Lewis Hamilton says modern circuit designs are the main problem which cause incidents like Max Verstappen’s controversial post-race penalty at the United States Grand Prix.

Verstappen appeared to have all four wheels of his Red Bull car off the track as he overtook Kimi Raikkonen on the last lap of the US race to initially claim third place before being hit with a five-second time penalty to be demoted to fourth place.

While the penalty enraged Red Bull who demanded consistency from race stewards after a number of drivers were seen going off track without getting penalised during the race weekend, Hamilton agrees Verstappen was off the track and at threat of a penalty but blamed the tarmac run-off areas at the Circuit of the Americas for enabling the Dutch driver to take the risk.

“This is the problem with today’s circuits. I don’t know who made the decision, but there are all these damn run-off areas,” Hamilton said on Sky F1. “Why is that not grass? No one usually goes there. But if that was grass, he wouldn’t have gone there.

“I don’t know why they made all this on the circuit. Particularly like the new generation of drivers coming in and very happy to exploit those things. Clearly he’s way off the line, he can’t go there.”

Hamilton is certain the issue will arise at future F1 drivers' briefings as it has done in the past but rather than point the finger at the organisers the Mercedes driver has edged the blame on to the circuits.

“During drivers’ briefings we always discuss it. Here you can take an advantage, and there’s an argument and Charlie [Whiting, FIA race director] would say ‘You don’t gain an advantage here’ and you can keep the power earlier and go wide,” he said. “It’s strange here because exit of turn nine you used to be not able to go wide, and now you can just go off track. Last corner you can go over the big kerb.

“There is a really fine line. I think the FIA are doing a good job. But when it comes to new tracks, they can’t build all these run-off areas.”


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