For Formula 1’s season opener in Bahrain, Lewis Hamilton clinched the victory over Max Verstappen, generating a massive debate about track limits. George Russell admitted how ‘urgent’ he thinks it is, to establish a clear regulation about track limits violations.
After Romain Grosjean left Formula 1 at the end of the 2020 season, the vacant GPDA’s director seat was awarded to George Russell. At just 23 years old, the Briton took over a crucial role to ensure safety and competitive racing in the sport.
Taking his duties seriously, George Russell spoke his mind about the great controversy around Bahrain’s season opener. This Grand Prix saw Hamilton take the win after Max Verstappen had to hand back his position to the seven-time world champions, while he was leading the race, due to an overtake judged illegal.
The Williams driver thinks there are improvements to be made considering the unclear situation Verstappen and Hamilton were involved in. He thinks that clear track limits could be implemented, respecting a ‘natural’ way of driving around the circuit, in order to display clear boundaries and avoid any ‘silly’ controversy.
“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.”
Nonetheless, the 23-year-old thought it was right from the race direction to ask Verstappen to hand his position back to his opponent as he had deliberately taken advantage of the track limits to overtake his rival.
“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.”
Nevertheless, he admitted understanding both parties as the track limits situation was approached differently during the practice sessions and during the race session. The British driver, therefore, showed that he wanted clarity for the next Grand Prix, as these kinds of situations should not appear in a sport of precision like Formula 1.
“I understand it both ways, to be honest. (…) 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,” Russell said.
“But in my opinion it was fine – if that’s the limit, that is the limit. Just because there’s a white line two meters 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.”