Which F1 drivers are racing across the hairline?

September 2015

This article was first published on Yahoo

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Lewis Hamilton may be leading the world championship, but the bald truth is, he has one big reason to worry…

SINGAPORE — Racing in the Singapore Grand Prix at speeds over 300km/h must be pretty hair-raising stuff, but some Formula One drivers should be concerned about how it’s their hairlines that are going up.

That’s the informal opinion of Peggy Goh, the principal trichologist at DRx Trichology, a hair regeneration clinic with outlets in Singapore and Malaysia.

A few issues of CarBuyer ago, we asked Ms Goh if wearing a helmet can contribute in any way to hair loss (it can) and what to do about it.

She says that DRx Trichology does see its fair share of motorcycle riders, and her usual advice is for them to clean their helmets thoroughly and often, and to wear some sort of liner or a bandana.

Shining a CSI-style ultraviolent lamp into a helmet would apparently horrify its user.  “I wish I could get one to scare the daylights out of bikers,” says Goh. “There’s black grime, you perspire, there’s oil, there’s clay, there’s gel, there’s hairspray…” It’s all terrible for the scalp, and can contribute to pre-existing hair loss.

That might not be a problem for Formula One drivers — they wear fresh, fire-resistant balaclavas each day of the race weekend — but even they can’t fight the genetics that cause hair fall in men.

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We chose five drivers from the grid and asked Ms Goh to pretend they were DRx Trichology customers. Here’s where they are on the Norwood scale of hair loss (above), and what she had to say.

PASTOR MALDONADO, 30  Lotus F1

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Maldonado may be lining up in 18th place on the grid for tonight’s Grand Prix, but worse than that, he’s apparently 4th on the Norwood chart. Peggy Goh says he has typical Male Pattern Baldness with a strong genetic predisposition. “He probably started thinning in his 20’s much like the Royals (Princes William and Harry),” she says.

Maldonado isn’t an ideal candidate for hair transplant, she says, but ought to learn from world champ Lewis Hamilton and keep a close shave. (Picking up a few driving tips from him probably wouldn’t hurt, either.)

FELIPE MASSA, 34  Williams

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Massa is a tad older than Maldonado but his hairline presentation is similar,” says Ms Goh. “Massa on the other hand is trying to do a front ‘over-comb’ unsuccessfully, but if he’s game on salvaging his frontal hairline he would be an ideal candidate for transplants.”

That’s the same therapy that restored footballer Wayne Rooney’s locks, and involves extracting hair from thicker regions of the scalp and translating it where things are a bit barer. It’s expensive, but Massa can probably afford it and it would allow him to escape the 5th spot on the Norwood chart.

LEWIS HAMILTON, 30  Mercedes GP

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“Being world number one has its stresses but based on his hairline and age it’s gonna be a slow ascent for Lewis,” says Ms Goh. “There’s certainly more options for him in the form of oral or topical solutions to slow down the thinning as well as maintain his hairline, provided he starts now!”

Clinically-proven drugs like Propecia and Minoxidil would arrest the champ’s hair loss, she says, though he’s already in 4th place on the Norwood scale.

Hamilton would be a good candidate for DRx Trichology’s hair regeneration therapy because although he’s thinning on top, he still has a full head of hair. “Anybody coming in and presenting a bald head, there’s nothing we can do,” she told us. “We need hair to grow hair,”

NICO ROSBERG, 30 Mercedes

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Good news for Rosberg: he’s only at position 3 on the balding chart, which is fine for his age. “For Nico, being 30yrs of age has him in a ‘safe zone’ where there’s only a hint of thinning form his frontal lobes,” says Ms Goh. 

It’s when a person starts losing their hair early, between the ages of 18 and 28, that a strong genetic predisposition is involved and early intervention is needed, she explains.

That leaves Rosberg with one less thing to worry about, and hopefully it will help him to just focus on overtaking his teammate in tonight’s race.

JENSON BUTTON, 35  McLaren-Honda

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Button may be having a lousy season in F1 (he’s 18th out of 20 drivers in the standings and starts tonight’s GP down in 15th) but he’s a champion here, at 2nd place on the Norwood. And he has plenty else going for him, according to our expert.

“Jenson wins hands down in the hair as well as looks department!” says Ms Goh. Analysing pictures of Button with a wet scalp, she concludes that in the race to keep his hair he’s leaving the others behind. “All is well at the top. Even when his hair is wet there no sign of scalp being exposed,” she enthuses. “And when it’s dried and styled he can pass off as any GQ model!”

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