Lewis Hamilton dined with Hollywood star Brad Pitt ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix – as the two men continue to plot their Formula One blockbuster.
Hamilton, 37, is producing a new movie which stars Pitt as a former driver who comes out of retirement to coach an up-and-coming talent.
Apple has bought the rights to the film with a reported budget of 140million US dollars (£125m).
Tucked away inside a private room at Eddie V’s Prime Seafood Restaurant in downtown Austin on Thursday night, Hamilton and Pitt, 58, were joined by Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff and F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali.
Greg Maffei, CEO of Liberty Media – the American company which owns F1 – was in attendance, as were Hamilton’s father, Anthony and stepmother, Linda. Joseph Kosinski – the man behind Top Gun: Maverick, who will direct the F1 movie – also sat at the table.
Pitt then met with the grid’s other team principals at the Circuit of the Americas on Friday to brief them about the film F1 bosses hope will prove as successful as the popular Netflix Drive to Survive series.
For Hamilton, who is being used as a consultant for the movie, he returned to more familiar surroundings of his Mercedes cockpit for practice at a track he has won on five occasions.
But the British driver is running out of time to ensure his record of winning at least one race in each season he has competed in remains intact.
Just four rounds remain of a championship sewn up by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen a fortnight ago in Japan.
Mercedes have brought more upgrades to America than any other team, with a new front and rear wing, as well as a revised floor to provide Hamilton with an expectation he has the machinery to challenge Verstappen and his all-conquering team. Red Bull have won the past seven races this season.
However, the seven-time world champion is aware there have been false dawns before.
“We are going to try everything, as we always do,” said Hamilton. “But I don’t want to get my hopes up.
“A lot of work has gone into the upgrade as it always does, and I’m really, really proud of everybody for the work that has gone in.
“But in the past we have had expectations that it will bring a tenth or a second, and then we struggle to extract that, so I’m just keeping an open mind.”
Hamilton finished third in opening practice, half-a-second off the pace. Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz took top spot ahead of Verstappen.
The day’s second session was largely meaningless with the grid trialling next year’s tyres. Charles Leclerc ended the 90-minute running at the top of the order as Ferrari completed a practice double.