Lewis Hamilton has opened up about his struggle with his fluctuating body weight, in a candid post on Instagram.
The 34-year-old racing driver, who follows a plant-based diet, shared a topless photograph, detailing his “struggle” to be a “better me” in the post’s caption.
He told his 12.9 million followers on the platform he has “never been 100% happy with [his] look”.
Later on in the short essay-style caption, he explained that he struggled with the changes in his weight associated with travelling, but refused to have a trainer because he is “stubborn” and believes “if you want change only you can do it”.
“Here’s me, imperfections and all flaws, but I chose to keep fighting and working on being a better me,” he concluded.
The post has clearly struck a chord with Hamilton’s followers, garnering more than 300,000 likes in just two hours at time of writing.
“Biggest inspiration,” one person wrote, while another comment reads, “Really like your honesty and openness Lewis. People forget that we are just human beings on a path towards greatness that we must choose.”
“Thank you for being my inspiration everyday, I love you so much,” another user added.
Hamilton’s post – one of three candid topless posts since June – openly addresses the pressure he puts on himself to stay in shape and train for his sport.
While there is an age-old debate over whether or not race car drivers should be considered athletes, studies have underlined the physical and mental impact of racing is on par with more traditional sports such as football.
There are also demands on some drivers in Formula One – the highest class of single-seater auto racing – to lose weight in order to compensate for heavier cars and help them perform better.
In 2016, drivers from three of 11 Formula One teams told Reuters they had requested to lose weight before the opening race in Australia in March that year.
There is also a minimum body weight for race car drivers of at least 80 kilograms in order to compete.
Modelling is another industry where individuals are under pressure to be a certain body size or shape – however, this can often cause models to follow unhealthy lifestyles in order to keep their weight down. Earlier this year, a model shared before and after underwear photos highlighting her weight struggle and the pressure on her and her peers to be thin.