The 2017 Malaysian GP will be the final race in the country. The Malaysian government decided not to renew the contract beyond 2017. Declining ticket sales, viewer figures and tourism numbers were the main reason behind their decision. Three-time world champion Hamilton echoed the sentiments of fellow drivers when he said that he will miss racing on the high-speed track. The Sepang International Circuit has been a regular on the F1 calendar since its debut in 1999.
Hamilton said “It is definitely sad to think this is the last race because it is such an epic grand prix in terms of a physical challenge. It’s the most challenging for the car and the team, so they are taking away one of the toughest, if not the toughest, grand prix of the season, which will be hard to replace.”
How Demanding is it?
The track is so demanding that drivers can lose three litres of body fluid in sweat over a 90-minute race. Hamilton’s Mercedes’ team-mate Valtteri Bottas likened the conditions to ‘a mild sauna’. The Finn said ” We have all of our gear on — plus the helmet — and the car is hot as well. The seat itself is warm, and then we’re surrounded in the cockpit by the electrical boxes. It gets really hot. One of the main things is to keep hydrated. If you dip just once with your hydration, it takes a long time to get back on track. We have to drink lots of water as well as sports drinks containing electrolytes to keep the levels at the right place. You absolutely need to make sure you’re well hydrated.”
Earlier in the year, Hamilton opted to go without a water bottle in an effort to save weight. Since Malaysia is one of the the hottest races, Lewis may have a tough time. Hamilton, who leads Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in this year’s drivers’ championship by 28 points, won the race at the Hermann Tilke-designed track in 2014, but was forced to retire last year after suffering engine failure when leading from pole position.