Watch: “I Still Pay the Cheques” – 12 Years Ago Lewis Hamilton’s Ultimate NASCAR Crossover Left Tony Stewart Jaw Dropped

Published 11/20/2023, 4:50 AM EST

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The amalgam of Formula 1 and NASCAR has been on display often. While fans of the two sports have been claiming bragging rights since time immemorial, the drivers have seldom been shy to profess their love for each other. Among the F1 drivers who have openly shown interest in NASCAR, 7-time champion Lewis Hamilton surely leads the list.

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In 2011, Hamilton decided to take a turn in 3-time Cup Series champion Tony Stewart’s #14 Chevy Impala. Tony didn’t miss the chance to enter Lewis’ Formula 1 vehicle either. In a situation where the best of both worlds collaborated, let us look at how the meeting unfolded.

Tony Stewart in awe of Lewis Hamilton in his #14 Impala

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F1 and NASCAR vehicles differ a lot. From weight to speed to handling, various factors come in when making a switch. For Lewis Hamilton, the primary adjustment had to be in weight. Formula 1 cars are much lighter, and that allows them to reach breakneck speeds in a short period. The weight also plays a major factor in corners and exits.

However, for the winningest driver in Formula 1 history, adapting to it was not the hardest thing to do. When asked about his views on Lewis probably performing better than Tony in his car, Tony Stewart sarcastically smiled and said, “Don’t worry, I still pay the cheques on it, so I’m pretty sure I’m all set there. But now he’s doing a really good job. It’s fun. He’s out there chatting on the radio and having a big time, so that’s what it’s all about.”

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Speaking about the Mercedes driver’s quick adaptation, Tony added, “The hard part is I don’t have a monitor to see his lap. It’s killing me. I want to watch his laps running around there because you can tell it’s drying out, and it’s getting some of the grip back. I can promise you he is hustling as hard as he can, so it’s fun watching him here because he’s given a hundred percent on the exits for sure.”

Tony was gearing up to race in Hamilton’s McLaren after the turn of events. On being questioned if he could replicate Lewis Hamilton in the F1 car, he raised his hands to surrender and replied, “I’m not even going to try to beat him in this. I’m gonna go have fun.”

It is great to see two motorsports legends test each other’s skills on the track. Could this be one of the sessions that made Lewis fall in love with NASCAR? Maybe or maybe not.

Hamilton’s open to competing in stock car racing

Earlier this year in May, Lewis Hamilton reminisced about his experience in a NASCAR car alongside Tony Stewart. Before moving to the Miami GP, Hamilton recollected his expertise at the Watkins Glen as he said, “I did a car swap with Tony Stewart years ago, which was fun,”

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NASCAR being limited to North America could be another reason Hamilton might try his hand at the Cup Series professionally. He has also spoken previously on the contrasting cultures between NASCAR and F1. Formula 1 has become a global sport with races worldwide in a season and is arguably the most followed by motorsport.

Speaking on the confusion of the general American public about F1 racing, he said, “They’re like, ‘oh, is that NASCAR?’ And I’m like, ‘no, it’s so much different to NASCAR!”

As for getting into the sport in the latter stages of his glorious career, the 38-year-old commented, “I’d love to try it at some stage. It’s not a dream for me to go race another series, but I am an admirer. I’m a fan of racing and other sports. So I would like to try it.”

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It would be great to see someone of his caliber in the Cup Series. NASCAR fans have seen former F1 champions Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen race the ovals of the Cup and would be more than excited to have Hamilton’s presence among them.

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Written by:

Ansuman Abhisek

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One take at a time

I instantly fell in love with the sport as I witnessed the cars' breakneck speeds and the robust nature of the sport and its drivers. As I had a deep-rooted interest in automobiles, the sport naturally piqued my interest in a jiffy. Kyle Busch and his cutthroat style of racing played an important role in getting me hooked to stock car racing as I hopped on streams to watch him win races.
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Edited by:

Ariva Debnath

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