Formula One is big business, and with most of its drivers spending countless hours harnessing powerful engines, it’s interesting to know what these automobilists handle on public roads. Most of them are known to drive company cars but have a number of “toys” in their parking lots.
A good number of F1 drivers have a jet set lifestyle and are often driven around. But once in a while, they are seen driving private cars. The majority prefer supercars that cost top dollar, but there are those who go for conventional automobiles.
Lewis Hamilton, for example, owns a Pagani Zonda 760 LH, made exclusively by the company – Pagani – for him, hence the initials LH. The manual car had a 760 horsepower, but Hamilton crashed it back in 2015. He, however, did not release any pictures. Around April 2015, Hamilton also took delivery of a blue McLaren P1 at his residence in Monaco.
Four-time Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel owns a range of cars including a BMW 320d, T5 Volkswagen minibus, Infiniti FX 50S, and a Fiat 500 Abarth among other vehicles. Spaniard Fernando Alonso owns a Ferrari 458 Italia, Nissan GT-R, Maserati Gran Cabrio, Ferrari 599 GTB, and a Megane Coupe among plenty more. Brazilian Felipe Massa owns a Ferrari 458 Italia, Ferrari 599, and Maserati Quattroporte while Kimi Räikkönen has been spotted with a Ferrari Enzo and a Fiat 500 Abarth.
The reality is that it’s almost impossible to keep up with the number of cars owned by Formula One drivers. They have had the luck of receiving new rides from their sponsors and switch cars regularly. They are the some of the world’s best-compensated drivers, and it makes sense to fill their garages with prized automobiles.
However, sometimes their picks are not as pimped or as flashy as one would expect. Occasionally, some have been caught driving family vehicles. In fact, in most cases, their choice of cars is usually a mixture of practical and fantastical.
These car enthusiasts have been spotted with a broad range of cars:
15. Kimi Räikkönen – Ferrari F12 Berlinetta
Kimi Räikkönen is also a lover of motorcycles and started on bikes before switching to karts. He has even nicknamed himself “Iceman.” A few years ago, he used to drive around a Volkswagen van, the one that can fit an entire family and not attract attention. Kim even admitted that he loved such cars compared to cars like Ferraris, mostly because of their vast space.
Räikkönen has a number of times been spotted driving the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta, a car that is equipped with a majestic 6.3-liter V12 engine with 740 horsepower.
The Ferrari F12 Berlinetta has a fast-shifting seven-speed dual clutch that gives it only 3 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100km/h. It is a replacement for the 599 GTB though it is faster and has better traction. Car enthusiasts claim Ferrari made it more compact making it feel tiny on the road compared to its predecessor, Ferrari 599 GTB.
In late 2014, Kimi Räikkönen had the chance to test the F12 around the Fiorano circuit together with a journalist by his side. Räikkönen could be seen “wagging the tail” of this supercar with so much ease. During the test drive, he literally “abused” this Italian machine by steering it with one arm while the other arm was ready on the paddle shifter.
14. Jenson Button – Madeira Red Rolls Royce Ghost
British Formula One Champion Jenson Button made a decision to use the Rolls Royce Ghost during the 2014 Formula One season. He swapped his small car for a luxurious Rolls Royce Ghost that was given to him by Euro Motors.
He probably wanted to travel in style, so he handpicked a Madeira Red Rolls Royce Ghost to tour around Bahrain during The Bahrain Grand Prix. This is one of the cars that has been associated with him and that his fans have spotted him driving.
The Ghost is a machine that you can easily pilot around town, and you are more likely to pick it compared to its bigger sister, the Phantom. It has a 6.5-liter twin-turbo V12 engine that can attain 563 brake horsepower.
13. Esteban Ocon – Mercedes C63 Coupe
Esteban Ocon has been spotted driving a Mercedes C63 Coupe. It is a raucous Merc that looks muscular and produces a thunderous soundtrack. The car is a twin turbo, and the sound of its engine is glorious.
The Mercedes C63 Coupe has an immediate acceleration, and the car can strike a balance between comfort and sportiness. It is also known to be ideal for negotiating corners and has a mean front end with a good-looking rear. It has a 4.0-liter V8 engine and produces up to 469 horsepower, with the S model reaching 503 horsepower. The C63 Coupe has a seven-speed multi-clutch automatic transmission and can reach 60 mph in about 3.9-4.0 seconds.
12. Carlos Sainz – Volkswagen Golf
Carlos Sainz has been spotted driving the VW Golf. Volkswagen has been his vehicle of choice for many years, all the way from 1974.
The Volkswagen Golf has a responsive steering and is always comfortable with its well-designed interior. It has always been available as a four-door hatchback and can attain up to 170 horsepower with its five-speed or six-speed automatic.
The Golf has been a popular hatchback that is dear to a majority of hatchback-lovers. Different versions of the Golf have been customized for various users. For example, the new 2017 Mk7 version has self-driving assistance in traffic. There is also a GTI hot hatch if you need more performance. But if you want the most important features combined you can go for the GTD that has a 2.0-Liter turbocharged engine.
This is a multi-talented car that looks regular but provides a refined drive and an ergonomic cabin. The VW Golf continues to win the hearts of many mostly because it is an all-rounder that can cater to the needs of most families. However, it is not the cheapest family car around.
11. Felipe Massa – LaFerrari
Felipe Massa owns a LaFerrari. There were speculations that Ferrari would make only about 499 LaFerraris. Some famous buyers of this hybrid sports car include Samuel Eto’o, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Chris Evans. Felipe Massa also joined this elite club. The Brazilian driver is a known connoisseur and owns a fleet of other supercars.
The Laferrari is a modern version of the F40 and is very rare. Its manufacturers claim it can attain 62 mph in less than 3 seconds and its maximum speed is above 217 mph. The car weighs 1255Kg with no fluids and has a smaller cabin than one would expect. On its front and rear, it has been endowed with ceramic brakes, and its unique HY-KERS system makes it stand out among its other rivals like the McLaren P1 and Porsche 918.
Its electric motors can recharge by regenerating power from several parts of the car while it is in motion. The car harvests energy from the ABS system, brakes, E-Diff, and the traction control system. LaFerrari reaches 950 brake horsepower and has less weight to carry around compared to its competitors. But it costs an arm and a leg with its price mostly starting from £1 million.
The two-seat hyper car has a V12 engine. It looks like a spaceship and its 789-horse power V12 is assisted by a 161 horsepower boost from an electric motor. It is much prettier than its predecessor, the Enzo, and can accelerate like a Bugatti Chiron.
10. Nico Hulkenberg – Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid
Nico has been spotted driving a Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid. He even had the chance of testing this Porsche in Nürburgring, and he concluded that it was a great car with remarkable technology.
The Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid has two electric motors with 60Kw each. It is loaded with a 4.0-liter flat-six engine that can attain around 450 horsepower. Instead of using batteries, this Porsche uses an electrical flywheel power generator, meaning its electric motors can be activated almost immediately for an extra 161 horsepower for 6-8 seconds.
The car weighs 1430 Kg like the last 911 GT3. Its suspension has been stiffened to improve its steering response and to make it stable at high speed. With the brakes, you have the option of using steel rotors or carbon-ceramic discs.
9. Romain Grosjean – Jaguar F-pace
In December 2015, he confessed on Facebook that his favorite car was the Jaguar F-PACE. He admitted that he loved SUVs, particularly the F-Type cars from Jaguar.
Grosjean has been spotted driving a Jaguar F-pace, which has an athletic and sexy styling. This automobile can either have a 340 horsepower or a 380 horsepower, from a supercharged V-6. It has an eight-speed automatic and is an all-wheel drive. For clients who are interested, there is also a 180-horsepower diesel option available.
It looks rigid with its aluminum structure and is known to have a sharp steering control. The Jaguar F-Pace comes with a roomy interior and has plenty of space for cargo alongside an excellent audio system that has around 11 speakers.
8. Kevin Magnussen – Maserati Levante
Kevin Magnussen has been spotted driving a Maserati Levante. The Maserati Levante is Maserati’s long-promised SUV, and since it is expected to go off-road, its body is 20% stiffer compared to the Maserati Ghibli. Magnesium has been used for the cross-car beam, but most of the car, including doors, bonnet, front suspension towers, and the forward understructure are made of aluminum. It weighs 2205kg and can come either in a 271 bhp VM Motori V6 diesel or twin-turbo petrol V6 of either 424 bhp or 345 bhp.
The Maserati Levante can determine the load it’s carrying by continuously adjusting its electronic dampers and air springs to accommodate the weight.
For all the different versions, Maserati’s goal was to make the car easier to drive. It has been praised for its body control, grip, and the ease of handling on a bend. With this machine, the driver is likely to forget he is driving an SUV.
The Levante is satisfyingly accurate around curves and allows for speedy post-bend takeoffs. It was engineered to master most situations effortlessly like the Mediterranean, which it is named after. Inside, you will find exquisite woods and premium leather, in addition to high-tech accessories.
7. Fernando Alonso – Honda HR-V AWD
He had a GT-R, a Maserati, and some Ferraris. He has been spotted driving a Honda HR-V AWD, and he even admitted that he owned this car on Instagram live.
The HR-V is admirable with its great suspension tuning, powertrain, and electronics among its other great features. It has a restrained interior and exterior design that does not attract much attention but is still good looking in its own way.
The HR-V has conventional mechanical systems, and like the Fit, its fuel tank is below the driver’s seat sandwiched by protective steel plating. Honda managed to give it some curves and angles that give it a sporty look.
There may be some slight differences, but you are likely to bump into a 1.8-liter four that produces 141 horsepower. The car can come with either a CVT and all-wheel/front or a six-speed manual. Its second row can be flat-folded, and that gives it cargo-hauling bragging rights.
6. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes GL 320 CDI.
Lewis is known to own some great cars including McLaren P1, LaFerrari, 2X Shelby Cobras, Pagani Zonda LH, and various Mercs. He is also a lover of bikes and owns a couple of Ducatis and a signature MV Augusta bike.
Lewis Hamilton is a fan of powerful machines, but he admitted in 2016 that he mostly likes driving a Smart Car while in Monaco. But one of the cars that Lewis has been spotted with several times is the Mercedes GL 320 CDI.
The 2008 Mercedes-Benz GL 320 CDI is one of Mercs’ enormous 4 x 4 with noticeable 21-inch AMG wheels. Lewis confessed that it was one of the most comfortable road car’s he had driven. According to Lewis, the GL is perfect to drive when you are relaxed and just cruising.
This Mercedes features a 3.0-liter V6 turbo-diesel engine producing up to 224 horsepower and has a seven-speed automatic transmission. The GL is spacious enough and has a great sound system. Since it is an SUV, it gives the driver a high driving position, which enables the driver to have a clear view of the road.
This 2.3-ton 5-meter-length car is equipped with an excellent Off Road Pro kit if you are a fan of mountain climbing. The GL320 CDI can transport some seven people while still loaded with cargo. It features all the interior luxury one would expect from Mercedes-Benz.
5. Sergio Perez – Ferrari 458 Italia
Sergio Perez has been spotted driving a Ferrari 458 Italia. The Ferrari 458 has a layout that many consider the classic Ferrari design. It features a V8 engine that can reach a top speed of more than 200 mph with 562bhp. This is a car that mostly costs more than £200,000 because, despite its powerful engine, it has an array of luxury enhancing gadgets.
The 458 has an aluminum-intensive chassis and has achieved great success with its looks and performance. Its body has been carefully sculpted, and its V8 engine has made it the first mid-engined Ferrari that has a direct fuel-injection. Its exterior styling incorporates aerodynamics features that enable it to have a downforce as it approaches full throttle. You will also notice that it has deformable winglets on its nose to reduce drag when it is at high speed.
It rides on an F1-inspired suspension with its seven-speed dual clutch transmission and qualifies to be called a sports car. In Top Gear’s series 15, Episode 6, Jeremy Clarkson hailed it as one of the most beautiful Ferraris ever manufactured.
4. Marcus Ericsson – Porsche Panamera
Ericsson has been spotted with the Porsche Panamera: a stunning-looking mashup between a high-performance sports car and a luxury sedan.
The Porsche Panamera qualifies as a family car as well as a luxury car. This is largely because of its upscale cabin appointments, remarkable driving dynamics, and a usable back seat. It also comes equipped with a range of powertrain features that qualify it for supercar performance.
The Porsche Panamera can come in different varieties, and it is important for the buyer to watch out because the price for this hatchback can spiral out of control.
It can serve as an alternative to a range of cars including the Maserati Quattroporte, Aston Martin Rapide, BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe, or Mercedes-Benz CLS. It has been given the face of the legendary 911 sports car and has an excellent high-speed stability. However, the handling is quite different, and some drivers may notice that it does not provide the athletic feel of a Porsche around tight bends.
The GTS has been one of the favorite picks with its 4.8-liter V8 engine that can produce 440 horsepower. All the models, except the S E–Hybrid have a PDK (Porsche’s Dual-clutch transmission) 7-speed dual clutch transmission. Generally, the car looks more attractive especially with several of its impressive eye-catching details. It is safe to say that this is one of Porsche’s most luxurious line of cars.
3. Daniel Ricciardo – McLaren 675 LT
Australian race car driver Daniel Ricciardo has been spotted driving a McLaren 675 LT in Monaco. The McLaren 675LT is the closest you can get to McLaren P1 in terms of performance if you are a little stingy. The 675LT is a track-focused beast that is incredibly powerful, leaner, and longer because it has been built from McLaren’s GT3 racing program.
It is powered by a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine that has been improved. The McLaren 675 LT produces up to 660 horsepower, supported by its seven-speed twin-clutch automatic. It is heavier than the 650S since McLaren did some changes on the bumpers, fenders, exhaust system, and wheels. Therefore, the car weighs slightly more than 2900 pounds.
The 675LT can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.0 seconds. Its smooth bodywork and its weight help it to propel at very high speeds. It has a revamped ECU tuning, new camshafts, and faster spinning turbos.
2. Max Verstappen – Porsche 911 GT3 RS
Some of his fans claim he has been seen around with a Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe, which is likely a gift from Mercedes. Other fans claim he drives around an Aston Martin DB9. But Verstappen has been spotted lately inside a Porsche 911 GT3 RS, which costs over £150,000. He bought the car sometime in 2015 after his father, Jos Verstappen, approved.
The Porsche 911 GT3 RS can produce 500 horsepower with its 4.0-liter flat six engine. It has a seven-speed paddle shift gearbox that enables it to accelerate from 0-62 mph in around three seconds.
Car enthusiasts believe the GT3 RS starts where the GT3 ends. It has 50 additional horsepower and extra torque with the manufacturer claiming it can attain a top speed of up to 193 mph. It is lovable at one glance, from its hips to its wings. It is built to have maximum grip with the surface to give a driver all the confidence to spin it.
1. Sebastian Vettel – Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge
Vettel has already recorded a high success rate in 2017. In fact, he just became the fifth driver in history to claim 90 Formula One podiums.
Vettel was once spotted driving the Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge that got its incredible performance from a Nissan GT-R engine. It was a four-wheel drive super saloon that had a 3.8- liter twin-turbo charged V6 engine that could pump up to 560bhp.
The car was still a working prototype and was developed by a Northamptonshire-based engineering company called the RML Group. They only had a few number of cars that would be used to determine the future of the automobile maker. Unfortunately, the company halted the production of this super sedan claiming it was too costly and did not make any economic sense.
Most of its work had been borrowed from the Nissan family, though it was an extensively engineered bespoke machine. Its seven-speed automatic gearbox was from Infiniti’s Q70.
The Eau Rouge made its debut at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show and progressed into a road-going prototype. Its bodywork was F1-inspired, and it was clear that more work had been done to give it a visual appearance.
It had extra cooling and twin exhaust pipes with 20-inch wheels that added to its beauty.