Lewis Hamilton had dinner with Hollywood star Brad Pitt ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix – as the pair continue to plan their Formula 1 blockbuster.
Hamilton, 37, is producing a new film which stars Pitt as a former driver who comes out of retirement to train up-and-coming talent.
Apple bought the film rights with a reported budget of US$140m (£125m).
Tucked away in a private room at Eddie V’s Prime Seafood restaurant in downtown Austin on Thursday evening, Hamilton and Pitt, 58, were joined by Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff and F1 CEO, Stefano Domenicali.
Greg Maffei, CEO of Liberty Media – the US company that owns F1 – was present, as were Hamilton’s father Anthony and stepmother Linda. Joseph Kosinski – the man behind Top Gun: Maverick, who will direct the F1 film – was also seated at the table.
Pitt then met the other grid crew chiefs at Circuit of the Americas on Friday to brief them on the film that F1 bosses hope will be as successful as the popular Netflix series Drive to Survive.
For Hamilton, who is used as a consultant for the film, he has returned to the more familiar surroundings of his Mercedes cockpit to practice at a track he has won five times.
But the British driver is running out of time to ensure his record of winning at least one race in every season he has competed in remains intact.
There are only four rounds left of a championship sewn by Max Verstappen of Red Bull a fortnight ago in Japan.
Mercedes have brought more upgrades to America than any other team, with a new front and rear wing, plus a revised floor pan to provide Hamilton with hope he has the machines to challenge Verstappen and his all-conquering team. Red Bull have won the last seven races this season.
However, the seven-time world champion is aware there have been false auroras before.
“We’re going to try everything, like we always do,” Hamilton said. “But I don’t want to kid myself.
“A lot of work has gone into the upgrade as always, and I’m really, really proud of everyone for the work that’s been done.
“But in the past we expected it to bring a tenth or a second and then we struggle to extract that, so I just keep an open mind.”