Just a few years ago, the world of Formula One racing was largely pushed to the margins as far as international sporting events go. Though the sport had its fans and loyal supporters, for much of the population, the relentless training and gruelling work of the drivers was hardly known. In fact, F1 racing proved to be the one sport that most fancied themselves being able to do at an elite level – after all, isn’t it just sitting in a car – albeit a fast one – and having the skills to corner well?
But when Netflix released Drive to Survive and cast a spotlight on the pivotal athletes at the heart of the sport, it became an instant hit and finally, audiences were enlightened to the immense athleticism such a sport demands. When it comes to its stars, Lewis Hamilton stands out from his colleagues by a long way, not simply for his trademark charisma and a personality that makes everyone warm to him, but because he’s a seven-time champion, the likes of which the sport has never seen before.
To have achieved such a feat in F1 racing, it goes without saying that Lewis Hamilton possesses the kind of determination and relentless work ethic that few could ever harness. It’s this that has seen him devote his every waking moment to becoming the best in the world. But as the 2022 season kicks off, it’s clear that Hamilton has also spent the off-season working on himself and ensuring his headspace is in a good place, too.
In a recent interview with GQ UK, the celebrated racer explained that much like everyone else, finding balance in his life has been a constant struggle. “When I was younger, it was all about staying focused and doing my job so it took me a long time to carve out time in my schedule to make sure I do other things I love and tap into my creativity,” he said. “Now, whether it’s special projects, exercise or music, I make sure I implement finding things that create balance into my lifestyle and spend time with family and friends.”
For Hamilton, each year presents an opportunity for self-reflection and identifying those areas in which he can be better, not just on the racing course but in his relationships with family and friends, and as a teammate. “Just over time becoming more and more conscious of how I’m treating myself, being more in tune with my body and what my body needs and when it needs to rest,” he told GQ.
As Hamilton explains, a key aspect of performing at his peak is ensuring his body recovers well. “Recovery has been a real focus for me in the past couple of years. Now, I always make sure the day after a race is a complete day off – I make sure it’s a day to myself for self care. I do cryotherapy, I might do some pool work and I make sure I get Physio or acupuncture that day, or just a steam room,” he says.
Complementing Lewis Hamilton’s self-care rituals is meditation, but as he admits, meditation doesn’t have to be sitting on a plush cushion in white linens but can instead take on any form that benefits you. “Part of my meditation is running, that’s where I clear my mind,” he says. “But sitting down and just being silent for a moment, and in deep thought, entering yourself and sending good intentions for your day is also critical to a healthy, happy lifestyle.”
As Hamilton adds, “Meditation helps give you a bit of clarity and helps to think about what you want to achieve in your day. If I ever catch myself saying something negative, I’ve taught myself to just have more positive affirmations.”