Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond has admitted to suffering “mortally with depression” since his near-fatal car crash in 2005.

Hammond – who was filming a stunt for the BBC show when the accident happened – told the Sunday Times he had damaged the parts of the brain which deal with “emotional control”.

“Afterwards, I was prey to every single emotion that swept over me,” he said, “and I couldn’t deal with it.”

“I’ll still have a week when I’m freaking out about something and I’ll realise it’s because I’m encountering a new emotional state and I have to evolve a new strategy to cope with it.”

The accident was caused by a damaged tyre on the car Hammond was driving at the time, and caused him to crash while driving at speeds of up to 288mph.

He was treated in hospital for swelling of the brain, but recovered within weeks instead of spending months in hospital as doctors originally predicted.

Hammond admitted to the paper that he returned to Top Gear too soon, but added, “I thought the worst thing I could do was stay at home and continue feeling like a patient.”