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Richard Hammond says ‘well-controlled risk is excusable’ after Flintoff Top Gear crash

Hammond spent two weeks in a coma following his own serious crash in 2006

Kevin E G Perry
Thursday 22 February 2024 06:46 GMT
Richard Hammond gets back into car that almost killed him on Top Gear

Richard Hammond has said he thinks a “well-controlled risk” is “excusable” for motoring shows like Top Gear.

Hammond, 54, was addressing Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff’s serious crash on Top Gear last November.

The long-running show was taken off air for the “foreseeable future” following the accident at the Top Gear test track at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, which saw the former England cricket captain sustain serious injuries.

Hammond, who used to present the show alongside Jeremy Clarkson and James May, was involved in a serious accident of his own in 2006 when he crashed a jet-powered dragster at nearly 320mph.

He was left in a coma for two weeks and suffered serious head injuries. In 2022, he got back behind the wheel of the very same car.

Speaking about Flintoff’s accident, Hammond told Times Radio: “I feel for the guy, it sounds like a really traumatic accident and a horrible experience. I’ve only ever wished him all the best from it.”

Richard Hammond in London in 2019 (Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

Reflecting on his own experiences, he added: “I’ve had a couple of big ones but accidents do happen.

“They went through our systems and protocols very closely and we weren’t found wanting because the fact of the matter is, sometimes, things do go wrong.

“What matters then, in terms of corporate responsibility and responsibility on the part of those running the show and asking us to do these things, is that everything is in place to mitigate the effects should things go wrong.”

Hammond explained that his crash was caused by a tyre delaminating which he feels “nobody” could have stopped happening.

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He continued: “But everything that followed from there was great. They had the right contacts in place. They did things in the right order. They got an air ambulance there. Everything was done properly. And that’s all you can ultimately do, isn’t it?”

The presenter argued the appeal of cars and transport will not “ever diminish” as he feels it “connects with something fundamental to us as creatures” as it enables us to reach necessary resources like food and water quicker.

He added: “The fact that it is visceral and real and physical and we engage with it. It’s not digital. It is fundamental to what we do.

“I don’t think its appeal will ever diminish and therefore taking a well mitigated, a well-controlled risk, I think, is excusable and in the knowledge that sometimes it’s going to go wrong.”

Hammond can currently be seen with Clarkson and May in the penultimate episode of The Grand Tour, titled Sand Job, which was recently released on Prime Video.

Last week, Clarkson appeared to admit to calling former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown a “silly c***” during the filming of Top Gear in 2009.

Meanwhile, May revealed that he believes the reason the trio have been successful together for so long is due to “mutual loathing.”

In his three-star review of The Grand Tour for The Independent, TV critic Nick Hilton called the series an “enjoyably” “blokey pantomime”.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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