If you can’t handle a car ride without a beverage then this might be your worst nightmare. This week Lewis Hamilton mused about his second place finish in F1’s French Grand Prix and noted that he estimates he lost three kilos (6.6 pounds) because his hydration system failed during the race.
Hamilton noted that he doesn’t typically hydrate much during races, but when he needed it over the weekend he realized there was no relief.
“I feel fantastic – I was just a little bit dehydrated!” he said. “The drinks bottle didn’t work in the race. I don’t actually ever drink in the race ever, so this is the first time I actually tried it all year and there was nothing coming out.”
This was exacerbated by the air temperature in the middle of Europe’s record heatwave. The 91.4 degree heat was unprecedented, and when paired with routine cockpit temperatures that can reach over 122 degrees in F1 cars it was a nightmare.
Slamming down a drink in his post-race interview, Hamilton said he was fine despite the malfunction. Cameras caught the driver laying on the floor looking exhausted after the race — doing everything he could to cool down.
Like most things in Formula 1 the car hydration system is a fascinating mixture of necessity and science. A fluid reservoir is located under the driver’s seat to even out weight distribution, with a long tube running up to the race helmet. If a driver decides they need water (or whatever fluid has been loaded) they can push a button on the steering wheel to start a pump, delivering liquid directly to the mount hands free. Typically the mixture is a complex mix of glucose and carbohydrates, not dissimilar to most sports drinks — ideally keeping driver hydration in balance during the hours on the track.
Personally, I can’t go on a long drive without filling up my water bottle first — so this seems like a nightmare.