Lewis Hamilton has been talking about the changes he’s made in his life over the past year, and his ambitions for the future.
In an in-depth interview with the BBC, Hamilton admitted that the pressures of pushing for a seventh world championship while also dealing with the impact on the sport of the coronavirus pandemic had taken its toll.
“There’s been times, just to keep your head above water, it’s definitely been a challenge,” he said. “But I know it’s the same for so many people around the world.
“I’ve had lots of different things to focus on,” he continued. “I’ve managed to find myself very comfortable on my own, I’ve managed to find peace and being centred and just being happy.
- Read also: Hamilton explains why ‘positions never aligned’ with Ferrari
“I’m reading more and trying different meditation,” he explained. “Yoga is not something I particularly enjoy – my dad’s more flexible than me, which frustrates me! No amount of stretching seems to change too much.
“I’ve read some self-help books, which have raised points that I’ve not noticed [previously] in terms of patterns about my energy levels, my reactions to things.
“I’m just trying to understand that more, understand myself more and trying to improve on areas, because I’m far from perfect,” he said. “But there’s been a lot of improvement in terms of my everyday life and my use of energy and my time management.”
“And I’ve been able to focus on weaknesses in training,” he added. “Last year the racing was strong, but qualifying wasn’t so great.
“I came into this season trying to make sure I kept the strengths but worked on the weaknesses,” he said. “But in improving in qualifying, I have managed to improve the racing. I was not expecting that.”
Hamilton believes that the challenge now isn’t so much raising the bar still further but making sure it didn’t start to slip, and retaining the consistency.
“I don’t know whether it can get any better,” he said. “The racing, for example, is super-strong. There are still elements that could be better but not everything is easy to improve on.”
“It’s not like I am new to this. I know what I need to do to get myself in the right headspace, and physically in the right place also. I don’t really see keeping consistency being an issue, but it is much smaller increments.”
And he affirmed his intention to make his activism on human rights and the environment a key part of his life beyond F1.
“You’re starting to see things, glimpses of things that will be a part of my future, I think,” he stated. “The racing is all good and everything, but there’s a lot of issues and there’s a lot of things to do.
“I want to try and help people because there are a lot of great people out there doing great things, so that’s my goal.”
Hamilton said he hopes that his new Hamilton Commission will help address the current lack of diversity in motorsport.
“I want to find out what the real problem is first so we can fix it efficiently [but] you want people to earn the position,” he said. “No one wants [it] to be handed [to them], we don’t want to create a position of forcing these teams to just hire people, minorities, for the sake of filling a space.”
And on a personal level Hamilton – formerly a notorious globetrotting jetsetter – wants to fly less and stay at home more, which will be a key factor in his imminent contract extension negotiations with Mercedes.
“Time with friends and family are the most important,” he said. “This year I’ve not been able to see them and that’s just been the hardest.
“If we get to start travelling more, [I intend to] take my family somewhere and create memories with them and celebrate with them just being around.
“This year’s shown that you can work from home,” he added. “I’m sure there’ll be a lot of Zoom dates in the contract rather than actual present days, which means I have to fly less.”
Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers
Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter