Lewis Hamilton says he feels ‘fresher and healthier than ever’ as he makes the most of an unusual protracted break from F1, calling it a welcome ‘part-sabbatical’.

He also admits that he isn’t much of a racing gamer, to dampen any expectation he could become the latest driver try his hand at the Virtual Grand Prix series.

The six-time F1 World Champion, together with his rivals, is currently sat on the sidelines as he awaits the green light go racing again in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

While Hamilton says he is missing competing, he admits there have been positives to taking an extended break and has been using the time to focus his attentions on training and self-development.

“I feel fresher and healthier than ever,” he said in an interview posted to Mercedes AMG Petronas’ Instagram channel. “There have been times in the past five years that I thought a rest would be good for body and mind.

"For an athlete in their prime, it's never a good thing to step away for a year but we have been handed a part-sabbatical, which I am enjoying."

“The struggle for everyone I think is keeping your mind clear. Some days you're sluggish and other days you're positive," he said.

"But the key is trying to remain centred, find things you enjoy doing that you perhaps haven't had time to do in the past.

"Don't waste this time. That's a really important thing - not to waste this time."

"I miss driving. But you have to look at the positives. And if you look around the world, the skies are clearer, people are probably appreciating this time and their families and relationships more.”

While a number of F1 drivers have been keeping busy indulging in all manner of Esports events – including the official F1 Virtual Grand Prix – Hamilton says he has spent more time challenging his rivals at Call of Duty instead.

“I’m not really interested in [racing games], but I did grow up playing GranTurismo, spending hours to earn money and buy these cars. I have been working with them the last couple of years and I got to do this challenge to beat my time, so I have been racing myself trying to beat my own laps - it has been frustrating because my laps are pretty decent. I played Call of Duty with Pierre Gasly and Charles Leclerc.”

Hamilton says he has also been working on his personal projects, namely to promote a greener sport and improving diversity.

“[I have been doing] A lot of planning, strategy and trying to understand how my team works and how we can do to move forward in terms of moving the sport green, pushing for diversity, there is so much to do.”

 

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