LEWIS HAMILTON has revealed his most important ally in his battle with Max Verstappen for the F1 title.
The seven-time world champion is locked in a straight fight with the Dutchman, who currently leads the championship by six points with six races to go.
At 36, Hamilton is 12 years older than the Red Bull ace and says that he would not be in the title fight without the help of his physiotherapist and trainer, Angela Cullen.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s US GP, Hamilton said: “Angela is with me until 10pm or 11pm every day – and with me from 6am or 7am every morning.
“It’s a very, very important role. A very important relationship. I don’t think this year has brought us any closer together than any other year because we are incredibly close as it is, but we love our job.
“We love doing what we do, we love doing it together, and I’m incredibly grateful to have her on the road, I don’t think I could do it without her.”
Cullen, 47, was born in New Zealand and played hockey for her country before becoming a performance coach.
She started working with Hamilton in 2016 having worked with F1 fitness guru Aki Hintsa, who was close to Hamilton when he drove for McLaren.
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But she is more than just his physio and trainer, often taking the role of dietician, driver, friend and confidant.
The married mum-of-two lives with her husband and kids in the Alps. She also had a matching tattoo, with the F1 champ as they both have “loyalty” tattooed on their wrists.
Hamilton added: “Angela and I are naturally incredibly close, we pretty much live together.
“We’re close friends also so I’m very, very lucky to have found Angela because she’s a very special human being.
“When I got to F1 I didn’t have a trainer and when I got there I was given a trainer at the time, they’re all called physios.
“And, a couple of the trainers I had were not physios, but they were called physios for the race weekend.
“And it was usually a guy that I was working with, would be on the road with me and train with me.
“And then I started to notice I was having issues every now and then again with small injuries popping up, or you realise you’ve got a neck problem or whatever it might be.
“And I never had anyone to be able to fix that, and it’s not until after I look back and I’d see Angela.
“So I said why don’t you come on the road with me, because I’m not training on race weekends, I need physio that knows my body and knows what it needs to be as prepared as possible for a race weekend, and then when I’m away I can train with her.
“We’ve grown together in terms of how we manage our weekends, how we prepare, taking the least stressed route, and just making sure I’m as fresh as I can be when I get in the car.”