Lewis Hamilton has called for changes to be made to the design of the track at Yas Marina Circuit in order to make racing on it more entertaining.
The four-time world champion believes Abu Dhabi is “the best place” to host the Formula One season finale but the lack of overtaking opportunities of its track has often resulted in boring races, including Sunday night’s routine affair that saw Valtteri Bottas secure victory from pole position.
The top eight in the race finished in the same order as their qualifying standings (positions 4 to 8 each moved up one spot due to Daniel Ricciardo’s DNF).
“If there’s any way we can improve this track to enable us to have these battles… you’ve got these long straights where you can’t even get close enough to utilise them. If there’s some way where we can enable us to be able to remain closer in that third sector, I think this will go up in the rankings of a great circuit,” Hamilton said on Sunday night after claiming second place in the race.
“I don’t know if they can do it but I know there’s money to do it but I just hope… I have hope for Abu Dhabi to get better.”
Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen did everything he could to try and pip Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen on Sunday but ended up in P5 behind the Finn, just like they started.
The 20-year-old Dutchman did not hold back in sarcasm when describing how the race unfolded.
“For me that was a pretty boring race, if I had a pillow in the car I could have fallen asleep. I tried to follow Kimi at the start but it’s so hard at this track and I couldn’t find an opportunity to pass. As soon as you get within 1.5 seconds it is really tough to get close and make a pass,” said Verstappen.
Yas Marina Circuit was designed by German engineer Hermann Tilke, who also designed the tracks in Sepang, Bahrain, Shanghai, Istanbul, Valencia, and Singapore and was involved in the overhaul of some of the European circuits.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff admits last night’s race was not an interesting one, describing it as a “procession of cars” but didn’t just blame the circuit.
“I think the race itself wasn’t very spectacular, the championship was already decided but also with the new regulations of cars, these cars are extremely difficult to overtake. You could see that between Raikkonen and Verstappen and the same between Valtteri and Lewis,” said Wolff.
“A track like Abu Dhabi is probably one where you can see where the effect is the worst and that’s why we saw a procession of cars rather than an exciting race.”
While some may prefer having the season-closing race to be at a track that offers more opportunities for having an exciting race, Hamilton feels Abu Dhabi is the right place to host the finale.
The Brit added that Yas Marina Circuit was not the only venue that had this problem.
“I think ultimately you can look at a lot of the tracks, my engineers can give me a number for overtaking delta for every single circuit and it obviously varies. Which is strange that the TV don’t even advertise that. They don’t tell people while they’re watching TV that the reason someone cannot overtake is because of the downforce, the drag issue, and then from track to track varies. That’s something perhaps they should include,” said Hamilton.
“But no, I think this is one of the best, if not the best, place to have the last race, in terms of the atmosphere, in terms of the hospitality, it’s second to none, it’s such a beautiful place, so it’s a great week.
“I think the track, as a lot of the tracks do, have some small flaws in the sense that it’s hard to follow, or can’t follow, which I think can make better racing. How they go about doing that, I can’t tell you, I’m not a track designer, and I don’t know if it can be changed but…”
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