Former Formula 1 driver Martin Brundle puts some of the late collisions at the end of the Miami Grand Prix down to the intense heat, which limited the drivers’ capacity to focus.
Max Verstappen commented after winning the race in Florida that the heat was akin to that the drivers notoriously feel in Singapore, adding that he lost three kilograms on Sunday.
The drivers were visibly worn out after proceedings had drawn to a close in Miami Gardens, as evidenced by Carlos Sainz removing his undershirt in the cool down room before the top three headed out onto the podium.
Brundle recalls the physical torment he went through after a race, and feels for Verstappen, who was forced to sit in a Buggy after the 57-lap event as he was transported to the podium erected on the Hard Rock Stadium.
“It’s a long time since I’ve seen these super-fit and perfectly prepared F1 drivers look so battered after a 94-minute race,” he wrote in his Sky Column.
“I know that horrible post-race feeling well, where your core is so hot and continues to well up, you’re missing a lot of fluid and every organ, muscle and tendon is complaining heavily in its demand for essential ingredients.
“You just can’t get away from your own body as the pain builds and the adrenalin fades. I felt for Max Verstappen sitting on the buggy post-race with the camera zoomed in – I’m sure he just wanted to lie down, roll around and groan a bit.”
The 62-year-old notes that the heat, combined with the loose track surface that was affecting grip all weekend, made for an extremely difficult afternoon.
“Occasionally, after two hours in the humidity of Singapore they look pretty wrecked, but the grip level of the track and low degradation tyres, and therefore the relentless pace, was tough,” he added.
“There’s always an airless nature racing against the walls of a street circuit and inside the cockpit can be 50+ degrees as the aerodynamicists never want to waste much air and drag on the driver, who are then wrapped in multiple layers of clothing, gloves, helmets, boots, balaclava.”
Towards the end of the race, Fernando Alonso slammed into the back of Pierre Gasly at Turn One, before the Frenchman then clattered into Lando Norris while trying to coax his wounded AlphaTauri back to the pits.
Mick Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel also came together at Turn One, but Brundle believes that the extreme Florida heat resulted in a lack of focus.
“I believe a lot of the clumsy contact we saw towards the end of the race was due to overheating drivers, which can make you feel light-headed and your judgement fades a little,” said the Briton.
Alonso apologised to Gasly in the wake of the collision between the pair, while Vettel said that his crash with Schumacher was “stupid” from both of them.