Mercedes Silver Arrow Lewis Hamilton sounded markedly different in his radio transmission to the pit during his outing at the Spanish Grand Prix – due to him omitting fluids in his drink bottle.
. The world-class driver had to fight tooth and nail to catch and later overcome Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel. The two duked it out over the majority of the Formula One Grand Prix in Barcelona, with Hamilton only managing to surmount Vettel’s lead by engaging DRS on the straight into turn 1.
It was evident that Hamilton was pushing hard to catch Vettel, but just how hard wasn’t evident until Hamilton crackled over the radio, panting like an exhausted dog in heat. The rasping was uncharacteristic of Hamilton, and gave many quite a scare that their favorite driver might not be in the best of health. Hamilton has since come forward regarding his intensive breathing, saying that it was a combination of pushing hard toward Vettel and his voluntary abstinence of taking fluids to drink in the car with him in an attempt to lower the weight of the car – a decision that he doesn’t look to be repeating anytime soon.
“I don’t carry drinks in my car either to save weight, so I’m not having a drink through the race. And then at the end, I used everything I had left when I jumped into my team and my heart rate hit the ceiling.
A lot of the races that we do with the type of racing that we sometimes have to do, where you’re saving fuel, like in the last race for example [in Russia], I couldn’t push because the car was overheating.
From Turn 1 to the end, it was flat chat. You’re just using everything you’ve got so for sure, in that first stint, for instance. To stay on Sebastian was a killer.
I was good when I got out of the car but jumping into… I don’t know if I will do that again. I was a little bit tired after that one.” – Lewis Hamilton
While Hamilton may not be so keen to repeat his decision to omit drinks in his car for the future, Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff was adamant that Hamilton’s over-exertion was not a negative sign, but rather just an indication of just how hard the storied racer was working to catch Vettel:
“I think it was just an expression of how hard he was pushing.
When you need to follow a car that close behind, you obviously haven’t got the aerodynamic benefit of the guy in front. That is difficult. He gave it all and you could hear it on the radio.” – Toto Wolff
This is the first time in recent memory that a F1 driver has admitted to abstaining from bringing along vital fluids in an attempt to cut down on vehicle weight. Given the FIA’s newfound desire to push safety in all aspects of the sport, we may see a future crackdown statement from them regarding such a practice.