One of the more amusing parts of Sky Sports’ coverage of the pre-season test in Bahrain was an array of stories about any peculiar encounters with Formula 1 drivers, particularly in lifts.
The conversation started when David Croft recalled meeting Fernando Alonso in their hotel on day two of testing when the Spaniard was set to watch teammate Esteban Ocon take the wheel of the Alpine for the day’s running, and he recounts that the Spaniard said nothing to him on the way down.
However, when they exited the lift, the double world champion said “morning” before heading off to his car to head to the circuit.
Fans then flooded in to reveal their encounters with racing drivers, with Davidson once being spotted outside a supermarket wearing a sling after a nasty crash, and having received a wave from the fan, he gave them a shrug back with his injured arm.
The former Super Aguri driver had a story of his own from Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas at the 2019 US Grand Prix when he got into a lift with some American race fans, but they did not actually recognise him as an F1 driver.
“One of the best stories I’ve ever heard from a driver – from Bottas in fact, it was him telling us this story – so in Austin two years ago, some American fans get into the lift with him and they see the Mercedes kit he’s wearing,” he said.
They then went on to ask him about his role within the paddock, and a hilarious if not awkward conversation ensued.
“They asked him ‘what do you do?’ and you don’t want to say ‘I’m the driver’ so he just said ‘I work with the team,’ and he asked them ‘who do you want to win?” he recalled.
“’[They said] oh [Sir] Lewis Hamilton, yeah [he’s] great, yeah we can’t remember the other guy, but Lewis Hamilton what a great guy, we hope he wins,’ and they asked him ‘who do you want to win?’ and he says ‘the other guy,’” leading to an eruption of laughter from Croft.
As it was that weekend, Bottas won the race, but the seventh win of his career was not enough to stop teammate Sir Lewis Hamilton claiming his sixth world title in 2019, and he was crowned champion with his second-placed finish.
The Finn has now joined Alfa Romeo ahead of the new season alongside rookie Guanyu Zhou, while the 37-year-old has been partnered by compatriot George Russell.