafting to advance through the pack. Try bump drafting an F1 car, and your day will end in an expensive shower of carbon fiber.

That’s not enough to dissuade NASCAR’s Tony Stewart, who’s trading his Chevrolet Impala Sprint Cup car for a McLaren Mercedes MP4-23 (last year’s car). Likewise, McLaren Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton will be jumping into Stewart’s Impala for a few hot laps at Watkins Glen, as part of an exhibition sponsored by Mobil 1. The event will take place on June 14, but it’s not yet clear if it will be televised (although I’m sure we’ll see an edited version on YouTube). I’d call this advantage: Stewart, since the two-time Sprint Cup champion has some prior experience racing open wheel cars in the Indy Racing League. That’s not nearly the same as Formula 1, but at least Stewart has track time in a car with no fenders. I’m guessing that it’s been a long time since Hamilton has driven anything with a carburetor.

Both sports will return to normal post-exhibition, so don’t look for Stewart at Monaco (or Hamilton at Talladega) any time soon. Expect a good show, and we promise to post the highlights as soon as they’re up.

Source: Autoblog