Mercedes' Nico Rosberg (left) and Lewis Hamilton wave to fans in front of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre on March 23, 2014.
KUALA LUMPUR: Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has been going to the sauna more often in a bid to lose weight.
And the Briton has his reasons, especially with the Petronas Malaysian F1 Grand Prix looming at Sepang next weekend.
Hamilton, who has even changed to a smaller shirt size, said there is less physical demands on driving the 2014 spec car but that does not mean it is less challenging.
“In fact, the demand is now on the driver to be lighter. I have changed my shirt size as I have been regularly going to the sauna.
“The key to getting ready is, I think, to do more cardio sessions.
“I spent about five to six hours a day during the off-season to maintain my fitness.
“It is impossible to stay as fit when the season starts but I try my best to,” said Hamilton, who wowed the Kuala Lumpur city crowd on Sunday by doing a couple of doughnuts during his first public appearance ahead of the Malaysian GP this weekend.
The new F1 rules mean that the sound generated by the cars is easier on the ears due to the fact that they are now hybrid 1.6-litre V6 turbo engines.
The engines are also environmentally efficient in the sense that they use electricity recovered from braking and exhaust to help power them through the demanding race.
Hamilton added that the technological aspect is stunning considering the drivers are now expected to use 100 litres of fuel for each race compared to 160 litres in a previous season.
The Mercedes team endured mixed fortunes in the season-opening Australian GP two weeks ago.
Hamilton took pole but had to retire early after a cylinder failed to fire at the start of the first lap.
The 2008 world champion dropped to fifth by the end of the first lap and was called into the pits shortly afterward.
His team-mate Nico Rosberg claimed the chequered flag.
Mercedes are seen as the team to beat at Sepang next weekend and Hamilton said they are aiming for a 1-2 finish.
“I have not won at Sepang for Mercedes before and that is the goal for me this weekend,” said Hamilton.
“We showed what we are capable of in Melbourne and we hope to prepare the cars as best as we are able to at Sepang.”