Just a few months after suffering injuries in a motorcycle crash while filming for The Grand Tour, and 11 years after a famously spectacular high-speed dragster smash that very nearly took his life, on June 10 former Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond went and did it again, and now we have Hammond’s own perspective on the crash.
Hammond — who confirmed he’d survived his latest auto disaster by telling fans, “I’m not dead” — was driving a million-dollar Rimac Concept One electric supercar in the Swiss town of St. Gallen on Saturday during a shoot for Amazon Prime’s The Grand Tour.
Now, Hammond is opening up about the crash on his DriveTribe channel. While sitting down with Rimac CEO, Mate Rimac, Hammond recalls his emotions and actions during and after the incident. Taking a bend at speed, the 47-year-old presenter lost control of the car, flew approximately 100 feet, hit a lower road, flipped over multiple times, and burst into flames once at rest.
In Hammond’s words, it was the last run of the day on a hillclimb in Switzerland, and as he was going along the final right-left switchback, “the end stepped away.” Mate Rimac explains that the total distance from the start of the crash to the finish was 110 meters, which is about 360 feet. Astoundingly, Hammond and the Rimac missed three houses on their journey down the hill.
“I was aware that I was high, and that the car was inevitably going to come down,” says Hammond. “Of course, there was dread that I was going to die.” During one of the car’s downward impacts, Hammond’s left knee smacked against the car’s interior, pushing the top of his knee joint down seven millimeters. When the car did finally come to rest, a conscious Hammond says he “wanted to get out.” He had to wriggle around, get his helmet off, and get the seatbelt off before help arrived. He then recalls saying, “drag me by my arms and not my legs because I think my legs are broken.” Hammond was then airlifted to a nearby hospital to have surgery on his knee.
Check out the full clip below:
Co-presenter Jeremy Clarkson said in a tweet it was “the most frightening crash” he’d ever witnessed.
It was the biggest crash I’ve ever seen and the most frightening but incredibly, and thankfully, Richard seems to be mostly OK.
— Jeremy Clarkson (@JeremyClarkson) June 10, 2017
Andy Wilman, producer of The Grand Tour, told the Mirror that when Hammond’s co-presenters — Clarkson and James May — saw the wreckage on fire, “they thought Richard was dead. It was really bad … If Richard had been a few seconds slower getting out, he would have been incinerated.”
On Sunday, Hammond posted a short video shot in hospital, reassuring fans he was fine, thanking the medical teams, and apologizing to his wife and kids for yet another motoring mishap. He also thanked May for “smuggling in a bottle of gin last night.”
On a good day, the unspeakably stylish Croatian-made Concept One can hit 60 mph in 2.7 seconds, reach nearly 200 mph, and travel up to 372 miles on a single charge. Digital Trends has more on it here.
Update Note: Updated on 07-10-2017 by Miles Branman: Added Richard Hammond’s discussion of the crash with Rimac CEO, Mate Rimac.