Damon Hill's racing return

Damon Hill returned to motorised competition on Saturday. The 1996 Formula 1 World Champion hopped into a Honda Formula 4-Stroke Powerboat and after a scant 20 minutes of acclimatisation raced it off Cowes

Damon Hill's racing return

With seven-times powerboat world champion Steve Curtis as navigator [the driver has all the controls in this class] Hill recovered from startline confusion, and early laps at the back, to move up through the field to fifth from nine-starters.

After the race, Curtis was full of praise. "If he were to do another race now," he said, "I'm sure he'd finish top three, and the top three drivers in this series [in which all drivers have equal machinery] are good." After the race Hill told Nick Phillips how he got on.



Absolutely. Well, it wasn't so much fun as terrifying. I ended up losing too many places at the start, and from what I hear the start was badly-conducted, so I'm blaming that.



Yeah, very exciting, very exhilarating and bracing, particularly bracing. I got soaked. The rain was torrential and at one time we got behind another boat and it was like someone turning a fireman's hose on you. You can't see a thing and I think it lived up to all of its reputation - getting soaked and tearing up tenners and all that.



It felt very fast. The problem is it gets airborne all the time and you don't know whether you're going to land sideways or on the nose first. It's a bit like moto-cross but with no suspension. I reckon the physical punishment your back takes is actually worse than in F1. They do get into tank-slappers too and it really feels like you're going over.



Well, I was trusting Steve's judgement on this. I thought that if he doesn't say anything, it'll be fine, but after I got out, he said that perhaps we should have lifted off for a couple of those waves - like the wake from the supertanker that we nearly hit, that was one to lift on apparently.



There was one guy sailing his boat, just out for a morning sail and suddenly there were about 20 boats going past him on either side. There's no track discipline out there.



If there is, I didn't find it. It was just keep your foot in and try not to scrub too much speed off.



No. It was just for fun and the thrill, a one-off. I might have another go at something, but something different. The thing is to do as many different things as possible. I love boats, water and anything to do with the sea.

shares
comments
Pollock out, Green in at BAR?

Previous article

Pollock out, Green in at BAR?

Next article

Diniz tipped to replace Heidfeld at Prost

Diniz tipped to replace Heidfeld at Prost
Load comments
The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break Plus

The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break

OPINION: Formula 1 is about to break up for summer 2021, with the title battles finely poised. But it’s not just the latest round of Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton that will be worth watching this weekend in Hungary, as plenty of drivers are eying big results to change the stories of their seasons so far

How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Plus

How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but 
flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

Formula 1
Jul 27, 2021
The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address Plus

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address

OPINION: Changes to the layout of Abu Dhabi’s circuit aim to reverse the trend of insipid Formula 1 races there - the promoter has even described one of the new corners as “iconic”. And that, argues STUART CODLING, is one of this venue’s abiding failings

Formula 1
Jul 26, 2021
How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't Plus

How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't

Last year's Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott could be on his way to becoming the first Briton to contest a grand prix in an Alfa Romeo since Reg Parnell in 1950. But, says OLEG KARPOV, the Ferrari Driver Academy protege is having to temper his ambition at the moment – outwardly at least…

Formula 1
Jul 25, 2021
The signs that point to F1's rude health Plus

The signs that point to F1's rude health

OPINION: Formula 1's calendar might still be facing disruption as the pandemic affects travel but, says MARK GALLAGHER, the business itself is fundamentally strong thanks to the epic rivalry taking place on track and the consistent arrival of new sponsors

Formula 1
Jul 24, 2021
The unexpected benefit of F1’s sprint race repeat Plus

The unexpected benefit of F1’s sprint race repeat

OPINION: Formula 1's sprint race trial at Silverstone drew mixed feedback on Saturday, but there remained the true test of how it would impact Sunday's Grand Prix. While fans were busy marvelling at Fernando Alonso's progress, a key lesson was being learned that would directly contribute to the dramatic lap one clash at Copse the following day

Formula 1
Jul 22, 2021
The off-track considerations that led to F1’s Hamilton/Verstappen Silverstone shunt Plus

The off-track considerations that led to F1’s Hamilton/Verstappen Silverstone shunt

OPINION: Formula 1’s 2021 title fight turned ugly last weekend when Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collided at the start of the British Grand Prix. Verstappen thankfully walked away unharmed, but this had been a clash long-since coming

Formula 1
Jul 21, 2021
Will 2022's all-new cars look like F1's concept model? Plus

Will 2022's all-new cars look like F1's concept model?

Formula 1 provided its clearest example yet of what the 2022 cars are set to look like when it presented a full-scale concept to the world during the build-up to last weekend’s British Grand Prix. Underneath the special shiny livery was a design that hinted at the future, but teams will be digging into key areas that may reap differing results

Formula 1
Jul 20, 2021