F1 star puts Queenstown in pole position


Queenstown has clearly impressed Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton.

During a helicopter ride above the resort yesterday, the 31-year-old said on Snapchat: “Yup, this is the most beautiful place I’ve seen!!” 

Hamilton, on a whistlestop tour of New Zealand ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, arrived in the town on a commercial Air New Zealand flight from Auckland on Tuesday night.

That night he attempted to eat at popular Queenstown restaurant Flame Bar & Grill, but the restaurant appeared to be fully booked.

He was then driven to burger outlet Fergburger, where members of his entourage collected food for him.

Just after 9am yesterday, the Briton was driven from his accommodation near Queenstown to the Over the Top helicopter base at Frankton. He was seen taking selfies and video on his cellphone, before boarding a waiting helicopter.

The helicopter landed on a mountain in the Southern Alps and later touched down on a West Coast beach, before appearing to fly him over Milford Sound and landing at Cecil Peak.

There, Hamilton teed off from Over the Top’s novelty par 3 golf hole and drank natural spring water from a tarn.

After arriving back in Queenstown, Hamilton and his minders were driven to Arrowtown, where he dined at the Postmaster’s Residence Restaurant before leaving Queenstown yesterday afternoon bound for Australia.

Hamilton, who races for the Mercedes AMG Petronas team, is the only driver in the history of the sport to have won at least one race in each season he has completed to date.

He is due in Melbourne this weekend.

? Police have dropped any further investigations into Hamilton’s apparent use of a cellphone while speeding down an Auckland motorway on a Harley-Davidson.

Hamilton filmed the short Snapchat video on Tuesday.

Police say there’s not enough evidence to show he was holding the phone at the time.

Hamilton might have had a hands-free device attached to the bike, which is legal.

-Additional reporting by NZME.