During the Qatar Grand Prix, many F1 drivers have been complaining of extreme heat, with Williams’ Logan Sargeant not even able to finish the race.
Afterwards, McLaren’s Lando Norris warned of “dangerous heat”, and the FIA said it would “take all reasonable measures to establish and communicate acceptable parameters in which competitions are held”.
When asked about his opinion on the issue, Lewis immediately warned his take would be “controversial”.
“I’m going to be controversial as always,” the Briton said.
“Obviously I didn’t do the race, so didn’t get to feel the pain that the drivers felt. But I have obviously been here a long time.
“Malaysia was much hotter than that race and I know what it’s like to lose four or more kilos in the race and barely being able to stand afterwards.
“My feeling towards it is… this is an extreme sport. You don’t have marathon runners who are passing out after the marathon, saying you have got to make it shorter.
“This is an extreme sport and we are paid very highly for what we do and from my perspective when I’ve not been feeling great at the end of the race, I’ve just got to train harder and that’s how it’s been for me.”
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Since the issue emerged, there have been talks about the possibility of shortening races if the conditions are extreme. Lewis says he’s completely against that.
“I don’t personally want them to shorten the races and make it easier for us. I want it to be extreme.
“I want to feel the difference, I want to feel pain in my body, I want to be able to, hopefully with that extra bit of training that you put in or that extra bit of dedication that you have had, helps you get that extra lap and win that race. That’s what this is about.
“We have got to be careful how we move with changes. We have got track limits and all these big runoff areas.
“Back in the [Ayrton] Senna days, you go over the kerb, it’s grass and you pay the penalty. It’s like, ‘let’s not get too soft!’
“Of course, if I was in the race, I would have struggled to get out afterwards also. But, I love that. That makes it closer to what it was back in the day, where Mansell was passing out after a race.
“This is extreme and we are supposed to be elite athletes, and to be elite, you need to be pushing to the limit,” the Briton concluded.