Sunday, December 25, 2011

Hamilton: I just want bacon sarnie for Xmas

When you sit down for Christmas lunch this year, spare a thought for Formula One legend Lewis Hamilton

While you will be tucking into roast turkey and Christmas pud, he will be staring at a plate of brown rice and beans — and not enjoying it one bit.

In an exclusive SunSport interview, Hamilton revealed just how determined he is to make every sacrifice in his quest to rule the Formula One world again.

He said: "I'm so strict — even on Christmas Day I stick to my diet.

"It's a protein shake for breakfast, with a few dates and some raisins — it's horrible, it really is horrible but I just blend it up into a smoothie.

"I sit at the table and I see everyone else having the biggest pile of pancakes, waffles and eggs and bacon and I'm just dying — it's like a punishment for me.

"If I could eat any food I wanted it would be a bacon sandwich, but I know I cannot.

"Lunch would be beans in a sauce with brown rice and then I might have fish or chicken for dinner."

That is the level of determination both Hamilton, 26, and his McLaren team-mate Jenson Button show in their determination to be in peak physical condition for the huge demands of Formula One.

For both drivers, there is a constant battle between trying to keep their weight low and their strength high.

Button, who is 6ft tall yet weighs just 11st, said: "The team want me to be lighter than I actually should be — basically, I don't eat carbohydrates, unless I'm training hard.

"In the morning, I just have protein, which means breakfast is pretty much eggs every morning.

"I was quite heavy last winter so I went to see a specialist training company and told them I needed to lose weight, but without losing strength.

"They gave me this diet, which initially shocked me. Basically, it's eggs and steak for breakfast, but no carbohydrates.

"I could only eat carbs for one meal, stuff like brown rice or sweet potato. I lost four per cent of body fat in three weeks and I have not put it back on."

Every Formula One team is desperate for its drivers to be as light as possible.

Car and driver together have to be a minimum weight of 640kg, so the less the driver weighs, the more technical gizmos can be put on the car.

McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale said: "The team wanted to change the drivers' race suits during the season and add an extra logo.

"That would have added 37 grammes to the weight and I had a heated argument about it. We want the drivers to be as light as they can be, because that gives us more leeway with what we can put on the car."

Both Hamilton and Button, 31, adopt strict training regimes through the winter.

And they are designed to achieve that perfect balance of weight and strength for the start of the season in Melbourne on March 18.

Hamilton, world champion in 2008, will spend most of the winter in Colorado with his close family friend and personal trainer Antti Vierula, while Button will be in Hawaii with girlfriend Jessica Michibata and personal trainer Mike Collier.

Hamilton said: "A typical pre-season training day for me will be in the mountains.

"We'll either do 4½ hours hiking up the mountain and then we run down it — and that's through deep snow.

"It's very hard work — or we'll go cross-country skiing. We come back, have lunch, rest for an hour and then head into the gym, where we do a lot of core stability work and weightlifting.

"In the evenings, we'll go to the pool and swim laps, which is more for cooling down.

"Then we'll do some really good stretching, more like pilates, and by 8-8.30pm I'm dead. And that's how it is six days a week."

Button, who won the world crown in 2009, is a seriously good triathlete, who harbours ambitions to qualify for the Ironman World Championships in his age group.

To be an Ironman, you have to swim 2.4 miles, bike another 112 miles — and then run a marathon.

Button admits he hated training when he first broke into Formula One, but he now loves the tough cycling, swimming and running routines he and his trainers have developed.

He said: "To be honest, my regime is more of a training programme for a triathlon. The first day I arrive in Hawaii, I'm doing a marathon with some friends who want to go under four hours.

"That is pretty brutal, especially as I've never done a marathon before.

"I'll do a lot of cycling, swimming and running over the winter and then I do some specific work on core stability, especially on my neck and more muscle work.

"My aim is to get to the Hawaii World Championship.

"I don't want to get invited, I want to qualify in my age group and that's bloody hard.

"I've got to do nine hours, 12 minutes to qualify and that's bloody hard. The pros are doing eight hours, so to do 9hrs 12mins is hard but you've got to have an aim."

The attention to detail at McLaren is truly astonishing. An army of people in the team's Human Performance Centre are on hand to monitor not only the drivers' fitness but the fitness of every member of the pit crew.

New team sponsors Lucozade are even developing special drinks for both McLaren drivers to use during races to help combat the crippling effects of dehydration.

Button added: "The hydration is so important, "It's all about making sure you get the right fluids, minerals and salts in your system for the race — that's what keeps you alive."

Both McLaren drivers know they have a mountain to climb next season as they bid to challenge the might of the all-conquering Red Bulls and Sebastian Vettel.

But if the battle comes down to fitness alone, they will not be found wanting

Source: The Sun

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