Throwback: When Tony Stewart and F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton Swapped Cars

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November 29, 2020 6:10 pm

In sport, it isn’t uncommon for athletes from one discipline to dabble in another sport. The same kind of crossovers happen in motorsport as well. Back in 2011, F1 star Lewis Hamilton and NASCAR driver Tony Stewart decided to swap rides for the fun of it.

The two drivers were at the Watkins Glen International circuit for a Mobil 1 event. Hamilton drove the #14 Chevrolet, while Stewart had a go in Hamilton’s title-winning McLaren MP4-23. This was the first time Hamilton was racing in a stock car, and Stewart’s maiden run in an F1 car.

On that day, Mother Nature was hugely uncooperative, as there was a bit of a drizzle. Luckily, everyone came prepared with sets of rain tires at the storied road course. Hamilton ventured out first in his own car and showed off for the cheering fans. After completing two laps, he returned to the pits as the track began to dry.

JEREZ DE LA FRONTERA, SPAIN – JANUARY 16: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and McLaren Mercedes in action during a test at the Circuito de Jerez on January 16, 2008, in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Then it was Stewart’s turn, but he needed a few more laps to get used to the track. Although Stewart boasted of five Cup victories at The Glen, NASCAR raced on the 2.4-mile short course, which eliminates a few sections.

After this, Lewis Hamilton and Tony Stewart swapped drives

The now seven-time world champion confessed that he never thought that he would drive a NASCAR machine. Even Tony Stewart felt a little out of his depth, though for more reasons. As it turns out, Stewart has raced just once in wet conditions, and his simulator did not have a rain program.

The Briton entertained the crowd with a burnout after leaving pit road and racked up six laps. He also admitted that it was one of the coolest things he dabbled in outside Formula One. Stewart couldn’t help but smile when he saw Hamilton, because he knew that the British driver was having fun.

In the F1 car, Stewart had little trouble adjusting to the F1 car, as he won an IndyCar Series title in 1999. Despite a bit of a struggle to exit the pit lane, he did four laps and clocked in a best time of 1:42 in the tricky conditions. What made it even more amazing was the fact that he was eight seconds faster than Hamilton.

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