Hamilton wants more taxing F1

Ahead of Canadian GP, Mercedes' drivers' standings leader thinks races can be harder

MONTREAL • Lewis Hamilton said on Thursday Formula One should be a much greater physical challenge for the drivers and they should be as tired as long-distance runners at the end of a Grand Prix.

"I could do two or three races in a row and Formula One really shouldn't be like that. It's a man's sport and a lot of youngsters come in. It's quite easy for them to get straight into it," he said in a press conference ahead of this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix.

"You should be physically exhausted after a race - to the point that it should be exhausting like a marathon. If I had a choice, I would go back to V12s - naturally aspirated engines. I would have a manual gearbox. I'd make it harder for drivers, take away all these big run-off areas you have everywhere."

The five-time world champion, who leads the drivers' standings on 137 points, will have a new and upgraded engine in his Mercedes this weekend and expects to be stronger than in the past at one of his favourite circuits.

He has won six times at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve but was off the podium last year in a race won by Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.

Mercedes have racked up six straight wins this season, five of them in one-two finishes, and Hamilton now leads teammate Valtteri Bottas by 17 points in the championship after taking four victories.

"I don't think I've really excelled for a while here," he said.

"But our car is a lot better this year in the slower and medium-speed corners. I anticipate this weekend we will be stronger than we have been in the past."

Vettel says Ferrari have a few tricks up their sleeves and will need to conjure something special if they are to end Mercedes' magical run.

The German is not ready to wave the white flag and concede the title, but he admitted that the battle had reached a critical juncture.

"The next races will be really crucial for us to try and get back to the front and give a much harder time to Mercedes," said Vettel, who finished second in Monaco last month for the team's best result so far.

"It will be crucial to do it sooner than later, but at the moment I am not too fussed. Clearly we are behind, clearly there is a big margin between Mercedes and the rest and we have to lose that gap otherwise it will be difficult to turn around."

Ferrari have already introduced their first upgraded power plants of the season. But Vettel is optimistic tweaks to the car would benefit them on a circuit that plays to some of their strengths.

"There is always little tricks you can do, the question is whether they make a difference," he said. "There are some ideas to improve and they sound quite promising, so I am optimistic."



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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 08, 2019, with the headline 'Hamilton wants more taxing F1'. Print Edition | Subscribe