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Watch Lewis Hamilton kicking back with his favourite PS1 classics

Don't worry, he can't do that tutorial mission in Driver either

Published: 18 Apr 2024

It’s taken 25 long, humiliating years, but finally everyone who tried and failed to get past the opening ‘training’ mission in Driver on the original PlayStation now has their moment of vindication. Turns out seven-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton can’t do it either.

In a video named ‘Lewis Hamilton plays retro games from his childhood’ published by the Merc-AMG F1 team, Hamilton cosies up with a vintage PlayStation and some all-timers from racing games past. Including the notoriously challenging undercover cop title, Driver.

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Developed by Reflections Interactive and released back in 1999, it’s a story-led driving game that has you tailing perps, casing out various joints, and other things that TV cops might have said in the ‘70s.

But many of us never got to see that far, including one of the most dominant F1 drivers in history.

The game’s first mission is intended as a tutorial that teaches you the driving techniques you’ll need throughout the game. Perform various handbrake turns and slaloms through an underground car park, check all the manoeuvres off the list before the timer expires and without hitting any parked vehicles, and you’re free to advance to, you know, the actual game.

Trouble is, in practice it’s nigh-impossible to do everything within the time limit. Especially considering that this is the very first thing the game asks you to do, with no feel for the handling model or familiarity with the controls. No, Reflections, this was so not right.

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So it’s edifying to see a man of Hamilton’s generational talents also struggling to handbrake turn an old muscle car around a grotty old car park.

In the same video, Hamilton reveals that his parents clubbed together to buy him a PlayStation for Christmas. He wanted a new helmet instead, so they took it back to the shop and bought the helmet instead – which his dad painted for him by hand.

How many WDCs might Valtteri Bottas have to his name today if Lewis had elected to keep the console instead? We can only speculate.

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