Lewis Hamilton says he ‘regrets’ sacrificing Top Gun: Maverick role for F1 title chase

British Formula One star Lewis Hamilton has admitted he “regretted” not taking Tom Cruise up on his offer of a role in Top Gun: Maverick.

The 2022 film saw Cruise, 61, reprise his role as US Navy Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell from the 1986 original.

Cruise and Hamilton, 39, have been friends since 2014 when the movie star invited the Mercedes driver to the set of his film Edge of Tomorrow apropos of nothing.

In 2018, Cruise put Hamilton in touch with Maverick director Kosinski, who offered Hamilton a role as one of the film’s pilots. Hamilton had to decline as shooting would have clashed with the F1 season in which he was fighting Sebastian Vettel for the championship.

“Firstly, I hadn’t even had, like, an acting lesson,” Hamilton recalled in a new profile for GQ magazine. “And I don’t want to be the one that lets this movie down. And then secondly, I just really didn’t have the time to dedicate to it. I remember having to tell Joe and Tom – and it broke my heart.

“And then I regretted it, naturally, when they show me the movie and it’s: ‘It could’ve been me!’”

Lewis Hamilton (left) and Tom Cruise (Getty Images)
Lewis Hamilton (left) and Tom Cruise (Getty Images)

Hamilton went on to win the 2018 World Championship while Maverick was credited with “saving cinema” after the Covid pandemic, earning nearly $1.5bn at the global box office.

Elsewhere in the GQ interview, Hamilton expressed his desire to focus on filmmaking after he retires from racing.

The seven-time world champion is currently producing an untitled F1 movie starring Brad Pitt and Damson Idris.

“I felt my job really has been to try to call BS. ‘This would never happen.’‘This is how it would be.’ ‘This is how it could happen,’ Hamilton explained. “Just giving them advice about what racing is really about and what, as a racing fan, would appeal and what would not.”

Meanwhile, Cruise looks set to reprise his role as Maverick in a third Top Gun movie, it was reported earlier this year.

In her four-star review of Top Gun: Maverick for The Independent, film critic Clarisse Loughrey wrote: “The film is a true legacy sequel. In the tradition of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it’s a carefully reconstructed clone of its predecessor, tooled not only to reflect changing tastes and attitudes, but the ascendancy of its star Tom Cruise to a level of fame that borders on the mythological. Do we still think of Cruise as a man these days, or as an idea?”

She added: “But Top Gun: Maverick really isn’t packed with the kind of craven nostalgia that we’re used to these days. It’s smarter, subtler, and wholly more humanistic.”