Hamilton: ‘Not motorsport’ to inform on F1 rivals
By Ian Parkes
Monday 3rd July, 2023 - 11:04am
Lewis Hamilton believes it is “not racing” to inform on instances of foul play from a rival driver during a grand prix.
The seven-time F1 champion was both accused and an accusor during an Austrian Grand Prix overshadowed by what the FIA reported as being ‘in excess of 100 deleted laps’ for track limits violations at the Red Bull Ring.
During the opening stages of the race, McLaren’s Lando Norris shadowed Mercedes driver Hamilton, and at one stage declared over the radio his fellow Briton was ‘going off every lap everywhere’.
Hamilton eventually picked up a five-second time penalty – one of six drivers to do so – for exceeding track limits, either through Turn 9 or 10, en route to finishing a disappointing seventh. That became eighth when a post-race penalty was applied.
There were instances during the race when Hamilton called out other drivers for their own infringements, including Norris and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, although neither was punished.
“I think they need to probably find a new solution for this track,” remarked Hamilton.
“A few years ago, when we didn’t have the track limit thing, the track was more enjoyable to drive.
“Now, it’s strange to be driving and have to comment on the car ahead because that’s what the team wants you to do.
“I think they did it in Austin a couple of years ago, but that’s not racing, right? It’s not motorsport.
“But as soon as he (Norris) got past me, he went off like at least 10 times, and so did Perez.
“Perez would go off at Turn nine and Turn 10, and he didn’t get a penalty.
“We should be able to just go off and none of us get a penalty.”
Hamilton claims his own infringements were caused by the fact a decision was taken that resulted in too much front wing being taken out of the car due to the W14 having “a really bad rear end” this weekend.
Despite hope it would provide balance and allow the car to go long, Hamilton added: “We massively over-egged it.
“I was almost full lock around the last two corners. Going into Turn 10, I was just sliding, and I couldn’t do anything about it.
“Through the pit stops we made, we added a lot of wing, and the car started to slowly come back to…or at least it was getting round and staying on track.
“But I definitely didn’t expect to be as bad as we were. I don’t really have an answer for it. It’s definitely surprising.”
It was believed upgrades added to the car at the Monaco Grand Prix, which bore fruit in the following two races in Spain and Canada, had set Mercedes on the right development path.
Austria, however, has appeared to see Mercedes take a step backward.
“The feeling of the car was very much the same as the feeling I’ve had for the last year, and in that respect, it’s not the biggest surprise,” remarked Hamilton.
“It was definitely different compared to the last two races. The last two races were way, way better.
“I’m just saying, in terms of the characteristics of the car, it’s fundamentally the same.”