Rest, recovery the key for Hamilton

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton celebrating on the podium at the Hungaroring, where he won his eighth grand prix this season. He says he wants to get more sleep and try things like meditation and reading to aid his recovery.
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton celebrating on the podium at the Hungaroring, where he won his eighth grand prix this season. He says he wants to get more sleep and try things like meditation and reading to aid his recovery.PHOTO: REUTERS

Briton, 34, plans to use F1's summer break to recharge as he wants a stronger second half

LONDON • Lewis Hamilton has said he feels at the very peak of his powers and has no intention of retiring soon.

Having completed the most successful first half of a Formula One season in his career with a stunning victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix, the five-time world champion looks firmly on track to take another drivers' title this year.

Hamilton beat Red Bull's Max Verstappen into second place at the Hungaroring after he and his Mercedes team completed a brilliantly executed race on Sunday.

With the Silver Arrows taking a gamble by stopping twice, he closed down a 20-second gap to Verstappen and passed the Dutchman for the win with three laps to go.

His charge was a display of ruthless, precision driving and secured his eighth win from 12 meetings this season. With F1 adjourning for a month, Hamilton is planning to use the break to make sure he comes back "as strong as possible".

"I want the second half to be even stronger than this first half," he said. "I am 34 years old, but I feel like I am driving better than ever."

He also told the BBC: "In the past, I went into the break 100 per cent fit. I am not in that place at the moment. I have been fit all year, but I have to make sure I get my energy back.

"This break, I am really focused on recovery, real recovery, a bit of a change in my normal break... I will spend a lot of time with family.

"I am a night owl, and I tend not to sleep that much, and I want to shift that and see the sun rise, wherever I am... I might try meditation, a few different things, a healthier lifestyle... I will be doing a lot more reading. I'm excited about it."

The championship leader, who is 62 points ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas with nine races remaining, is into his 13th F1 season with one more year on his contract with Mercedes. He joined the team in 2013 and has won four of his five titles with the five-time defending constructors' champions.

Hamilton, who is two championship titles behind Michael Schumacher's record of seven and only 10 behind the German's tally of 91 race wins, has regularly faced questions about his future, but in Hungary, he was unequivocal that he was in the form of his life, insisting there was more to come.

"One day, I will have to stop, but right now, I feel fantastic, physically and mentally," he said. "I don't have any plans on stopping anytime soon - there is more to do, more to win, more to achieve together inside and outside the car.

"It's been a phenomenal journey. We had our first win here together in 2013 and we have gone from strength to strength. The majority of the people are still here from when I joined the team - this journey had been remarkable, now, I am excited to see what more we could do together."

Mercedes have been dominant this season, winning 10 of the 12 meetings, with only Red Bull denying them in Austria and Germany. But ominously for his rivals, Hamilton is targeting improvement when racing resumes at Spa on Sept 1.

"I don't believe we are ever complacent, we always arrive with the same mentality," he added. "We have had all this success, but everyone continues to work just as hard.

"We have to continue to arrive and deliver as we have. But we are not perfect by far, we still have areas where we can continue to improve."

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 07, 2019, with the headline 'Rest, recovery the key for Hamilton'. Print Edition | Subscribe