Lewis Hamilton and Valentino Rossi, giants in their motorsport disciplines completed their ride swap. The titanic rider swap, took place at Valencia’s Circuit Ricardo Tormo. Over the course of the day, Hamilton swapped his Mercedes for a Yamaha YZR-M1. It’s the 2019 race spec bike, used by Rossi during the 2019 MotoGP season. Rossi on the other hand, drove Hamilton’s Mercedes W08 car. It was Lewis Hamilton’s 2017 title winning car. It’s the first time a MotoGP rider took to the wheels of a F1 car, since 2018.
Having teased about this event for quite a while, Hamilton and Rossi came together on thanks to Monster Energy, a common sponsor for the two motorsport titans. Hamilton had been on track since Sunday, with current MotoGP rider, Franco Morbidelli. The former Moto2 Champion was assisting Hamilton in acclimatizing to a MotoGP spec bike and providing track insights. Hamilton was taking this swap seriously, aiming to put a good showing for Rossi and the world at large.
Interestingly enough, this was not the first time either sportsman had competed in a different breed of machine. Hamilton had tested Yamaha Superbike at Jerez Spain in 2018. Rossi isn’t a stranger to F1 cars. Back in 2006, Rossi participated in Formula One tests and had impressed Michael Schumacher. The German had gone as far to comment, that Valentino Rossi could make an easy transition to Formula One and would remain competitive. Rossi had a seat fitting for the occasion done in early December.
Over the course of the ride swap, track was beset with windy conditions. According to Rossi, while he worried Lewis might encounter a challenge with the windy conditions. However, the Briton surpassed the expectations of the MotoGP legend. When asked about Hamilton’s performance on his Yamaha F1, Rossi commented:
“But he was brilliant on the bike and his position on the M1 was great. I think he had loads of fun which is the main thing.”
High praise coming from MotoGP’s most successful rider. Hamilton on the other hand was delighted to share the track and bike with Rossi. Hamilton expressed his joy in seeing Rossi get behind the wheel of his 2017 car. It was the first time since 2010 since the Italian had stepped into a F1 car. The respect the men have between each other has surely gone up.
It certainly was a different to see the 44 of Lewis on a Bike and Rossi’s 46 on a F1 car. However, it’s still a sight to behold. Hopefully it can be the start of more ride swaps between Motorsports legends.