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Featured Image Credit: JamesMoy/Alamy Paramount Pictures
Sir Lewis Hamilton has revealed that he was offered a part in blockbuster Top Gun: Maverick - but had to turn it down due to his driving commitments.
While the 37-year-old has been involved in several creative projects away from motorsport in recent years, the ever-expanding F1 race calendar seemingly prevented him from making his big screen debut.
Released back in May of this year, Top Gun: Maverick has already become the highest grossing movie of 2022, taking almost $1.3 billion at the global box office.
While the Mercedes driver wouldn't have been in line for a major role in the movie franchise, he did reveal that Tom Cruise personally created a part for him after the pair struck up a friendship several years ago.
"Basically I'm a friend of Tom [Cruise]," Hamilton told Vanity Fair.
"One of the nicest people you'll ever meet. He invited me to his set years ago when he was doing Edge of Tomorrow, and then we just built a friendship over time.
Hamilton is a massive fan of the original Top Gun, so was quick to use his connection to Cruise to try and get involved in the sequel.
He said: "When I heard the second one was coming out, I was like, 'Oh, my God, I have to ask him'. I said 'I don't care what role it is. I'll even sweep something, be a cleaner in the back'."
Offered a role as a fighter pilot, Hamilton then realised there would not be enough time to fit filming in alongside his meticulous preparation for races.
"I'm a perfectionist..there just wasn't time," he said.
With the F1 calendar getting increasingly busy, it soon dawned on Hamilton that he'd have to turn the offer down - much to his anguish.
He claimed that declining the role turned out to be 'the most upsetting call that I think I've ever had'.
On the race track, it's been a tough year so far for Hamilton, who's has had to contend with radical new sporting regulations, and a troublesome car.
Paired alongside fellow Brit George Russell at Mercedes, the two-time BBC Sports Personality of the Year is yet to win a race in 2022.
However, that doesn't seem to have blunted his love of racing, as Hamilton claims he is considering a contract extension to stay at Mercedes beyond his current deal - which is set to expire next year.
"I'll be lying if I said that I hadn't thought about extending," he added.
"I'm still on the mission, I'm still loving driving, I'm still being challenged by it. So I don't really feel like I have to give it up anytime soon.
"It doesn't make me think about my future, but it is a reminder that I am in that part of my career that people I came up with and have raced for so long will start to stop."
Having already amassed the most race wins and pole positions in F1 history, the man from Stevenage doesn't exactly have anything left to prove in the sport.
And yet, despite being one of the oldest drivers on the grid, he has no desire to step away from racing just yet.
"I'm thinking about how I can improve this car, what steps we need to take to get this team winning again, what is the road map to claiming another world championship, and what we need to do to have everyone in this sport more aligned, in terms of diversity," Hamilton concluded.