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What do F1 stars drive when they’re not at work?

F1 stars drive the best cars on the planet most weekends, but what do they choose to drive away from the circuit?

The 2014 Formula 1 season is one of the most exciting we’ve had in some time, thanks to interesting new cars and tweaks to the rules, but it’s got us thinking; when F1 stars aren’t flying around a racetrack in multi-million pound speed machines, what are they driving? 

These chaps presumably know a thing or two about motors, so it’s probably worth taking a few tips from their off-circuit driving habits. We might not get a chance to take an F1 car for a spin round Silverstone like Lewis Hamilton but hey, we can at least drive like an off-duty F1 star, right? 

What does Lewis Hamilton drive?

Unfortunately, in the case of Lewis Hamilton, even that might be a stretch.  It turns out that Britain’s leading F1 star doesn’t tone it down much when he leaves the track, opting for a downtime drive that’s pretty much capable of Grand Prix speeds. The car in question is the Pagani Zonda 760 LH, and it is even more exclusive than an F1 car as it was built specifically for Lewis (hence the initials). Finished in purple inside and out, it packs a 760hp engine mated to a manual gearbox (as requested by Lewis). It’s basically a track car made road legal and will set you back a cool £1.5 million.

Happily, Hamilton’s other ride is reported to be a Mercedes GL450 SUV, hardly a budget option but rather more accessible than the Zonda. This beefy but refined cruiser certainly offers the off-duty racing driver the sort of space he must crave when he’s crammed into the cramped confines of an F1 car.   

What does Sebastian Vettel drive?

Space also seems to be something Sebastian Vettel craves. The current World Champion counts a Volkswagen Transporter T5 van among his diverse fleet of motors.  Apparently Vettel appreciates the practical appeal of this hefty VW transporter (which he picked up second-hand back in 2007). Its performance couldn’t contrast more starkly with the cars he drives for a living. 

2004-2010 Volkswagen Multivan TDI van 01 by OSX
2004-2010 Volkswagen Multivan TDI van 01 by OSX

Vettel, who has a reputation for being surprisingly down to earth considering the playboy lifestyle F1 drivers are expected to enjoy, also keeps things relatively modest with a Fiat 500. Interestingly, this stylish little supermini is a popular choice among F1 stars, although unlike some of his fellow Fiat fanciers, Vettel doesn’t drive for Fiat’s mother company Ferrari. 

If you fancy driving like the World Champion you can pick up a used VW T5 or Fiat 500 right here on Gumtree.  A recent T5 in good nick can be yours for about £15,000 and a 5-year-old 500 shouldn’t set you back much more than £5,000.    

What does Jarno Trulli drive?

Another proud owner of a Fiat 500 is the former F1 star Jarno Trulli, only the Italian ex-Toyota and Lotus stalwart opts for a classic 1964 Fiat Cinquencento.  This miniature marvel won’t give Trulli much more room than the cockpit of an F1 car but boasts bags of classic Italian style. It’s harder to come by than its more recent incarnation, but the classic Fiat 500 can nonetheless be found on sites like Gumtree.

"1970 Fiat 500 L -- 2011 DC 1" by IFCAR - Own work. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons -
“1970 Fiat 500 L — 2011 DC 1” by IFCAR – Own work. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons ––_2011_DC_1.jpg#mediaviewer/File:1970_Fiat_500_L_–_2011_DC_1.jpg

What does Daniel Ricciardo drive?

Another surprising choice comes courtesy of Red Bull’s up-and-coming young Aussie star Daniel Ricciardo who drives a 2006 Toyota Hilux when he’s back home in Perth. Ricciardo’s modest pickup shows yet again that away from the track F1 stars aren’t always looking for face-melting performance, and don’t mind a more mundane ride in the interests of practicality.  The Toyota Hilux is certainly a handy vehicle if you’ve got plenty of stuff to haul around (Ricciardo likes to chuck his dirt bike in the back) and this hardy pickup can be picked up for between £1,000 and £4,000 second hand.   

"Toyota Hilux Double Cab 3.0 D-4D front" by Matthias93 - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -
“Toyota Hilux Double Cab 3.0 D-4D front” by Matthias93 – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

What does Jenson Button drive?

There’s nothing practical about Button’s 1973 Porsche 911 2.7 Carrera, a rare and thrilling machine that befits a true motoring enthusiast. Button picked up this limited edition Porsche (only 1,590 were made) a few years back before selling it on again for the princely sum of £209,850. 


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