Mercedes says Mugello took a “punishing toll” on Hamilton and Bottas

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

Mercedes’ Strategy Director James Vowles says the Mugello Circuit dished out a lot of physical punishment to their drivers.

The Tuscan Grand Prix marked the first time a Formula 1 race was held at the Mugello Circuit. This left drivers to cope with the harsh conditions of the track for the first time.

“In terms of load on the driver, Mugello is right up there with the very worst circuits,” said Vowles in Mercedes’ race debrief.

“This year we have a number of circuits that will be very difficult on the drivers. Istanbul, coming up a bit later in the season, will be exactly the same.”

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However, Vowles acknowledges the drivers were helped by two red flags during the grand prix.

“The stoppages helped them. It allows you to just get out of the car, rest, relax for just a short period of time and allows a little bit of recovery.

“But ultimately it’s the muscles in your body that are suffering, especially in the neck and the core, and the punishment is the same – you’re still going around there flat out through a high-speed sequence from turn six all the way through to turn nine that’s nearly all full throttle with over 4G’s worth of forces every time.

“That has a punishing toll on them. Both commented after that it was exhausting, a both mentally and physically draining race.

“Ultimately, both drivers train in between grands prix for the level of strength required both in the core and the neck for somewhere like Mugello, and their fitness was at exactly the right level to deal with that circuit,” concluded Vowles.

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