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Neil Mitchell’s hot lap at Sandown

Neil Mitchell
Article image for Neil Mitchell’s hot lap at Sandown

A hot lap with a very good race driver is a thing of beauty.

Two hot laps is a symphony.

Yes, I like being driven fast by people who know how to drive and are on a controlled race track.

The driver is like a conductor, controlling every movement of the vehicle in a way that defies comprehension and at times the laws of physics.

Our hot laps with the Mercedes chief instructor Peter Hackett came after Tuesday’s program.

WATCH below as Neil takes a spin at Sandown

Helmets were essential, as was a firm grip on the various support struts in the car.

Hackett talked us through his braking, his cornering, the stability of the car.

Some action with the traction control on, some with it off.

The first thing you notice is how your head jerks forward with the extreme braking.

Then, your body is thrown around in the corners. It is enthralling, stimulating, intriguing.

For the uninitiated it is a little frightening. I have done many such hot laps, including with then formula one driver Mark Webber.

I know how it feels and I love how it feels. I wish I could do it myself but know these men are real experts, the peak of their job.

I have as much hope of driving like that as I have of playing football like Nathan Fyfe.

When you finish, you know more about the car and more about the man.

Any driver who has ever taken me on such a lap finishes wanting more.

Even Webber was like that. They drive laps all day and still want more.

They love the speed and the control and the challenge, even when there is no race.

If ever you get the chance, don’t be reluctant.

Yes, it can be confronting. But it is enormous fun.

Neil Mitchell