BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Lewis Hamilton addressed his insecurities on Thursday — and not having a good enough six-pack was one of them — without giving away any ammunition to Sebastian Vettel in their Formula One title battle.
Speaking to reporters at the Hungarian Grand Prix, the championship leader said he was under more pressure than ever against a resurgent Ferrari but would be “last to crack” on the track.
“We’re racing a team that is faster than us actually this year,” said the Mercedes driver, now 17 points clear of Ferrari’s Vettel after 11 races. “Last year we were quite balanced I would say.
“This year it’s swinging more in their direction so we are having to over-deliver on weekends and try to pull out more from weekends where we’re not quick enough.
“So the pressure to extract absolutely every millimetre, every ounce is greater than ever if I want to be number one at the end.”
Hamilton and Vettel have four wins each this season but the German has made costly errors, including skidding off while leading at home last weekend — a race won by Hamilton after starting 14th.
That was hailed as a “miracle” win but the Briton cautioned that he still had plenty to work on.
Last year he had been better in qualifying and his starts were more consistent, he said.
“I do take a lot of pride in being a perfectionist and not making mistakes,” said the four times world champion, whose record run of 33 successive races in the points ended in mechanical failure in Austria this month.
“I really work hard to position myself mentally and physically that I am the last to crack. That’s really my mentality.
“My dad always said I was the latest of brakers. That’s how I try and position my mind mentally as well.”
In other areas, Hamilton — one of the most photographed of male athletes with abundant images of his naked and heavily tattooed torso across social media — professed to some insecurity.
Asked about an Instagram post in which he had talked of his “chicken legs” and how he felt “a little chubby”, Hamilton replied:
“We all see people, particularly on social media, looking a certain way because they’ve got filters on or whatever it is and you don’t get the true representation or feeling of what that person is,” he said.
“I wake up sometimes and definitely have my insecurities.
“I have a six pack but it’s not as good as I would like. There’s certain things that I have insecurities about, just like every single person here.”
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Alison Williams