[Hamilton: Qatar circuit provides model to ditch F1 track limits
Behind polesitter Max Verstappen, who will land his third title if he scores three points in the Saturday sprint race at Losail, Mercedes drivers George Russell and Hamilton snared second and third place in Friday night qualifying for the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix.
But the duo was only bumped up after faster McLaren drivers Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri both belatedly had their final Q3 lap times deleted for track-limit violations.
Speaking in the post-shootout press conference, Hamilton reckoned Norris should have taken his place in front of the media. He also said the Qatari kerbs that immediately punish drivers for running wide provided a model so that the FIA could look at ditching track limits at other venues.
This would theoretically avoid any confusion during the window that the FIA requires to delete lap times and adjust the leaderboard accordingly.
“I think these new kerbs are great,” said the seven-time champion. “When I went round the track yesterday on the scooter, I thought the kerbs looked quite big.
“But I think they’re actually really good. When you go beyond the highest point of the kerb you lose time, so I don’t feel like at this track we need to have track limits.
“It’s something that the new stewards brought in a couple of years ago. Lando should be up here.
“I think we can take these kerbs as a good learning. We can take these kerbs to a bunch of other tracks.”
During the Austrian GP earlier this season, the FIA had to sift through over 1200 possible track limit infringements, found 83 cases and applied 15 time penalties.
Hamilton reckoned the Qatari layout, whereby drivers lose time anyway for running wide, would be usable at other circuits to avoid any similar scenarios unfolding.
He said: “Obviously, MotoGP [which races at Losail] are fine with these kerbs and we can have these in like Austria, for example.
“When you go beyond them, you should be able to utilise as much as possible but when you go beyond them you lose time. So, it shouldn’t be the white line [that is] necessary, but anyway, it’s not for me to decide.”
Verstappen added: “I do think these kerbs are a little bit better. I don’t think people now who actually went wide actually gain time.
“It’s just a bit annoying because if you go a little bit wider, you bottom out and you damage your floor potentially and you definitely lose time.
“I think that has been already a big positive already compared to last time we were here.”