F1 racing driver Lewis Hamilton said he can lose up to 10 pounds during competition, calling the sport 'incredibly physical'
- Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton can lose up to 10 lbs in each race, he said.
- Professional drivers expend a lot of energy to withstand gravitational forces, and lose water weight through sweat.
Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton loses up to 10 lbs during a one hour and 45 minute race, he told reporters ahead of the 2022 Miami Grand Prix.
Drivers expend a lot of energy to withstand high g-forces, or gravitational forces, from acceleration. They also wear thick suits and compete in hot weather with little hydration, which makes them sweat a lot and lose water weight, according to motorsport website One Stop Racing.
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For this reason, drivers are weighed before and after racing to monitor their dehydration and health.
Hamilton told TV host Graham Norton in 2019 that he loses more weight when racing in hot places, "but also just because it's incredibly physical."
The g-force is up to six times your body weight, he said, so stability requires a strong core.
"When you're doing 150-180 mph and you turn, the thing turns and your body wants to go the opposite way so you have to have really good core stability, you can't be big and bulky," Hamilton said.
He's also conscious of not being too top-heavy, so he avoids building his shoulders, and instead focuses on squats for his butt, he said.
Hamilton said he has to stay light and lean
Weight is extremely important in Hamilton's race performance, he said.
The seven-time world champion told Norton that there are no extras on the car that could add more weight, such as air conditioning, and if the car is too heavy, they take components off.
Hamilton also carefully monitors his weight.
"10 kilos of fuel in the car costs 3/10s of a second every circuit, per lap," he said. "So if I'm one kg overweight, I can lose up to two seconds in the race distance. So my weight is very important."
Hamilton's team gives him a driving weight that he has to maintain, he said.
"Each year the car is built to a certain weight, but at the beginning of the year it's heavy so they ask me to be a certain weight, so a little bit lighter than normal," he said.
In 2019, Formula 1 created a new rule stating that the combined weight of a driver and their chair had to be 80 kg (176 lbs) minimum, and anyone lighter would have to be weighed down with ballasts (weights to provide stability), so as not to disadvantage taller, heavier drivers.
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