News 12 Dec 2019

F1 champion Hamilton tests Rossi's Yamaha YZR-M1 in unique 'ride swap'

Rossi samples Hamilton's 2017 Mercedes-AMG Petronas W08 F1 car.

Image: Supplied.

Reigning Formula One (F1) world champion Lewis Hamilton has sampled Valentino Rossi’s Monster Energy Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP machine in a unique ‘ride swap’ at Valencia, where the latter also had the opportunity to drive Hamilton’s 2017 Mercedes-AMG Petronas W08 F1 car.

Hamilton, who rode a WorldSBK-spec Yamaha R1 last year with the Pata Yamaha squad, was onboard the M1 that Rossi piloted at Valencia’s MotoGP season finale, earning praise from the famous number 46.

“It’s so awesome to see a legend like Valentino in the car,” Hamilton commented. “I’m excited for him, for discovering the car for the first time. It reminds me of my first time in an F1 car.

“When you see all the team around you, it’s just a different animal. It was so cool to be out on track and see Valentino ahead of me on the same bike.”

Rossi is no stranger to driving an F1 car, having had opportunities to do so in a Ferrari from 2002 through to his last appearance in 2010.

“Technically, Valencia is a hard track and today was windy so at one point,” Rossi explained. “I thought it would be difficult for Lewis to continue, 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.

“I was a big fan of Lewis’ before but now I am even more. We had a fantastic day, where the two top classes of motorsports not only met, but worked together.

“I felt like a real F1 driver for a day. I didn’t want the day to end. I also rode the YZR-M1 on track with Lewis. It was a proud moment for the team to share our passion with him.”