"You think that you can just get anybody to wave the flag, but you can't," says Will Smith. The Hollywood star certainly lived up to his words, putting his own spin on the racetrack tradition when he attended this year's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
And now, the Fresh Prince star has opened up about just how he developed his unique "skill set" in a tongue-in-cheek new social media video, uploaded to celebrate racing champion Lewis Hamilton's birthday.
Shot in the capital during the sporting event, held between November 23 and 25, the short video shows the American actor practicing his flag-waving technique at the Yas Marina Circuit.
“I get to fly the flag [during] the opening and closing of the race,” Smith told the camera ahead of the big day. “I’m really excited but I don’t want to mess it up.” However, the star lived up to the challenge, kicking off the action before heralding the finish of the final race, with the title claimed by five-time Formula One world champion Hamilton.
But the British driver, however, was left unmoved by Smith’s performance. “I want to know how helpful it was, with me waving the finishing flag,” the 50-year-old actor asked Hamilton in the Instagram video. “Honestly, I didn’t see it,” admitted the racing driver in his cameo. “Coming around that corner, I’m looking for my team.”
Hamilton, who turned 34 on January 7, even tried his hand at Smith's flag-waving technique, following instruction from the Bad Boys star.
The two are known to share a close friendship, with Smith one of the first celebrities to pay tribute to Hamilton when the driver clinched the title at the Brazilian Grand Prix 2018.
The duo is also set to star in an upcoming video for Smith’s YouTube channel, filmed as the actor got behind the wheel of a race car in Abu Dhabi.
"Lewis and I have been talking about this for probably like five years, since the Grand Prix in Monte Carlo," Smith told the F1 Channel's Rosanna Tennant on the F1's pre-race driver's parade truck. "I'm doing a thing called the bucket list. I turned 50 this year and I decided I'm going to do everything I want to do. He granted the old man a wish."