Seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton and F1 legends have diverged from fellow drivers to support the extreme physical conditions of the sport.
Seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton has pointed to the sport’s inherent extreme nature amid concerns over high temperatures at the Qatar Grand Prix, urging fellow drivers to avoid becoming ‘too soft’ in the competition, reported Sky Sports.
Held at the Lusail International Circuit, the night race witnessed cockpit temperatures surging above 49 degrees Celsius. The combination of high temperatures, extreme humidity, and the high-speed layout of the circuit made the race a true test of endurance for the competitors.
“Obviously I didn’t do the race, so didn’t get to feel the pain that the drivers felt. But I have obviously been here a long time,” Hamilton said ahead of the upcoming United States Grand Prix.
“Malaysia was much hotter than that race and I know what it’s like to lose four or more kilos in the race and barely being able to stand afterwards. This is an extreme sport.”
Hamilton referenced legendary moments from the F1 history, such as Nigel Mansell fainting at the 1984 Dallas Grand Prix.
“I want to feel the difference, I want to feel pain in my body, I want to be able to, hopefully with that extra bit of training that you put in or that extra bit of dedication that you have had, helps you get that extra lap and win that race.”
Williams driver Logan Sargeant retired midway, claiming illness from the heat, while Alpine’s Esteban Ocon admitted to vomiting in his helmet. Several drivers also sought medical attention after completing the race.
Lando Norris of McLaren described the conditions as “dangerous heat.”
Responding to the voiced concerns, the sport’s governing body, the FIA, assured that it would “take all reasonable measures to establish and communicate acceptable parameters in which competitions are held.”
The sentiments of Hamilton found echoes among F1 veterans, including Sky Sports F1’s Martin Brundle and former F1 driver Gerhard Berger.
Brundle wrote on social media that such challenging races are what make F1 drivers appear as heroes and true athletes. Berger suggested that the issues drivers encountered were “simply a question of fitness.”
However, not all agree with Hamilton’s view.
His teammate, George Russell, argued that modern F1 cars present unique and increased challenges.
“We’re driving cars 20 seconds a lap faster than they were, going through corners and pulling 5G in every single aspect,” Russell said. He also mentioned technological changes that have led to increased cockpit temperatures.
The FIA has begun a thorough investigation to assess the situation and to formulate guidelines for handling extreme weather conditions in future races.
While the outcome of this review is pending, Hamilton’s vocal stance has set the stage for a significant debate, compelling the F1 community to ponder over the sport’s ethos, its past legacy, and its future direction.