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Hammond: Doctors didn't want me to drive again.

DOCTORS were reluctant to give Richard Hammond his driving licence back after his near-fatal accident, the Top Gear star has admitted.

Hammond, 37, had to pass two hours of complicated mental tests before he won back his licence. He said: "They were worried about flashbacks. I was like 'Hang on, if I was strapped into a jet car on a runway maybe'."

The star says he still worries that the accident, in which he suffered brain injuries in the area that controls personality, could make him a different person. He was filming a stunt for Top Gear when he crashed a jet-powered dragster at 288mph in September.

But the father-of-two left hospital just five weeks after the high-speed accident. Hammond, nicknamed 'the Hamster' by Top Gear sidekicks Jeremy Clarkson and James May, was attempting to break the British land speed record. Pictures of the dramatic crash are being broadcast in the first episode of the new series of the BBC2 motoring show on Sunday.

Hammond told the Radio Times: "It was very touching when people wrote in, but I think now I just want to get on with the job."
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jan 23, 2007
Words:190
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