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Lewis Hamilton plans quiet August to ‘focus on recovery’

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton is going to change his lifestyle during Formula 1’s summer break to ensure he comes back “recovered” for the rest of the season.

The Mercedes driver, winner of eight out of 12 races this year, expects the last nine to be “much harder for us”.

“In the past I went into the break 100% fit,” said Hamilton, who struggled with illness at the German Grand Prix.

“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.”

After a superb victory in Hungary on Sunday, Hamilton said: “I am not the fittest I’ve been. I have been coming out of the sickness. It was not ‘man flu’, like some have said, it was something that really wiped me out.

“This break, I am really focused on recovery, real recovery, a bit of a change in my normal break, and really just trying to make sure I come back [as strong as possible].”

F1 teams shut down for two weeks in August, starting on 9 August, and the next race is not until 1 September in Belgium.

Hamilton traditionally spends the summer in various places around the world relaxing and enjoying himself, riding on jet-skis and doing other adrenaline sports, and sometimes partying.

But he said this year would be different.

“I will spend a lot of time with family,” he said. “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.

“And I might try meditation, a few different things, a healthier lifestyle. My close friends will be doing the same, so I will be doing a lot more reading. I’m excited about it.”

Steeling for tougher competition

Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel

Hamilton has a 62-point lead over team-mate Valtteri Bottas in the championship, and is 69 clear of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, the only driver outside Mercedes to win a race so far this season.

That lead is equivalent to two wins, two fastest laps and a fifth place, so Hamilton looks locked on to win a sixth world title long before the end of the season.

But he said he expected Red Bull to challenge harder in the final nine races and that Ferrari would be strong in the next two events in Belgium and Italy, on the high-speed Spa-Francorchamps and Monza tracks.

“I truly think the second half of the season could be much harder for us,” Hamilton said. “We have a package and we just have to continue to turn up and deliver. I am looking forward to the journey.

“I really am happy especially after a period of time when everyone was so negative [about F1] and then we’ve had this big step up from the Red Bulls and we have a really good battle on our hands and it looks like it’s here to stay.

“Ferrari will come back into play in places like Spa and Monza – they’ll be quick on the straights and there are not a lot of corners. That bodes well for them.

“Red Bull have been doing great and it is awesome to see and I hope their performance continues.”

He said that despite Mercedes’ domination of the first part of the season, he was determined to keep working as hard as possible.

“These eight wins are obviously exceptional,” he said. “If ever anyone talks down on us, those who had success will know how hard it is to achieve it. You still have to deliver week in, week out, there are still two drivers per team.

“I look at those races and I say: ‘Eight wins out of 12, there is still some missing. So how did we miss those ones? How were we not perfect on those weekends?’

“And also some weekends where Ferrari were quicker and sometimes it was driver or team error that has put them in a position not to win.

“It just shows how on the edge we all are and you can’t take anything for granted.

“I asked my guys [in Mercedes], I said I want everyone to send me an email, be completely straight with me if they think there is anything we can improve on.

“I want the second half to be even stronger than the first half. So please just give us that and I will do the same.”

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BBC Sport – Formula 1

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