F1

Hamilton on what Aussies told him to do if he encountered a shark

Lewis Hamilton often has a busy off-season and recently found time to try a spot of surfing – but the five-time world champion wasn’t brave enough to test out the Australia waves

The Mercedes star is Down Under for Formula 1’s season opener this weekend, which takes place at Melbourne’s impressive Albert Park Circuit on Sunday.

Hamilton is known for his passion for extreme sports, and spent some of his winter break surfing with 11-time world surfing champion Kelly Slater.

But the 34-year-old Brit, who was speaking about his winter break in Thursday’s press conference, revealed why he didn’t have the courage to surf in Melbourne.

He said: “I don’t really remember a lot of it (the winter break). I mean the winter break finished quite a while ago.

“Once you’re back in the factory and working with the team, focused on making sure that you’re fit and ready for the first race ended a while ago so it feels like a long long time ago but there’s skydiving.

“I done some surfing. I wanted to do it here but I couldn’t find a netted area to go to.

“I just can’t go where there are sharks, man, and every Australian I meet they’re like ‘nah, nah, you’ll be alright. If a shark comes up to you, punch it in the face.’

“Australians are really kind of crazy, huh?”

“The break is a really precious time you get to spend with family and friends and it’s the time you don’t get to think about racing and then once the season starts you’re on tour the whole year and you never really lose sight of your targets.”

Hamilton heads into the new season as the favourite for the F1 title, having clinched the championship four times in the last five seasons.

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