Lewis Hamilton has said that he might have to rule out celebrating if he wins the Monaco Grand Prix later this month because of the increased physical demands of 2017’s Formula 1 cars.
Many fans were pleasantly surprised to see that the physical challenge of driving these 2017 high downforce F1 cars is clearly greater after Hamilton left a number of breathless messages on team radio. The G force in Turn 3 this year, which lasts around 8s seconds, was up from 4.5g to 5.2g.
If his audibly clear team radio communications illustrated how fatigued Hamilton was during the Spanish GP, and he admitted being pushed over the limit after taking victory at Catalunya.
To the point that, should the Mercedes driver take another victory in Monaco on May 28 or in subsequent races he says he might rule out such a celebration.
“I used everything I had left when I jumped into my team [in parc ferme] – my heart rate hit the ceiling,” said Hamilton after the Spanish GP.
“I was good when I got out of the car but jumping in…I don’t know if I will do that again. I was a little bit tired after that one.”
Monaco is not one of the most physically demanding tracks on the F1 calendar, but concentration for almost two hours is at a premium and fatigue is the enemy of concentration.
Hamilton took victory in Spain after starting from pole and fighting back to retake the lead from Sebastian Vettel in a thrilling encounter to cut Vettel’s championship lead to six points going into Monaco. His post-race interview revealed more about what drivers are undergoing in the new breed of F1 cars.
“This [race] I was on a knife edge the whole way, flat chat, first trying to catch [Vettel]… and when you are flat chat you are using your whole body to balance the car. The car steps out, you are using your whole core to feel it,” said Hamilton.
“It’s not like sitting there and just reacting with the steering, it’s your whole core that’s activated and your legs, so yeah, I used everything.
“It’s not easy. People watch TV and think, ‘These guys, it’s easy for them’. It doesn’t matter how fit you are, I was on the edge the whole way.”
Over the winter, drivers took to the gym to increase their strength for the new season, particularly focusing on core muscles and cardiovascular training.
Even though F1 cars have power steering, lateral G-Forces resulting from cornering have increased this year. For example, in the Australian Grand Prix, Turn 11 inflicted 6G on the drivers’ bodies – up to 1.2 more than in 2016. Silverstone, Spa, Suzuka and Malaysia, with the added heat, will be quite a challenge.
Hamilton also revealed that he lost two kilos of mass during the last race and to save further in the Mercedes W08 he didn’t carry a water bottle while racing.
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