F1 Archive: Putin tests his skills in a Formula 1 car
Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin has always had an executive taste, and the same was on display at a promotional event in 2010. Other events portraying his style include famous fishing and hunting trips along with whale-hunting at the Arctic.
Taking time off from his political duties, Putin got into a Renault F1 car and spent hours test-driving the machine on the outskirts of the St. Petersburg city - his hometown. With the test, the Russian prime minister adds another speed machine to his long list of vehicles driven - others include fighter jets and long-range bombers.
At the time of the drive, his patriotic helmet covered with the Russian flag and the national emblem caught the imagination of the press and the fans worldwide. Putin said, "My old Zaporozhets had more space," while entering Renault's cockpit.
The famous test run came a month after Putin managed to sign a deal with the then Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone to bring the Russian Grand Prix to the F1 calendar from 2014 near the Black Sea resort at Sochi. The completed track is now called as the Sochi Autodrom.
During the several hours that he spent with the car, Vladimir Putin managed to reach speeds up to 204 kmph. "For the first time, it's good," he added after the drive.
Uncharacteristically, the Russian prime minister also lost control of the car at one point and skidded before coming to a halt.
Formula One will return to Russia on 30 September 2018, with Lewis Hamilton leading Sebastian Vettel by 40 championship points. The Briton managed to win at Sochi twice before and would be hoping to make it three and place one hand on the championship trophy. History is on his side, as Mercedes holds a 100% record at the Sochi Autodrom.
Vettel, on the other hand, needs to win the race at all costs to keep the championship battle alive.