Hamilton admits “Lando should be here” in honest verdict on track limits farce

Lewis Hamilton believes track limits do not need to be enforced at the F1 Qatar Grand Prix as he offered support towards the penalised Lando Norris. 
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14

Norris was one of several drivers to be punished for track limits offences which dominated a farcical end to qualifying as Losail hosted F1 for the first time since 2021.

The Briton had posted a lap time good enough to earn a front-row starting spot for Sunday’s grand prix but dropped back to 10th on the grid after running too wide through Turn 10. 

Norris’ McLaren teammate Oscar Piastri thought he had been promoted to third, only for his own lap time to be deleted while conducting the post-session interviews, leading to confusion in parc ferme. 

Piastri subsequently fell to sixth, with both Mercedes drivers benefitting as George Russell and Hamilton moved up to second and third respectively. 

But Hamilton feels the enforcement of track limits in Qatar was ultimately unnecessary. 

“I think these new kerbs are great,” the seven-time world champion said in the post-qualifying press conference.  

Lando Norris (GBR), McLaren F1 Team Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 18, Qatar Grand Prix, Doha, Qatar, Qualifying Day.-
Lando Norris (GBR), McLaren F1 Team Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 18,…

“When when I went around the track yesterday on the scooter, I thought the kerbs are quite big, but I think they're actually really good. I think when you go beyond the highest point of the kerb, you lose time.

“So I don’t feel at this track we need to have track limits. It was something the new stewards brought in a couple of years ago. And yeah… Lando should be up here.

“I think it’s a good learning. We can take these kerbs to a bunch of other tracks because obviously MotoGP are fine with these kerbs. 

“We can have these in like Austria for example. As I said, when you go beyond them, you should be able to utilise as much as possible, but when you go beyond them, you lose time. 

“So it shouldn’t be the white line necessary, but anyways, it’s not for me to decide.” 

Hamilton’s teammate Russell said: “I can't really speak for the others just it's very challenging out there. You got to be very, very precise. We're talking millimetres sometimes. 

“I've had no track limits, but two weeks ago, I crashed into the wall and lost the podium. That was a small track limits there. 

“So yeah, not too sure. I don't know. But definitely it is a bit frustrating when we go to great circuits. 

“This is a really great circuit, but then it's so difficult to know where that limit is, where the edge is, and we need to find a better solution for the future.”

Pole sitter Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing in qualifying parc ferme. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 18, Qatar
Pole sitter Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing in qualifying parc ferme…

Max Verstappen, who only needed one run in Q3 to storm to his 10th pole position of the season, prefers how track limits is dealt with at old-school venues like Suzuka. 

"It's always tough, honestly. It's easy to go just over it. I do think these kerbs are a little bit better,” he said. 

“I don't think people who went wide actually gained time, it's just a bit annoying, because if you go a little bit wider you bottom out and you damage your your floor potentially and you definitely lose time. 

“So I think that has been already a big positive compared to the last time that we were here. 

“I think, why don't we really see track limits for example, in Suzuka, is because it's like old school. If you go off, there's immediate gravel. 

“Of course, already in some places, in Suzuka, you have these double kerbs, and there might be track limits in some places, but in the older places, which they haven't touched you never talk about track limits. 

“I would always prefer to see that kind of style of racing. But of course, some places we share with bikes and they like a bit more run-off. 

“We always have to try and find a compromise but sometimes it hurts them and sometimes it hurts us a little bit more.” 

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