Mercedes Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton says he is enjoying the ‘part-sabbatical’ offered by the current situation, with the coronavirus pandemic pausing the start to the 2020 F1 season.
There has been no racing since the final race of the season in 2019 and with a plan to restart in July, the sport has essentially taken a seven-month break.
Hamilton admitted in a team interview that he had previously considered taking a year out to recharge, having competed in F1 since 2007 with only a short off-season of just a couple of months the only break drivers get away from the sport.
“I’m generally a very quiet person,” Hamilton said. “I do enjoy ‘me’ time, and I think it’s really important for us all to have that.
“I’m a workaholic, and once you get into the rhythm you’re just moving, from one thing to the next, squeezing in training, and making sure that you find that balance.
“I love that challenge, and the year goes so quickly. It’s been nice not to be bothered too much, and to have a bit of that time. But I miss seeing my team, I miss seeing my friends, as everyone does.
“There have been times probably in the past five years or so that I thought to myself it will be good for my body and my mind to take a rest for a year.”
Realistically though the six-time champion admits a sabbatical probably isn’t the done thing for athlete’s in their prime, but he welcomed the forced time-off currently afforded by the lockdown and ban on sporting events.
“You can’t step away. I don’t think for an athlete that’s in their prime that it’s ever a good thing to step away for a year, and then come back.
“Technology moves so fast, at such a rate, you need to stay on top of this car and the development – to take a sabbatical is just not on the cards,” he explained.
“But we’ve been handed almost a part-sabbatical, which I’m enjoying, and I feel fresher and healthier than I’ve ever been, and the struggle for everyone is keeping your mind clear.
“I think some days you’re sluggish, and other days you’re positive, but for me the key as I said is to remain centred, find things that you enjoy doing that you perhaps didn’t have time to do in the past.
“The most important thing is not to waste this time.”