Formula 1: Lewis Hamilton & Nico Rosberg feel the heat in Malaysia

Malaysian Grand Prix
The Malaysian Grand Prix is live across the BBC Sport website and BBC Radio 5 live

Malaysian Grand Prix coverage details

It is not so much the heat as the humidity that gets you. After all, there are a number of races that take place in higher temperatures than the 32C that it seems to be every day in Malaysia.

What's different about Sepang is its latitude. There is not much left to provide a physical reminder that this race track has been built on what used to be tropical rain forest; oil palm plantations surround it now. But it is tangible nonetheless - the energy-sapping closeness is just so intense.

And that's just walking around. Out on the track, where temperatures well over 50C heat up the cockpits to 60C, the drivers are wearing four-layer fireproof overalls, balaclavas and helmets. And they drive like that in the race for well over an hour and a half.

The characteristics of Pirelli's heat-sensitive tyres have taken the edge off what used to be close to torture. But even lapping a second or more off the pace to manage the rubber, the drivers are given a physical workout of a pretty extreme nature.

Formula 1

Even in the Pirelli era, this - like neighbouring Singapore - is one of the few tracks where they still cannot step out of the car and look as if they have been for a Sunday afternoon drive.

The demanding nature of this circuit is enhanced by, well, the demanding nature of the circuit.

This was the first track to be designed for F1 by now-resident architect Hermann Tilke and it is arguably still the best.

The fast right-left at Turns Five and Six is for the very brave; the entry into Seven and Eight is deceptively fast; the quick left-right at 12 and 13 difficult again, a melange of cambers followed by a tricky brake-and-turn into 13 - where Sergio Perez threw away his chances of a Sauber victory chasing Fernando Alonso's Ferrari in the dramatic 2012 race.

Add in two long straights, ending in wide-entry corners for overtaking, and the recipe is pretty good.

It's just a shame hardly anyone turns up to watch - even after 17 years, F1 is still struggling to draw people to watch it live in Malaysia.

Andrew Benson, chief F1 writer

Formula 1

When it rains, it pours

Malaysian Grand Prix
Half points were awarded at the 2009 Malaysian Grand Prix as torrential rain forced the race to be abandoned after 32 laps. Winner Jenson Button picked up five points

Well this is awkward

Formula 1
And the award for the most awkward podium picture goes to.... this one after the Malaysian Grand Prix in 2013. It was the race that featured the infamous "Multi-21" order, an instruction to Sebastian Vettel to hold position behind race leader Mark Webber. Vettel was having none of it, chasing down his then Red Bull team-mate before passing him for the win. It may have been hot in Malaysia but things were frosty on the podium that day...

The Iceman thaweth...

Formula 1
Do not adjust your screens. This is indeed Kimi Raikkonen with a smile on his face. That's because the Malaysian Grand Prix in 2003 was the scene of his first victory in Formula 1. The spiky haired, fresh-faced Finn was just 23 at the time

Vettel the master of Malaysia

Formula
Kimi Raikkonen is one of only four drivers to have won the race more than once. Sebastian Vettel has the most wins, taking victory in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2015

Feeling the heat

Nico Rosberg
It's hot in Malaysia. Very hot. With temperatures above 32C, it can become very uncomfortable for the driver. They also have to contend with sweat dripping into their eyes during a race and Nico Rosberg took a novel approach to dealing with the issue, putting a sanitary pad inside his helmet. He has yet to win the race.

Hot in the city

Kuala Lumpur
Given the impressive number of skyscrapers, Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur has a surprisingly small population of 1.6 million - a million less than Greater Manchester

Local wildlife

Malayan Tiger
If you are in Malaysia for the grand prix, probably best not to wander into the country's forests. There you might find the Malayan tiger, the country's national animal

Rosberg ready to go

Nico Rosberg

Feeling old? Then this will make you feel young

Rain forest
Malaysia is believed to be home to the oldest rainforest in the world. Taman Negara is estimated to be more than 130 million years of age

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