Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button needn’t bother applying for work as car mechanics should the day job driving F1 cars ever go south on them, if this new Vodafone video is anything to go by – but they might just find work as improvisational comedians.
Titled ‘Lewis and Jenson, one car, no team’, it shows the world championship leaders assembling one of their cars after their crew potters off mid-photocall for a cup of tea, leaving Lewis scratching his nose and Jense looking puzzled.
Head mechanic (walking off): See you later lads, good luck.
Lewis: They’re supposed to help us, no?
Jense: So we’ve got to do this on our own?
Lewis: Where’s the manual?
Anyone who remembers the spoof Martin Whitmarsh video the team released for the first Singapore night race, in which a team car was fitted with a bank of giant headlights, will recognise the low-key understated humour at work as the two drivers bolt bits onto the car, fit tyres, spill oil on the pristine floor of the McLaren Technology Centre and make each other tea.
Lewis: This is going quite well.
Jense: There is, er, something on the floor here.
Lewis: How do you take this out – oooh, crap.
Jense: Put it back in, put it back in.
While the video is obviously staged, it’s done with absolute conviction. McLaren staff and executives wander past and look on with entirely believable bemusement, both drivers are clearly having a lot of fun and Button, in particular, delivers a natural and unforced performance.
Jense: Shall we just not bother tightening that up?
Lewis: How does this go on?
Jense: Do you know where the little thingies are for it?
Finally, after giving various shout-outs to the crew that do this sort of thing full time – setting up sponsor Vodafone’s intended message of “Jenson and Lewis depend on their team – their team depends on our network” – they roll an alarmingly-creaking car back and deliver their own punchline at the expense of long-serving test driver Gary Paffett.
Jense: Mate, how cool is that?
Lewis: As you just demonstrated, it works.
Jense: It works!
Lewis: So, er…
Jense: Do you want to take it out first?
Lewis: Nah, I think we’ll leave Gary to do it.
Jense: That’s what test drivers are for, isn’t it?
Lewis: Yeah, exactly.
All good fun, and definitely in the tradition of other great ads featuring Hamilton such as the Airfix one and the joint effort with former team-mate Fernando Alonso for Mercedes.
That ad, relaxed though it seemed, turned out not to be any sort of accurate indication of how the two drivers were getting on as team-mates.
This one, on the other hand, suggests a relationship so laid back and matey that it can’t possibly be faked.