Watch F1 drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell toy around at the AMG Playground



There are 23 Formula 1 races scheduled for the 2023 season, this weekend’s tilt is the 16th and takes place in Singapore. No need to wait until the weekend for warm-ups, though, as drivers new and old are doing racy things in cars for our enjoyment right now.

First, there are Mercedes-AMG Petronas drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell cavorting on the AMG “Playground” in a quintet of of AMG models. Eating their dessert first, they weave a pair of AMG Ones through a slalom course, one of the drivers apparently left out of the e-mail chain explaining one isn’t supposed to hit the cones.

Then comes the drift challenge, Russell in a C 63 S E Performance, Hamilton in the new AMG GT. Hamilton provided the relevant preview when he told Russell, “Good luck with the four-wheel drive, mate.”

It takes a game of rock paper scissors to decide which pilot gets the key to the last car for the last challenge, taking an S 63 E Performance on a hot lap around the Playground track.

Consider that vid an appetizer for more heady action elsewhere in Germany, retired F1 drivers Sebastian Vettel and David Coulthard taking two Championship-winning Red Bull F1 cars around the Nürburgring. For those who don’t know, Vettel named his car at the beginning of each season. During the ‘Ring run, he drives Kinky Kylie, the 2011 RB7 he used to win his second title, Coulthard drives Abbey, the 2012 RB8 Vettel used to win his third title. Vettel wanted to show off the potential of e-fuels, the man-made liquid energy that might give internal combustion engines many more years to live. Porsche even has its own factory in Chile making e-fuels with an eye on retail sales come 2027.

What Vettel and Coulthard demonstrated beyond e-fuels and beyond argument is that F1 needs to find a way to bring back the noise. The 2.4-liter V8s in the two cars — making about 750 horsepower apiece and spooling up to 18,000 rpm — are what the phrase “The good old days” was designed to describe. Glorious. Check out in the vid and set your alarms for Singapore. Free Practice 1 starts Saturday morning at 7:25 a.m. Eastern.

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