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Page last updated at 22:01 GMT, Sunday, 2 December 2007

Hamilton takes Top Gear challenge

Lewis Hamilton and The Stig
Lewis Hamilton squares up to resident Top Gear driver The Stig

Formula One star Lewis Hamilton swapped his multi-million pound, 230mph McLaren to drive a modest family car for BBC Two's Top Gear show on Sunday.

Hamilton got behind the wheel of a Suzuki Liana and took on the mark of Top Gear's resident driver The Stig.

The 22-year-old's lap was 0.3 seconds behind The Stig's blistering best of one minute 44.4 seconds and also behind former F1 world champion Nigel Mansell.

However, Hamilton's lap came in wet conditions, unlike the other two.

And that effectively meant it was the fastest of all.

Hamilton was faster than former Formula One world champion Damon Hill as well as current stars Jenson Button and Mark Webber, who have already taken part in the programme's "star in a reasonably priced car" feature.

The Englishman said he would come back on to the show to have a go on a dry track.

The select group of racing drivers is pitted in a separate category to stars such as Hugh Grant, Simon Cowell, Ellen MacArthur and Gordon Ramsay who have all taken the challenge in the past.

Hamilton, who narrowly failed to win the world championship in his rookie season after losing out to Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen by one point, also went head-to-head with presenter Jeremy Clarkson in a studio interview.

The McLaren driver talked about the thrill of crashing and how he still cannot avoid his dad's driving tips.

"He truly believes he's a better driver than me and that if he had been given the opportunity, he would be in F1 right now," said Hamilton, who also admitted it has been his dream to appear on the show.

Elsewhere in the interview, Clarkson asked who Hamilton would want to be his team-mate next year and speculated he presumably wanted someone useless - to which Hamilton answered: "Do you want a go?"

see also
F1's new star - and it's not the champ
21 Oct 07 |  Formula One
Formula One hits new heights
21 Oct 07 |  Formula One
Raikkonen pips Hamilton to title
21 Oct 07 |  Formula One
Hamilton makes dream start
02 Oct 07 |  Formula One

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