In Brief

F1: Lewis Hamilton’s title bid fuelled by pancakes and Cheetos

Charles Leclerc eyes Sebastian Vettel’s No.1 spot at Ferrari

Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton feels stronger than ever going into the new season and it could down to his winter diet - pancakes and Cheetos.

Hamilton and Mercedes are aiming for a sixth consecutive championship double and the Daily Mirror reports that the British driver has been working hard on building muscle in the off-season.

“Over the winter I could eat whatever I wanted, so pancakes and Cheetos,” said the 34-year-old. “I stayed very active, and there is good and bad about that as you run low on energy. But for the last month I have been pretty clean.

“My body fat is going down and you target more efficient defined muscle. I am not trying to be the Hulk, but it takes time to put on muscle in the right way and it has been great to eat bigger portions. I feel in the best shape I have ever been in and can lift more weights.”

When about his off-season activities, Hamilton added: “I’ve just done different disciplines; martial arts, other sports which use different parts of the body.

“Every year, when you get back in to training it’s painful. I don’t have a trainer, but this year I’ve worked with several different people. I’ve tried different things and feel stronger than I’ve been in a long time.” 

Leclerc eyes No.1 spot at Ferrari

Charles Leclerc has only raced in F1 for one season but he is ready to challenge Sebastian Vettel for the No.1 driver spot at Ferrari.

The 21-year-old Monégasque driver, who was with the Alfa Romeo Sauber team last year, has impressed this week in the new Ferrari SF90 at the first pre-season test in Barcelona.

Ferrari go into the 2019 campaign with a new driver partnership and a new team principal, Mattia Binotto. The Guardian reports that Binotto will give Vettel priority as Ferrari aim to end their long title drought.

However, Leclerc believes he can give Ferrari a problem by rivalling No.1 driver Vettel, a four-time F1 title winner. Speaking to the Guardian, Leclerc said: “I can’t hide that I’m pushing to be as ready as possible for the first race. If Mattia has the problem to manage two quick drivers, then it’s a good sign for me.”

Verstappen: Leclerc will be quicker than Raikkonen

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen has backed Leclerc to challenge Vettel from the off in 2019 and says Ferrari’s new recruit will be quicker than Kimi Raikkonen was at the Scuderia.

Leclerc has replaced Raikkonen and when asked if the Monégasque driver can rival Vettel, Verstappen told the Daily Express: “I think so, because he is very fast and intelligent.

“Yes he lacks some experience to Vettel, maybe over the race distance. But he will be faster than Kimi Raikkonen anyway.” 

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