Hamilton loves 'fast and awesome' tweaked Barcelona layout

© XPB 

Lewis Hamilton gave his ringing endorsement to the changes made to the Circuit de Catalunya's final sector which have made the track "much more fun" according to the Briton.

In a bid to improve overtaking down the circuit's main straight, the track was stripped of its final chicane complex.

Drivers now exit Turn 12 and rush through two right-hand high-speed corners before charging down the straight which should increase the slipstream effect between cars and boost overtaking opportunities on race day.

"It is awesome and very fast," Hamilton said after Friday's practice. "I definitely prefer it to the small chicane we had in the past. It is much more fun."

Hamilton said that he hadn't yet had a chance to verify the slipstream effect down the main straight.

"I have not followed anyone through there, so I don't know how that is going to be in the race."

Hamilton's Mercedes teammate George Russell also gave the changes a big thumbs up.

"It’s gone from one of the worst corners in Formula 1 to one of the best corners in Formula 1. So that’s really enjoyable," he said.

"I think it will probably help overtaking a little bit because the old layout was such a slow speed corner that you could only get so close and then the guy puts his foot down and disappears."

For Friday's pacesetter Max Verstappen, the changes have made the Barcelona venue "better and more fun to drive".

"F1 cars feel much better at high speed," said the red Bull charger. "I tried to follow a few cars through there as well and it seemed okay, I’m positively surprised by the overtaking opportunities."

Local hero Carlos Sainz echoed his colleagues' views.

"It's a lot better, a lot more exciting," commented the Ferrari driver. "And it’s more demanding physically and mentally with the last two corners the way they are."

It has been suggested that Barcelona could be replaced on F1's calendar by a race on the streets of Madrid, perhaps even as early as 2025.

Hamilton argued in favor of the Circuit de Catalunya remaining as Spain's historic venue for F1.

"I don’t think I’d want to lose Barcelona," said the seven-time world champion.

"One, I love the city. But the track, I do think it’s important that we keep some of the classic circuits. At least the ones that provide great racing.

"Budapest is spectacular, the Silverstone grand prix is spectacular. This track, there’s a lot of really great and original circuits that we should keep, maybe some that don’t provide the greatest of racing maybe switch those out.

"I just think about this sport, the heritage of the sport and we’ve got to make sure we hold onto those, they are the pillars of what the sport is, in my opinion."

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter