Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May return to Top Gear to pay tribute to Sabine Schmitz

JEREMY Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May have all returned to Top Gear to pay tribute to Sabine Schmitz in a special episode. 

Sabine – widely known as Queen of the Ring – lost her battle with cancer after more than three years with the disease on March 17, aged 51.

Current presenters Freddie Flintoff, Chris Harris and Paddy McGuinness were joined by former hosts including Jeremy, Richard, James, Rory Reid and Matt LeBlanc for the 30-minute special.

Schmitz appeared on Top Gear alongside Clarkson and became part of the presenting team when Chris Evans revamped the show in 2015.

During the emotional episode Jeremy opened up about the world famous female racing car driver amid various throwback clips. 

He said: “She was fun and she saw driving a car as a fun thing to do and driving it quickly an even more fun thing to do. I think that came out.' 

“When she walked into a room it was as though everything just got a bit brighter and a bit louder.

“She was turning everything up on your television until it was just [he shakes] just like that – and that's what five minutes with Sabine was like.”

Richard said: “She loved doing something that we all love doing – and also, was extremely good at it.”

He added: “You watch those films with her in again and just watch her smile. Watch her expressions when she was driving right on the ragged edge, even in those moments she was happy to give in to the joy of it. 

"And the great tragedy is I'm sure she had much more of that to share with us.”

James also paid his respects, saying: “'It's the breadth of affection for her. It was everybody from hard-core Nurburgingers, who respected her enormously, to just households who watched Top Gear and just loved her because she'd turn up and slightly smash the place up.

“She'd ridicule the rest of us. I think it earned her a huge number of fans.”

The show was released on BBC iPlayer on Sunday following the current series finale. It will air on BBC One on April 7 at 7.30pm.   

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