Formula One champs share tips on staying fit

Elly Whittaker, Assistant Producer
Formula One driver Jenson Button (L) McLaren greets fans and signs autographs during 'The One Legacy Tour' on September 18, 2013 in Singapore.
Suhaimi Abdullah - Getty Images

Racing fever is back in the sunny island of Singapore, as the Grand Prix prepares to kick off its only night race of the season this weekend.

With McLaren driver Sergio Perez describing Singapore's race track as the most physically demanding at Johnnie Walker's "Join the Pact" campaign Wednesday, one can't help but wonder – what does it take to keep these world class drivers in F1 condition?

"We are planning and training throughout the whole year for these races - we work on cardio, mental strength and stamina," Perez said, clearly motivated on keeping himself in shape for the podium position.

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McLaren driver Jenson Button claims that he drives the car with his bottom. "You can really feel the engine in your hips and bottom," he said, speaking at The One Legacy Tour sponsored by ExxonMobil.

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A keen triathlete who qualified for the world championships last year, Jenson loves to train and said that he works especially hard on his back and arms to stay in peak condition.

He noted that the heat and humidity in Singapore doesn't faze him: "I live in Monaco - so this is not too bad for me."

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Two-time world champion and former Lotus and McLaren driver Mika Häkkinen had a more laid back approach to exercise.

"Athletic training for drivers only came about half way through my career. In '96 I had a personal trainer who worked on a food and exercise program for me - before then we were not so concerned," Häkkinen said at Johnnie Walker's "Join the Pact" campaign.

Häkkinen – a protégé of driving legend James Hunt – also noted that the playboy lifestyle depicted in Rush – the recent Hollywood film about Hunt's life – makes the F1 lifestyle appear more exciting than it really is.

Asked if the film accurately portrayed Hunt's lifestyle, Häkkinen said "Of course not! Movies are movies."

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While F1 is an entertainment business with parties and sponsorship, there are much more serious undertones these days.

Häkkinen, who was promoting Johnnie Walker's #imnotdriving campaign, aimed at raising awareness of drunk driving, pointed out that his participation in the campaign underscored the responsibility and discipline that racing requires.

"For example, this event tonight is raising awareness for drunk driving - so you can see there is a more responsible attitude in driving these days," he said.

- By CNBC's Elly Whittaker

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