Lewis Hamilton has pointed the finger at MotoGP for Circuit de Catalunya losing “a lot of its great character” after the recent resurfacing which has smoothed out the track.

Hamilton and his F1 rivals have remarked at how smooth the Barcelona circuit has become since its entire resurfacing over the winter, while adjustments were made in the final section to expand the run-off areas around the final three turns.

While Carlos Sainz has gone so far as to predict F1 cars will be up to two seconds a lap faster at the Spanish track due to the new Pirelli tyres and the smoother surface, Hamilton feels the challenge of F1’s pre-season testing venue has been smothered by the resurfacing work – going so far as to say the new surface is a waste of money.

“This track has been resurfaced and there are no bumps. I’m not quite sure why they did a resurface as I think it is a waste of money,” Hamilton said. “The older the surface the more character there is in a circuit. They’ve smoothed a lot of it out so it has lost a lot of its great character like a track like Barcelona has.

“They’ve done it at many circuits and I guess it has something to do with MotoGP, so we have that fight. I love MotoGP but they hate us because we make it bumpy and we hate them because they keep getting us to have these big run-off areas.

“The track is quicker than it was in the past, much, much quicker, with a lot more grip so it is difficult to say if the car is that much better or if it is because how much of it is the track or the tyres or the grip.”

Hamilton is eager to get a full assessment of his new Mercedes W09, the 2018 Pirelli F1 tyres and the new Circuit de Catalunya track surface in the second F1 pre-season test on March 6-9 with the weather forecasts predicting warm and dry conditions. The first F1 test was hit by freezing temperatures and snow which provided unrepresentative running conditions.

“Next week we will hopefully get a better understanding,” he said. “I’ve only done 50 or 60 laps today [Friday] so it wasn’t the best of readings but it was positive.

“I had no mistakes and got to it quite quickly. It definitely does feel like a better car compared to last year’s car so that is a positive.”

 

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