Part of being a top-flight sports star is presumably learning when to say no – and that’s a lesson which has come home to Lewis Hamilton after a stunt for sponsors left him red-faced and tongue-tied.
The McLaren driver recently found himself in full racing rig and dangling from a wire over a stage re-enactment of the Siege of Troy at a promotional event laid on by Vodafone before the Turkish Grand Prix.
The performance, in which he was described as looking like “a cross between Peter Pan and an astronaut” was part of the stage show Fires of Anatolia which is also sponsored by Vodafone.
The event was met by incredulity in Britain, with The Times review reading as follows: “In the pantheon of ridiculous publicity stunts, it may rate among the greatest.”
And Hamilton himself wasn’t too pleased, reportedly saying: “Let’s forget about that.
“I just turned up and got on with what I was told to do, but now I’ve seen the footage and it’s one of the worst things I’ve ever seen. It’s best if I stick to driving.”
At least the Grand Prix result put this firmly out of everyone’s minds. There is, naturally, a video out there in the wilds of the Internet, containing the immortal phrase “It’s not the traditional way to prepare for a big race, but 23-year-old Lewis Hamilton is considered a bit of a high flyer…”
Boom boom! You can see it here courtesy of the New Zealand Herald.
It shows a couple of intriguing things that none of the other coverage mentions – including Hamilton apparently doing a perfectly normal Q&A from the stage, and also trying out his sword-fighting skills with a cast member.
And, as silly sponsors’ stunts go, viewers might also enjoy the spectacle of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa apparently acting as petrol pump attendants on behalf of Shell.
So it’s not just Lewis, then.
Oh well. Lesson learned, hopefully. Monaco here we come.