Sixteen world titles, two motorsport icons, and one circuit.
To celebrate the anniversary of seven-time Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton and nine-time Motorcycle Grand Prix World Champion Valentino Rossi trading race machinery, Monster Energy have released an in depth second instalment of the acclaimed “The Switch” a.k.a #LH44VR46.
Hit play to delve behind the scenes, and check out never-before-seen footage of Lewis getting up to speed with the awesome Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP bike, and Valentino finding the limits of the title winning Mercedes AMG?F1 W08?EQ Power+.
Naturally, it was a task that neither champion took lightly. Lewis, who is a self-confessed bike fan, having previously enjoyed numerous bike track-days, as well as fronting his own signature line of Italian superbikes, said:
“I’ve always been fascinated by bikes, and how MotoGP can find these crazy limits of speed and what a man and a motorcycle can actually do. This whole experience has just been absolutely incredible. Even though I’ve been riding bikes for the last couple of years, this was something else. Just to see the legend on track in front of me, and to be riding his bike was out of this world.”
Of course for Valentino, the occasion was equally momentous. Rossi headed into the landmark seat swap arguably even more prepared than Hamilton. The 41 year old Italian legend has logged over a 1,000km in F1 machinery over a series of invitational tests since 2004.
In 2006 Rossi nearly made a complete switch from two to four wheels following a series of pre-season evaluation tests with Ferrari. Rossi’s last test in an F1 car came at the Catalunya circuit in 2010, when he drove an 2008-spec Ferrari on GP2 tyres. He was approached to replace the then injured Felipe Massa at the 2009 Italian Grand Prix, but ultimately turned down the offer as he’d have no track time prior to the event and was still fighting for that year’s MotoGP title.
This was however Rossi’s best and most recent opportunity to sample modern turbo-hybrid era F1 power, and the Doctor was near lost for words, saying: “It’s been unbelievable. For me and for Lewis it’s a great emotion. I feel like a Formula 1 driver for one day! The car was just fantastic – a great honour to drive!”