George Russell who is the new Grand Prix Drivers Association Director has defended Lewis Hamilton’s driving in the Bahrain Grand Prix and called for more consistent enforcement of track limits.
Hamilton was warned by race control for running too wide at turn four during the season-opening race, despite drivers having been told track limits would not be enforced at that corner after qualifying.
“It is a quite a unique corner with that entry piece of Tarmac going off,” Russell explained. “I guess a better solution is needed for that specific corner.”
During the race Red Bull noticed how wide Hamilton was running at the corner and advised Max Verstappen to do the same to avoid losing time to his rival. Hamilton was later given his warning, prompting him to ask: “I thought there was no track limits?”
Verstappen then overtook Hamilton while running wide at the same corner and was advised to relinquish the position, which he did. Russell said the episode showed the need for a clear visible definition of track limits.
“I understand it both ways, to be honest,” he said. “We initially said ‘let’s not bother about it and let drivers do as they wish’. I think some guys on Friday were taking that to another extreme which looked a bit silly on television.
“But in my opinion it was fine – if that’s the limit, that is the limit. Just because there’s a white line two metres inside it, it’s easier just to drive to the natural limit the circuit allows you to take as opposed to a piece of paint.
“It’s my understanding track limits was being enforced during qualifying but it wasn’t being looked at in the race unless you took a clear advantage in a race incident. That was made clear that if you were to go over. So what I saw from Verstappen and his overtake, that was absolutely clear that if you were to overtake off the track, you would have your [position] taken away.”
Russell wants track limits to be enforced by physical boundaries. “I think we need to just drive to the what is the natural limit of the circuit. If the natural limit is outside of track limits then we need to sort the edge of the track, if that makes sense.”