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Tracks have become too forgiving, says Hamilton

May 7, 2013, 12:45 PM EDT


Lewis Hamilton says modern Formula One tracks don’t punish drivers for making mistakes.

Astroturf [artificial grass] and tarmac run-offs have replaced grass and gravel traps at many circuits. The 2008 world champion says that means drivers are getting away with mistakes which would have cost them dearly in years gone by.

“If you watch Sebastian Vettel now he always runs over the Astroturf and over the curb a little more than he should, going beyond the white line, which you’re not actually allowed to do but they let you get away with it,” Hamilton explained to the Daily Mail.

“In Senna’s day, if he went one foot over that curb, it would be grass and he would spin, and be penalized. He would be right on the limit, rather than over the limit — and I respect that style of driving more.

“Now you can go beyond and get back because modern tracks have run-off areas. They used to be gravel. Hit that, and your car was damaged or stuck. Now you can push beyond, go wide and come back on.”

“When you do and get away with it, you think, ‘Great’, but the reason I love street circuits like Monaco is there is no room for error and if you make a mistake, you pay. I don’t want people to pay by being hurt, but losing time, or having the car stop; that’s what racing is about.”

However Hamilton discovered just how punishing artificial run-off areas can be during last year’s Korean Grand Prix when a loose piece of Astroturf became attached to his car, slowing him down.

  1. indycarseries500 - May 7, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    Anyone who doesn’t agree with this doesn’t deserve to have anything to do with racing.

  2. icemanpjn - May 7, 2013 at 11:54 PM


    Lewis’s statements are very true, but unfortunately irrelevant. There’s a reason for these things like huge run-off areas – safety. It’s the same reason that we don’t have 1,500-horsepower, 800-pound cars with speeds of 300+ MPH and cornering at speeds subjecting drivers to 20 Gs.

  3. purplesectornet - May 8, 2013 at 10:16 AM

    It’s not the big a deal…4 wheels off is the rule and I’m fine with it…

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