Hamilton 'no fan' of new circuits and large run-offs


Lewis Hamilton has suggested that some modern Formula 1 circuits go too far in their approach to safety.

Hamilton was talking about last year's season finale, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. But he felt that Yas Marina Circuit was not alone in having massive run-off areas that impacted the quality of racing.

“The FIA have done an amazing job [on safety]," Hamilton insisted. "But they’ve really got to stop with these run-off areas - you shouldn’t be able to cut a corner like you see."

Hamilton said that that in the past, the element of danger meant that drivers has to weigh up the risks of their actions.

"Of course you don’t want to crash, but if you go wide you’ve got to lose time," he told BBC Sport. "Now you can approach a corner knowing that if you go in five per cent too much you can go wide and come back on.

"The exciting thing is being on the limit. It's getting out there and discovering the limit faster than everyone else," he explained.

"And then when you get to that limit, playing with the limit, then balancing on the edge. Controlling it. I love that."

The current Formula 1 world champion said that the circuits he grew up racing on in the past were much better at promoting exciting racing.

“I used to love Oulton Park and Donington," he said, singling out a particular corner at the latter for praise. "Old Hairpin was a nightmare. You have to come off the brakes and run the speed in, use the downforce.

"Then up the hill and the second right before the back straight [Coppice]," he continued. "You can’t even see the white line. There is white line and then gravel. And the gravel sucks you off.

"Finding the limit there, that corner is way harder than all the corners in Formula 1," he said. "That's the sort of corner F1 is missing. If we had that back in F1, it would bring another level to the challenge.

But Hamilton also said that the new specification cars introduced at the start of 2017 have helped put the spice back into some of Formula 1's top circuits.

"They've been a big step in the right direction, much more enjoyable. Another step like this would be good. And bring some of the noise back.

“The high-speed corners this year have been, 'Phwoar!'” he said, singling out Pouhon at Spa for praise. "Silverstone - Copse and then Maggotts and Becketts. Suzuka - the Esses. They are the special ones."

But he admitted that some of the newer circuits have also delivered on the thrills, with the Circuit of the Americas top of the list.

"For some reason Austin is the best set-up because there are different lines you can take within that," he said. "The best corners of the season are generally Austin - turns three-four-five-six-seven.

"I love Austin. Somehow the layout. I don't think they planned it but it's enabled it to be a track you can overtake on. It's one of my favourite tracks, actually, and I don't like new tracks usually."

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