Skip to content

Tracks have become too forgiving, says Hamilton

May 7, 2013, 12:45 PM EST

AUTO-PRIX-F1-BAHRAIN-PRACTICE

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Straight No Chaser to sing “Back Home Again in Indiana” at 2015 Indy 500 (VIDEO)

    Dec 22, 2014, 6:02 PM EST

    Credit: LeAnn Mueller Credit: LeAnn Mueller

    The big-name a cappella group will carry on one of the 500’s greatest traditions next May.

  2. Ferrari chairman expects another tough season in 2015

    Dec 22, 2014, 5:22 PM EST

    Italy Ferrari Montezemolo Out AP

    Sergio Marchionne: “I think 2015 is going to be a reconstitution year.”

  3. Top NASCAR stories of 2014: No. 10 – Jimmie Johnson falls short of seventh championship

    Dec 22, 2014, 4:50 PM EST

    (Jason Merritt/Getty Images for dcp) Getty Images

    Jimmie Johnson not only fell short of his seventh Sprint Cup championship in 2014, he also recorded the worst single-season finish in his Cup career.

  4. Sale deadline extended for dormant Nashville Superspeedway

    Dec 22, 2014, 3:00 PM EST

    Firestone Indy 200 Getty Images

    1.33-mile concrete oval outside the Music City has not hosted major auto racing since 2011.

  5. NASCAR: Top drivers of 2014 – No. 24 Martin Truex Jr.

    Dec 22, 2014, 2:00 PM EST

    Hollywood Casino 400 - Practice Getty Images

    Truex’s first year with Furniture Row Racing was largely disappointing.

  6. NASCAR: Top drivers of 2014 – No. 23 Marcos Ambrose

    Dec 22, 2014, 1:00 PM EST

    Camping World RV Sales 301 - Practice Getty Images

    Ambrose narrowly missed clinching a Chase berth after his epic battle at the Glen with A.J. Allmendinger.

  7. MRTI Entry List update before the Christmas holiday

    Dec 22, 2014, 12:30 PM EST

    Photo via @IndyLights Photo via @IndyLights

    A quick roundup of who’s where at the moment in Indy Lights, Pro Mazda and USF2000.

  8. Scot Elkins will join Pro Mazda/USF2000 as Race Director

    Dec 22, 2014, 11:19 AM EST

    MazdaRoadToIndy

    IMSA’s Scot Elkins joins MRTI as race director.

  9. Carl Edwards: “I plan on winning 10 races and the championship”

    Dec 22, 2014, 10:15 AM EST

    EdwardsP9 Getty Images

    In interview, Carl Edwards sets some high goals for himself in first year with JGR.

  10. NASCAR: Jeremy Bullins promoted to Wood Brothers crew chief

    Dec 22, 2014, 9:29 AM EST

    Bullins Getty Images

    Bullins up to the Cup level as crew chief of Blaney’s No. 21.

  11. NASCAR: Dale Jr. expects even more performance in 2015

    Dec 21, 2014, 8:00 PM EST

    Ford EcoBoost 400 - Qualifying Getty Images

    Junior speaks highly, already, of new crew chief Greg Ives.

  12. Sutil rips F1’s pay driver situation

    Dec 21, 2014, 6:30 PM EST

    AUTO-PRIX-BRA-F1-PRESSER-SUTIL Getty Images

    Ex-Sauber driver Adrian Sutil calls out F1 pay-driver situation, although it could just be a case of sour grapes.

  13. WEC: 2015 sporting regulations for series released by FIA

    Dec 21, 2014, 5:30 PM EST

    AUTO-FRA-ENDURANCE-LE MANS Getty Images

    A number of tweaks are coming for the global sports car racing series.

  14. Late wreck ends hope of top-5 finish for Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in dirt track race

    Dec 21, 2014, 4:58 PM EST

    (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Going back to his dirt track roots, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished eighth in the fifth annual Great Clips Battle at the Center in DuQuoin, Ill., on Saturday.

  15. Another week, another driver wedding; this time, it’s Ty Dillon’s turn (PHOTOS)

    Dec 21, 2014, 4:00 PM EST

    Lilly Diabetes 250 Getty Images

    The XFINITY Series driver for Richard Childress Racing marries girlfriend Haley Carey.

  16. UPDATED — Highway to Hell(cat): Owner wrecks 707-hp Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat one hour after buying it

    Dec 21, 2014, 2:54 PM EST

    (Photo courtesy Facebook via MotorAuthority.com) (Photo courtesy Facebook via MotorAuthority.com)

    With just 40 less horsepower than a 2015 Sprint Cup car, the new Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is VERY powerful. One new Hellcat owner, who bought it just one hour earlier, found out the hard way about all that power.

  17. Top NASCAR stories of 2014: No. 10 – Kurt Busch and “The Double”

    Dec 21, 2014, 2:30 PM EST

    Kurt Busch AP

    The Outlaw takes on the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 in the same day.

  18. NASCAR: Top drivers of 2014 – No. 22 Brian Vickers

    Dec 21, 2014, 1:00 PM EST

    FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks - Practice Getty Images

    Vickers made his full-time return to Sprint Cup action in 2014, which in itself was a victory.

  19. NASCAR: Top drivers of 2014 – No. 21 Paul Menard

    Dec 21, 2014, 12:26 PM EST

    (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Paul Menard had a decent season at times in 2014, but fell short of making the Chase in the final qualifying race.

Video from NASCAR America

NASCAR America's 2014 blooper reel
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. B. Vickers (2242)
  2. K. Busch (2093)
  3. C. Coughlin (1952)
  4. D. Armstrong (1929)
  5. L. Cassill (1800)