(CNN) -- Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin took time off from his political duties on Sunday to try his hand at Formula One racing in St. Petersburg.
As the world's best racing drivers battled it out at the penultimate race of the 2010 Formula One season in Brazil, Putin got behind the wheel of a F1 car for the first time and spent several hours test-driving a Renault vehicle on an empty stretch of road on the outskirts of his home city.
The former president reached speeds of 150mph in the car and was pleased with his racing debut. "For a first time, it was good," he told reporters afterwards.
Putin -- who is expected to run for a third term in the presidential office in 2012 -- is no stranger to extreme activities and the 58-year-old has often been spotted on hunting and fishing trips, as well as riding motorbikes and piloting planes.
However, Putin's attempt at motor racing comes just four years before Russia hosts its first ever grand prix in Sochi -- the same year as the Black Sea Resort will be the venue for the Winter Olympics.