Heat. Bumps. A relentless onslaught of corners. These are three reasons why Singapore has a well-earned reputation for being the most physically demanding race of the year. But according to Lewis Hamilton, the challenge just got tougher.
Speaking after FP2 at Marina Bay, where he finished a close second to Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen despite lapping more than half a second quicker than the 2017 pole time, Hamilton revealed he’d lost almost two kilos in sweat over the course of 20 laps behind the wheel, such was the effort required to thread his rapid Silver Arrow between the barriers.
“The track is incredible,” gushed Hamilton, last year’s Singapore race winner. “We're a lot quicker than we were last year, but that also makes the lap so much harder than it was even last year because the G forces have gone up, we need to react quicker and it is crazy hot in the cockpit.
“You're sweating even before you get into the car; in the second session, I think I lost almost two kilos, so I will lose even more [in the race] on Sunday.”
Hamilton’s team mate Valtteri Bottas compared driving around Marina Bay to being akin to exercising in a sauna – and as a Finn, he’d know.
“The car has been improved massively in the high-downforce trim. It is much quicker, even compared to the beginning of the season,” he said. “The fast cars also make it more challenging - the quicker you go, the more G forces you have to pull. It's especially tough around this track as it is so hot - it's a bit like doing exercise in a cockpit that's 60 degrees [Celsius] hot.”