Formula One may be in Miami, Florida for the Miami Grand Prix this weekend, but for a brief moment during a Thursday media session, seven-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton had NASCAR on the brain. Hamilton told reporters that while he doesn't plan on making the jump to the premier stock car racing series anytime soon, he would be interested in giving it a go sometime in the future.
"I did a car swap with Tony Stewart years ago, which was fun," Hamilton said. "I'd love to try it at some stage. It's not a dream for me to go race another series, but I am an admirer. I'm a fan of racing and other sports. So I would like to try it."
The car swap between Hamilton and Stewart was at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York in 2011. So a lot of time has passed since then. That wasn't the only time Hamilton has been around NASCAR, as he was also a guest at Jeff Gordon's final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2015.
If Hamilton ever does try running in an Xfinity Series or Cup Series race, he will join other former F1 champions who have already given it a shot, including two this season alone. Former F1 champions Kimi Räikk?nen and Jenson Button both ran in the Cup race at Circuit of the Americas earlier this season. Button finished 18th, while Räikk?nen ended the day in 29th. That race marked the second Cup start with Trackhouse Racing's Project 91 car. Räikk?nen made his debut in the Cup Series at Watkins Glen in 2022.
Button, the 2009 F1 champion, is scheduled to run three more Cup races this season. He will be behind the wheel of a Rick Ware Racing car in the inaugural Chicago Street Race in July, and then again at the Indianapolis Road Course in August. Button is also part of the Garage 56 NASCAR entry for Le Mans in June.
Hamilton has shown an interest not just in NASCAR but also in other forms of motorsport including Moto GP.
"I'd love to swap with Valentino Rossi and try Moto GP," Hamilton said. "I sometimes watch IndyCar and would love to try one of those at some stage. But right now my focus is solely on Formula One, and I don't plan on leaving anytime soon."
Some drivers in NASCAR have different thoughts about drivers from other series making starts in the top series. Denny Hamlin, for example, said before Räikk?nen's Cup debut that he didn't view F1 drivers as being legit contenders in NASCAR.
Trackhouse Racing sure sees something in the former world champions, and there is nothing wrong with that. I see it as something good for NASCAR. Cup drivers are getting an opportunity to jump into IndyCars and IMSA cars. What is so wrong with the guys from F1 or any other form of racing getting an opportunity to try NASCAR? Honestly, the sport needs to see more of it. When is Helio Castroneves going to get a shot?
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