“Acting is completely different from what we normally do,” says Lewis, “But you get into it. When the cameras are rolling it's almost like driving your race car – you hit your marks and it's all about timing.”
“The only thing I found tricky with this one,” says Jenson after completing his shots, “Is that when you're talking to the camera through an invisible screen, you find yourself wondering if you're cross-eyed!”
Having arrived at 11.30am, Jenson and Lewis have worked through their shot list by 3pm. And while the London Grand Prix by Santander is a fantasy – a vision of what a Formula One race in the capital would look like – both the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes drivers would race here tomorrow if they could.
“We all love street circuits like Monaco,” says Jenson. “This is obviously very different because it's more open. It's stop-start in places, like Singapore, but as a driver you can still have a lot of fun on circuits like this, as well as the ones that are more fast and rolling. Overtaking can be difficult, like in Singapore, but it's still a real buzz to drive on the streets, especially in London and its been a great project to work with Santander and make this vision real.”
“I'm really impressed with the detail that's gone into planning the circuit. They've taken everything into account, even down to fitting the garages and hospitality around the trees. Working it out in the simulator was a blast, you really felt like you were going over 190mph down the Santander straight. This circuit is utterly epic,” says Lewis.
Although the live action portion is in the can, the special effects technicians have had nearly three months of intensive post-production work befitting of a Hollywood blockbuster to bring the vision of the London Grand Prix by Santander alive.
There are voiceovers to add, too, courtesy of Sky Sports F1's commentary team of Martin Brundle and David Croft.
“Delivering an event within an existing city is a lot more sophisticated than just sitting down with a copy of the A-Z,” says Populous architect John Rhodes. “We mapped out some of London's most recognised places and landmarks and then worked out how we would integrate them within the layout. The design process was driven by the twin requirements of creating an exciting circuit and giving the best view of the iconic places associated with it.”
“We surveyed the site very carefully so that the plan would be achievable for real. You wouldn't have to remove a single tree,” he adds.
Despite being a mere 240 seconds in all its finished glory, the London Grand Prix by Santander represents the skill and experience of some of the UK's leading talent, fused from the worlds of Formula 1 to CGI movie-making, to bring alive the fantasy of a London Megarace.
Feature provided by Santander