Posted Feb 21st 2013 9:30AM
It appears that when Formula 1 racers have won it all in the form of F1 world championships, they move on to more jovial, juvenile matters - say, Top Gear's "Star in a Reasonably Priced Car" challenge. Top Gear has long had a separate time board for F1 drivers, since they evidently drive on a different planet from mere mortals.
Lewis Hamilton has twice taken a stab at the quickest time - his first attempt came in the wet wherein he managed a 1:44.7 around Top Gear's test track at the Dunsfold Airfield in the UK. Being a genuine racer, Hamilton wasn't satisfied with that time since Sebastian Vettel had set a quicker 1:44.0 - albeit in the dry. Making a second appearance on the show, Hamilton managed a dry lap time of 1:42.9 - besting Vettel's lap by a full second.
Previous F1 drivers to grace Top Gear's time board include Rubens Barrichello who managed a 1:44.3 and Nigel Mansell who did a 1:44.6.
And the "reasonably priced car" so savagely driven to the very limits of its physical being? A Suzuki Liana, which sports a very 'reasonable' 105 horsepower from its 1.6L inline 4.
"I'm really surprised," said Hamilton, "I was going to be disappointed in myself if I didn't do a competitive time." Unfortunately, this may be the last time the Brit manages any fastest laps for a while, as his recent move to Mercedes F1 team from McLaren F1 has lifted a few eyebrows - the Mercedes team has only won 1 race since 2010, while McLaren have consistently been fighting for titles while winning races.
To watch Hamilton's record setting Top Gear lap time along side Vettel's, click past the jump.