Anticipation was high ahead of Lewis Hamilton's appearance on BBC
television's Top Gear
programme at the weekend, and Britain's latest Formula One
sensation did not disappoint.
Despite being confined to the popular show's Suzuki Liana 'reasonably priced car' - the pensioned-off model being resurrected so that Hamilton could challenge lap times posted by other F1 drivers on a level playing field - the 22-year old did not disappoint.
His task was made tougher by the fact the some traditional British weather decided to play its part in the run, and that an earlier track test had left liberal coatings of oil on the circuit, but Hamilton still managed to stun both the studio audience and those watching at home with a lap time not only faster than the only other wet-weather attempt - completed by Mark Webber
- but also Damon Hill's dry effort.
Hamilton appeared extremely relaxed in the cockpit, even singing to himself as he blasted through the faster parts of the route, but still managed to lap in 1min 44.7secs, equalling Jenson Button's dry effort and stopping the clocks only 0.1secs slower than Nigel Mansell had managed. Only the infamous Stig remained out of reach, the show's resident test driver having lapped in 1min 44.4secs....
The lap was shown as the climax of the show, which aired whilst Hamilton was making repeated trips to the stage at an awards ceremony in London on Sunday night, and featured amid an interview with presenter Jeremy Clarkson, in which the world championship runner-up skilfully avoided naming names when it came to picking a replacement for Fernando Alonso
Asked if every driver secretly wanted someone of inferior talent alongside, Hamilton deftly turned the tables by asking Clarkson if he wanted the job.....
For those who missed the show - and forgot to set whatever recording device resides in their home - or simply want to relive the moment, footage can be seen on www.youtube.com
Just type 'lewis hamilton, top gear'
into the search.
Alternatively, the lap can be seen on the BBC
Sport website here