It turns out that Lewis Hamilton has, so far this year, been driving his Formula 1 car without a drinks bottle aboard.
It seems that this year’s Mercedes F1 car is a touch overweight and that Hamilton volunteered to go without the bottle, which brings the car a couple of kilos closer to the 728kg minimum that the cars can run at – or it lets Mercedes ballast the car precisely where they want to, to improve the handling.
Maybe it made the difference in the Spanish Grand Prix the other week, and the adequately lubricated Sebastian Vettel could have held Hamilton at bay if only he’d been prepared to be thirstier. Or maybe not.
Anyway, when it comes to going fast, weight counts – and on a circuit, losing weight is the virtuous thing that keeps on giving.
Which is, presumably, why you’ve been able to buy some limited-run Porsches, Ferraris and McLarens – and Renaults and Volkswagens – without radios or air-con over the years. Engineers and test drivers at sports car companies realise that shedding perhaps 15kg or 20kg from the inside of a sports car will make it go faster and be more enjoyable.
To add these features back in is usually a no-cost-option. And when these cars get configured and ordered by their future owners, with very few exceptions, they put them back in: a move I can understand entirely. A Porsche 911 GT3 RS without a stereo and air conditioning is a strictly fabulous track and road car. But a Porsche 911 GT3 RS with a stereo and air conditioning is a car that isn’t really annoyingly noisy and sweaty to drive several hundred miles to a circuit in.