Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has hit out at his fellow Formula 1 drivers following their complaints about the intense conditions they faced at the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix, claiming that as extreme athletes F1 drivers should be looking to push the limits, not make things easier.
Following the race in Qatar, Esteban Ocon revealed he had vomited in his helmet, Lance Stroll said he was close to passing out, Fernando Alonso asked for water to be dumped in the cockpit during a pit stop, while Logan Sargeant had to retire from the due to the heat.
Others claimed it was the toughest F1 race they’d taken part in as Max Verstappen and Lando Norris branded it ‘too hot’ and ‘too dangerous’, though Hamilton never got to experience the Grand Prix as he crashed out at Turn 1 on Lap 1 in Qatar.
“I’m going to be controversial as always,” Hamilton told Sky Sports F1. “Obviously, I didn’t do the race, so didn’t get to feel the pain that the drivers felt. But I’ve 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 being able to stand afterwards.
“My feeling towards it is… this is an extreme sport. You don’t have marathon runners who are passing out after a marathon, saying ‘you’ve got to make it shorter’.
“This is an extreme sport and we’re 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 want to feel the pain
Further adding to his opinion that F1 drivers should be pushing the boundaries, Hamilton highlighted the fact that the sport is one of extremes, pointing out that he enjoys the feeling of pain after a Grand Prix.
“So I don’t personally want them to shorten the races and make it easier for us,” Hamilton went on. “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.
“We’ve got to be careful how we move with changes. We’ve got track limits and all these big runoff areas. Back in the Senna days, you go over the kerb, it’s grass and you pay the penalty. It’s like ‘let’s not get too soft!’
“Of course, if I was in the race, I would have struggled to get out afterwards also. But, I love that.
“That makes it closer to what it was back in the day, where [Nigel] Mansell was passing out after a race – this is extreme and we are supposed to be elite athletes and to be elite, you need to be pushing to the limit.”