While the likes of Martin Brundle and Gerhard Berger copped a lot of social media flack for not showing sympathy for drivers who “suffered” through a gruelling Qatar Grand Prix, some drivers vomited on an extremely hot and humid Sunday night in Lusail, Lewis Hamilton has echoed them both.
However, Lewis Hamilton echoed what both Formula 1 veterans said when he told reporters ahead of the United States Grand Prix: “My feeling towards it is this is an extreme sport. You don’t have marathon runners who are passing out after the marathon, saying you have got to make it shorter.
“This is an extreme sport and we are paid very highly for what we do, from my perspective when I’ve not been feeling great at the end of the race, I’ve just got to train harder and that’s how it’s been for me. I don’t personally want them to shorten the races and make it easier for us.
“I want it to be extreme. 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. That’s what this is about,” insisted Hamilton.
Notably, the Mercedes driver did not complete a single lap, as his race ended after his Mercedes was beached after a Turn 1 incident with teammate George Russell. Hamilton’s (controversial) walk to the pits was his pain.
After the Qatar Grand Prix, the former F1 driver turned Sky F1 pundit, tweeted: “It’s races like Qatar and very rainy days which make F1 drivers look the heroes and athletes they are. Absolutely don’t buy into the weak view we shouldn’t put them through this kind of challenge.”
Berger: If you’re in good shape, you don’t get sick
Speaking to Servus TV Berger said: “The same thing happened to us. This time the guys seem to have pushed themselves to the limit, but it’s simply a question of physical fitness. If you’re in good shape, you don’t get sick.”
In the wake of Qatar, the FIA said in a statement it had “begun an analysis into the situation in Qatar to provide recommendations for future situations of extreme weather conditions. Measures may include guidance for competitors, research into modifications for more efficient airflow in the cockpit, and recommendations for changes to the calendar to align with acceptable climatic conditions, amongst others.
“Research from other series, such as cross-country events in extreme climates, will be examined for potential applications to circuit events,” the statement added that measures would be discussed at a meeting of its medical commission in Paris.
The track temperature during the night race at the Lusail circuit, where Red Bull’s Max Verstappen claimed a third F1 World Title, never dropped below 36 degrees Celsius (96.8°F), while daytime temperatures exceeded 40 degrees.
The FIA noted that next year’s race in Qatar will be held in December when temperatures should be lower, but said it preferred “to take material action now to avoid a repeat of this scenario.”
“While being elite athletes, they should not be expected to compete under conditions that could jeopardise their health or safety,” it said.