Lewis Hamilton has taken a bold stance calling on his colleagues to toughen up in the face of soaring temperatures. The complaints arose after Williams driver Logan Sargeant retired from the race due to feeling unwell in the cockpit, and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon reported experiencing severe discomfort, even to the point of throwing up inside his helmet during the demanding conditions at Lusail.
Hamilton’s candid remarks extend to his own team-mate, George Russell, as he underscores the need for drivers to be better prepared for extreme weather conditions in Formula 1. Several other drivers also faced health issues during the race, requiring visits to the FIA medical center due to heat exhaustion and dehydration. The temperatures at Lusail were reported to have reached approximately 40 degrees Celsius, with drivers wearing thick, fire-resistant overalls to safeguard themselves in case of a crash or fire.
Russell echoed Hamilton’s sentiments, describing the temperatures as “beyond the limit” and admitting that he had contemplated retiring from the race. Lando Norris chimed in, deeming the conditions “too dangerous.” These shared concerns prompted the FIA to respond by committing to “take all reasonable measures to establish and communicate acceptable parameters in which competitions are held.”
With the prospect of another sweltering race in Austin on the horizon, where temperatures are expected to soar to 34 degrees Celsius, Hamilton, despite his own early retirement in Qatar due to a collision with Russell, maintains that drivers need to improve their physical fitness and come to terms with the extreme conditions that are an inherent part of being an F1 driver.
During a press conference on Thursday, Hamilton expressed his unfiltered perspective on the matter, stating, “I’m going to be controversial as always. Obviously, I didn’t do the race, so I didn’t get to feel the pain that the drivers felt. But I have obviously been here a long time. 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 be able to stand afterward. 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, and 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.”
Hamilton also emphasized the need for caution when considering changes to race weekends, particularly in terms of race length and track limits, citing examples involving Nigel Mansell and Ayrton Senna as cautionary tales for the FIA, the world motorsport governing body.