Richard Hammond has been one of the most popular names in the automotive world ever since his debut as part of the iconic Top Gear trio. Together with James May and Jeremy Clarkson, Hammond got three entire generations of kids into fast cars and diabolical things to do with them.
Hammond has seen and done much of everything there is to do behind a steering wheel, from building and driving his own cars to surviving a crash in a million-dollar Rimac Concept One supercar.
As popular as Hammond has been across the world, here are a few things you might not know about the Brit.
11 He Started Off As A Radio Jockey For BBC
Richard Hammond, much like Alex Hirschi (better known as Supercar Blondie), started his career off as a radio jockey. In fact, he worked at three different BBC stations. However, he was fired from his first RJ stint from BBC Cleveland for something that later became textbook Hammond- innuendos that made the radio show unfit for broadcasting.
Of course, his style, later on, became a trademark of him, helping him stand out as one of the funniest, cheekiest TV celebrities out there. In fact, he went through several jobs at multiple radio stations, although he could never seem to last very long in any of them.
10 He Failed His Top Gear Audition
English television presenter Adrian Simpson began his career on Top Gear in its original format. However, two seasons later, the show was restructured into a new format, which then hired Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond as its presenters. What many do not know is that Hammond had auditioned for the show in its original format as well, but had narrowly missed out to Simpson.
Of course, after finding out in 2002 that he had very nearly gotten the first stint but failed two years prior, Hammond must not have been amused. Nevertheless, it was all for the better, as he then stayed on with the show for twenty-two generation-defining seasons.
9 He Once Went Through A 2-week Crash-Induced Coma
In 2006, Top Gear tried getting the bragging rights of saying their man was the fastest man on British soil and seated Hammond in a jet-propelled car. Of course, with Hammond, it seems Murphy's law applies wherever it can, and it did just that. A tire popped off the car at nearly 300 mph. As a result, Hammond spent the next couple of weeks in the hospital in a coma.
Somehow, Hammond survived. In fact, despite going through near-fatal head injuries, Richard Hammond woke up just fine, and over the years going forward, continued crashing several cars for the next decade and a half. It's still a phenomenal miracle that he survived the terrifying crash.
8 He Lives In A Remarkable Castle
Hammond lives with his family in a remarkable home in Herefordshire. In fact, it is actually a proper castle, moat and farm animals included. Moreover, the list of animals inside the walls of the castle could go on and on, including horses, dogs, sheep, rabbits, turkeys, and all manner of birds.
Hammond lives in Herefordshire with his wife Mindy Hammond, who has worked for the Daily Express as a lifestyle columnist. They have now been married for twenty successful years, too, with two daughters to show for it.
7 He Crashed A Million-Dollar Rimac Concept One
No discussion of Richard Hammond can mention just one single crash. Especially when the man in question has crashed his vehicle multiple times. During the filming of The Grand Tour, Hammond crashed a million-dollar Rimac Concept One over a cliff, which resultantly set the car on fire. Despite that, Hammond was pulled out of the wreckage with minor injuries.
During a shoot in northeastern Switzerland, the trio of Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond decided to go to a Swiss hill climb. Incidentally, Hammond's Rimac was the fastest car at the event by some margin. Sadly, in his timed run, he crashed off a cliff and was later airlifted to the nearest hospital.
6 He Was Expelled From School
Does this really come as a surprise? After all, Richard Hammond is known for his laddish style, isn't he? Thus, one nods their head in understanding when they see Hammond's Wikipedia page read that he was expelled from the Ripon Grammar School at the age of fifteen.
The reason Hammond was enrolled in the school in the first place was because of his father. Richard's old man had set up a business in Ripon in the market square. Moreover, despite being expelled from school, Richard managed to do quite well for himself, graduating from the Harrogate College of Art and Technology in 1988.
5 He Isn't Really Friends With Jeremy Clarkson And James May
In an interview with the Daily Express, James May had shared how the Top Gear trio doesn't view each other as friends. "We all hate each other really," May had stated. According to May, the three are work colleagues before anything else.
"But, we’re not friends," James had shared. Because the three met so frequently on the shows they did together, they rarely ever met outside of shooting. James May himself revealed that their relationship was like that of politicians on either side of the house.
4 He’s Quite The Author, Too
A man of many talents, Hammond runs his own business, has worked in several successful TV shows, and on top of all of that, has written and published multiple bestselling books. Peppered and seasoned with his unique sense of humor, his books have covered life, work, and of course, cars.
Undoubtedly, Hammond's most popular work has to be 'Car Science', which he published 14 years ago in 2008. Despite being a book for children from the face of it, 'Car Science' could surprise adults with some lessons in there for them too.
3 The 2006 Crash Affected His Brain And Memory
The 298mph crash in 2006 left lasting repercussions on Richard Hammond. Hammond himself had shared that even though he survived the crash (with a 2-week coma), he had sustained damage to the part of his brain that dealt with emotional procession.
Moreover, he also admitted that he might have gone back to his job a little earlier than he probably should have, after the near-fatal crash in 2006. Additionally, since recovering from the crash, Hammond revealed that he often faces trouble remembering PINs and other important facts and details. Thus, he has taken to writing things down.
2 He Once Abandoned His Porsche In The Middle Of The Road
Back in 2007, Richard Hammond was getting late for a rather important family event- his daughter's fourth birthday. Alas, some flooding had resulted in massive traffic issues on his way back home from work, and Hammond found himself stuck sixteen miles away from home.
Hammond then decided to be a father first, and a car enthusiast later. Thus, he left his luxury sports car in the middle of the road and decided to cover the rest of the way on foot. "There was no way I was going to miss it," Hammond had expressed, sharing how he felt he was away from home for way too much time anyway. Hammond covered the way in a waterproof jacket with just his iPod before the sun even rose. Talk about being Father of the Year.
1 Top Gear Wasn't His First Automotive Show
After his stints at BBC radio stations from where he kept getting kicked out, Hammond found work at men&motors. It was a small stint reviewing cars, and very well could have been instrumental in getting him the confidence he needed to always be himself.
Hammond later returned to the show when the show itself came back on air in 2013. Richard occasionally helped out with some reviews and other featurettes. Truly, Richard Hammond has led a rich and remarkable life, and with the occasional bumps and crashes involved, one can bet that he appreciates life more than ever.