LEWIS HAMILTON is ready to get into Formula One's shark pool — but you won't catch him paddling in the sea just a short walk from Albert Park.
Hamilton starts his F1 title defence tomorrow in Melbourne and going in search of a sixth world crown.
Instagram @lewishamilton4 Lewis Hamilton spent the off season learning to surf with Kelly Slater
The Brit spent the winter surfing with 11 time world champion Kelly Slater — but says he too afraid of sharks to get into the water at the Port Phillip Bay.
He said: "It feels like a long, long time ago but there was skydiving I also did 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!
"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.'
Instagram @lewishamilton4 Hamilton's surfing efforts were impressive but he will not be catching any waves in Melbourne
Rex Features4 Hamilton begins the defence of his F1 world title this weekend
"Australians are really kind of crazy, huh?"
Hamilton made a good start to 2019, having taken top spot in the timesheets for the first practice session of the season.
But he and his Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff, knows they have their work cut out if they are to overhaul Ferrari, who look the favourites after a strong winter testing.
Hamilton added: "Usually, over the first few races is when you really start to get an idea of where everyone stands.
"But we said that we have work to do and we weren't talking BS. We have work to do.
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"Just after the test I went back, and Toto rallied the troops and we all sat together.
"It's really impressive to see so many people so passionate about their jobs and so passionate about racing and wanting to do a better job and always wanting to improve.
"I just know they're the soldiers. They're the real, true fighters within the team, and I know they're going to be giving absolutely everything to make sure that we continue to progress."
Meanwhile, Wolff says he was "worried" to hear that Hamilton went skydiving during his winter break.
However, he said he would NOT be encouraging the 34-year-old to stop his passion for extreme sports as it brings out the best in him.
He said: "Well, of course, I'm always worried.
Rex Features4 Hamilton is focused ahead of the new season
"We had a laugh last year because I couldn't get hold of him and couldn't get hold of my chief strategist and one of the race engineers.
"I found out they were racing motorbikes in Jerez and nobody would pick up the phone. And then they were a bit apologetic.
"But Lewis is not an 18 or 19 year old young man any more. He's a five-time world champion.
"He knows exactly what works for him and what doesn't.