Lewis Hamilton swapped starting grids for gridiron on Monday as he attended his first Denver Broncos game, watching on as his team went down 19-16 against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Earlier this year, the seven-time Formula One champion joined the Broncos’ new ownership group, which is being spearheaded by the Walton-Penner family and includes former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Mellody Hobson, chairwoman of Starbucks and co-CEO of Ariel Investments.
Hamilton, who will compete in this weekend’s United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, said he was “so excited” ahead of the game at SoFi Stadium – and even his bulldog Roscoe was dressed in Broncos uniform for the occasion.
But the result will no doubt have left him disappointed.
Playing in prime time for the second consecutive week, the Broncos slipped to 2-4 on the season after the Chargers’ overtime win, which came courtesy of five successful kicks – four field goals and an extra point – from Dustin Hopkins.
Hopkins suffered a hamstring injury in the first half and was questionable to return, according to the Chargers.
However, he went on to make four FGs later in the game, including the decisive, 39-yard kick in overtime to send the Chargers to 4-2 on the season.
Hopkins told ESPN he felt a “pop” after his first kick of the night, adding that his leg was “hurting pretty good.”
“He had a hamstring cramp/strain. It just didn’t feel right,” Chargers head coach Brandon Staley told reporters after the game. “You can’t say enough about him hanging in there.”
The Broncos had taken a 10-0 lead in the first quarter when Russell Wilson found Greg Dulcich in open space with a touchdown pass, but the Chargers fought back – first when Austin Ekeler forced his way over the goal line for a touchdown, then when Hopkins tied the game with his first field goal.
As the tight contest went to overtime, a fumble on a punt return by the Broncos with five minutes to go in the extra period enabled Hopkins to make the winning kick.
After the game, Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett said Wilson suffered a hamstring injury, with the quarterback telling reporters that it “got me pretty good in the fourth quarter – I just tried to play through it.”
The Broncos next play the Jets on Sunday, while the Charges go up against the Seahawks.