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Hamilton and NASCAR's Stewart swap seats at Watkins Glen 15 Jun 2011

(L to R): Lewis Hamilton (GBR) and Tony Stewart (USA). Lewis Hamilton & Tony Stewart Car Swap, Watkins Glen International, New York, USA, Tuesday 14 June 2011. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) prepares to take to the track in the Chevrolet Monte Carlo NASCAR. Lewis Hamilton & Tony Stewart Car Swap, Watkins Glen International, New York, USA, Tuesday 14 June 2011. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) burns a donut in Tony Stewart's #14 Chevrolet after finishing his drive on the Watkins Glen International Circuit Lewis Hamilton & Tony Stewart Car Swap, Watkins Glen International, New York, USA, Tuesday 14 June 2011. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-23 passes Tony Stewart (USA) in his Chevrolet at the beginning of the driving stints. Lewis Hamilton & Tony Stewart Car Swap, Watkins Glen International, New York, USA, Tuesday 14 June 2011.

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton got the chance to try out some rather different high-speed machinery on Tuesday when he traded cars with double NASCAR Sprint Cup series champion Tony Stewart during a special promotional event organised by Mobil 1, at the Watkins Glen International circuit.

Hamilton took charge of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet Impala NASCAR stock car at the American venue, while Stewart tried out McLaren’s MP4-23. Both the drivers enjoyed a few laps of the 3.4-mile, 11-turn track.

“I’d always wondered what it would be like to get behind the wheel of a NASCAR stock car, because it’s such a completely different experience from driving a Formula One car,” said Hamilton. “Thanks to Mobil 1, I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity today - not only did I get the chance to drive the car of Tony Stewart, a double NASCAR champion, but I also got to share that experience by giving him the chance to drive my Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula One car too.

“NASCAR is a different world. Driving the No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet was a massive change from what I’m used to, but Tony was an excellent teacher and I quickly found a good rhythm - those cars are raw and powerful! They’re fantastic fun to drive. It was a great day at Watkins Glen - this is a circuit with a great deal of Formula One history behind it: Emerson Fittipaldi won McLaren their first drivers’ and constructors’ titles here back in 1974 and it’s been fantastic to come here and take in some of that history.”

Stewart commented: “I’ve always been intrigued by the open wheel cars in Formula One racing. Feeling the power behind the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-23 was amazing and being able to take it for a ride around the course in front of a crowd of avid race fans at a track like The Glen made it even more special. An experience that I’ll never forget.”

A crowd of enthusiastic motorsport fans were in the stands to watch the swap.

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