Lewis Hamilton was a surprise guest at this year’s National TV Awards, where he appeared to hand over a special award to Top Gear presenter and newspaper columnist Jeremy Clarkson.
The F1 star was reportedly smuggled into the Royal Albert Hall in London, venue for the ceremony, through an underground car park to keep his presence a secret until the moment he appeared on stage.
Clarkson, when he had overcome his amazement at being confronted with both the award and with Hamilton, collected himself enough to ask: “Are you really going to Switzerland? There are 187 countries in the world. But Switzerland, for goodness sake?”
Hamilton, who confirmed that he’d always been a big fan of Top Gear, was forced to admit that, yes, the reports were true.
He said: “Top Gear was always my favourite programme growing up, still is. I share the same passions as Jeremy â€” fast cars, their speed and grace. He always makes me laugh.
“He always has something funny to say, except when he makes jokes about me.”
He had the satisfaction of provoking a rare moment of speechlessness from Clarkson, whose signature show picked up an award in its own right, as most popular factual show, for the second year running.
Clarkson joked that he’d like to thank fellow presenters James May and Richard Hammond “without whom actually this still would have been possible”.
He added that the show’s recent ratings dip could be easily corrected if Hammond would agree to suffer another spectacular accident: “We could have the ratings back up if Richard took one for the team.”
* Hamilton’s hardly been out of the newspapers recently – and the latest announcement is that he’s slated to star in a video game.
He has reportedly signed a £5 million deal with top games developer Electronic Arts centred on a title which should premier next year on the Xbox and Playstation platforms.