Seven-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton has let his hair down by hooning a cult classic sports car in Japan – drawing the ire of the company which claims to own the vehicle.
Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton has landed in hot water after posting footage online of himself performing ‘donuts’ in Japan in a rented Nissan Skyline GT-R performance car – allegedly without permission from its owners.
On social media platform Instagram, Hamilton uploaded a video – captioned, “I only like to drive on track, but I make exceptions” – showing him driving through tunnels at speed and doing donuts in the rented Japanese cult classic sports car.
Hamilton’s hoon antics caused smoke to emanate from the Nissan Skyline GT-R’s transmission tunnel, with the Formula One race winner later remarking, “something is not right with this car”.
While the post has received almost 1.75 million ‘likes’ on Instagram, a Twitter account, claiming to be the Japanese company which loaned the car to Hamilton, has criticised the Briton for breaking its rental rules.
Omoshiro Rent-A-Car (username @info82262789) posted on Twitter: “This is a car from Omoshiro Rent-A-Car, but it was not taken with permission from our company. Such driving is strictly prohibited.”
The Japanese company’s rental terms and conditions include provisions that drivers cannot use its cars for “improper purposes” or in instances where the driving would be considered illegal.
If Hamilton and his videographer are found to have performed the burnouts on a public road without permission from the relevant authorities, the Mercedes-AMG F1 driver would be in violation of this rental agreement.
On its website, Omoshiro Rent-A-Car lists a Nissan Skyline GT-R which is identical to the one Hamilton was filmed in, available for rent from 34,500 Japanese Yen ($AU372) per night.
According to CarBuzz, Omoshiro Rent-A-Car has told the North American publication it cannot disclose further information regarding the incident, citing legal advice from its attorneys.
Despite Hamilton’s reported annual salary of £40 million per year – equivalent to approximately $AU72 million – the championship-winning driver has previously claimed he does not drive his own cars, reportedly wanting to reduce his carbon footprint.
While Hamilton is regarded as one of the greatest drivers in Formula One history – holding the record for wins (103) and tying German F1 legend Michael Schumacher on seven world championships – the Briton has previously come under fire for how he drives off the track.
Just two days before the 2010 Australian Grand Prix, Hamilton was pulled over by Victorian police after performing a burnout in St Kilda in a Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, which was owned by Mercedes-Benz Australia.
The car was impounded by Victoria Police and Hamilton was subsequently fined $500.
In December 2007, Hamilton was caught speeding at 196km/h on a French motorway, resulting in a one-month ban from driving in the country.