Singapore and Malaysia have been held up as the toughest races to drive in Formula 1, but Mercedes technical director Mike Elliott thinks Miami is now “up there” with them.
Temperatures were above 30°C [86°F] throughout the weekend in the Florida sunshine, and the drivers were left feeling the effects of a demanding weekend on their bodies.
Drivers always lose weight during races with the sheer amount of work they do to drive the cars on the limit, but in hot conditions such as what they experienced in Miami, they can lose up to 3kg, or half a stone, through the course of the race.
The heat and humidity in Singapore, coupled with the slow average speed making it Formula 1’s longest race in terms of time, has given Marina Bay the reputation of being the toughest physical challenge on the calendar – but the drivers still found the going tough in Miami last time out, and it’s not far off what they’ve experienced elsewhere.
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“I believe George [Russell] made a comment in the press that he had found that pretty hard,” Elliott said in Mercedes’ post-race debrief video when asked if the drivers were more exhausted than usual.
“Obviously he was battling through the field in a race that was both hot and humid and those two conditions of hot and humid mean you sweat a lot in the car and the drivers actually lose a considerable amount of weight during the race just in that sort of sweat that’s lost to the atmosphere.
“I am sure they have done more difficult races in the past. Malaysia in the past has been a really difficult race for both heat and humidity, but Miami was probably up there with those sort of races from the past.”
Russell managed to finish fifth after starting P12 last weekend, while Lewis Hamilton not stopping behind the late Safety Car left him vulnerable to his team-mate, and had to settle for P6 in Miami.
Elsewhere, Daniel Ricciardo revealed that he was left “dehydrated” during the race as his water in his McLaren was not fully topped up in order for the team to save weight on the MCL36 – which combined with the heat made it a gruelling afternoon for the Australian.
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