We don’t think the phrase ‘squeaky bum time’ applies to Formula 1, not with all that sitting down… just imagine. But there’s no getting away from the fact that it’s now the business end of the grand prix season. Thankfully, Lewis Hamilton found time to give us the lowdown on his behind-the-scenes preparation that will hopefully one day propel him to another world title, and a possible third cover of ShortList. Just saying, Lewis…
What specific exercises give you the edge as an F1 driver?
There’s nothing special, it’s just hard work and dedication. For me, it’s about maintaining that motivation; it’s about getting up every morning – even if it’s been a bad weekend – and training hard, turning negatives into positives.
Do you follow a strict training programme?
I like to be spontaneous. But my trainer will have set things he wants to achieve and have a plan for the week.
What about being cooped up in the car for so long – is there anything you do to prepare for that?
Your neck has to be very strong, which is not normal for most sports, so you have to build its strength up.
How do you achieve that?
I put a helmet on and lift weights.
Can you prepare for the intense concentration needed in a race?
I can’t have a lot of crap going on in my life, then go out and perform. You have to have balance in your life.
What about the mental preparation required to maintain your self-belief?
That’s easy, I’ve always had belief in myself, I know I can drive. It’s all the other stuff that you have to focus on.
Do you have to watch your weight?
You do, but I have a fast metabolism. As long as I don’t have a gut, I’m safe.
Do you watch what you eat?
It depends how intense you go. Sometimes I can’t wait to visit my parents for a roast dinner.
What’s the biggest sacrifice you have to make to stay in shape?
Time. My girlfriend visits me and instead of waking up and going to do something together, I go off training.
What keeps you motivated when you’re training?
The thought of winning, succeeding, competing, being the best.
So all the sacrifices you make are worth it for that goal?
It’s difficult to prove you’re the best. There are people with a great car who are seen as the best, but you know if it came down to pure competition in the same equipment, you’d destroy them.
Do you ever work out with Jenson Button or any of the other F1 drivers?
So you wouldn’t ever get competitive with them in the gym?
Well, I’ve got my trainer. I don’t mingle with any of the other drivers. I train with my friends.
Do you listen to music when you’re training?
Yeah, DJ Khaled’s new album Kiss The Ring is a good one. It has a mixture of Lil Wayne, Kanye West, Nas and lots of different artists.
How do you get around the monotony of training?
I mix it up. I’ve just started climbing. I do hiking, skiing, jet-skiing, swimming, water-skiing, squash and tennis. If you do the same stuff, it becomes boring.
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was out and about in London meeting fans for a Vodafone VIP online film. Visit YouTube.com/VodafoneUK
(Image: Rex Features)