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Richard Hammond says ‘well-controlled risk is excusable’ on Top Gear

Richard Hammond has said he thinks a “well-controlled risk” is “excusable” within car shows as he addressed Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff’s serious crash on Top Gear.

Last year it was confirmed the motoring show would be rested for the “foreseeable future” after production halted on the 34th series following the former England cricket captain sustaining serious injuries in an accident at the Top Gear test track at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey.

Following the crash, the BBC announced it would pause production on the show as it was felt it would be “inappropriate” to continue, adding there would be a health and safety review.

England v Ireland – Second Metro Bank ODI – Trent Bridge
Freddie Flintoff (Tim Goode/PA) .

Hammond, who presented the long-running motoring show with Jeremy Clarkson and James May, was in a serious accident in 2006 on the programme when he crashed a jet-powered dragster at nearly 320mph.

The 54-year-old was in a coma for two weeks and the incident left him with serious head injuries.

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.”

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.

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 TV 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.”