Hamilton: Miami F1 chicane like racing around B&Q car park in a kart

Lewis Hamilton says the Miami Formula 1 circuit’s tight uphill chicane reminds him of driving karts around B&Q car parks as a kid.

Hamilton: Miami F1 chicane like racing around B&Q car park in a kart

While Hamilton escaped any major dramas on a day when a number of other drivers hit trouble around the new F1 venue, he was left far from impressed about the sequence of corners before the long final straight.

The elevated Turn 14/15 chicane, which passes under a turnpike, has been designed to generate mistakes that leave drivers exposed to a potential challenge from behind on the following run down to the last corner.

However, the ultra-compact nature of the complex, with drivers needing to attack the kerbs at slow speed, did not impress the seven-time world champion.

“The track's quite nice to drive except for the chicane,” said Hamilton. “It's so tight. It reminds me of being in a B&Q car park when I was six years old or seven years old, in a go kart, going in between cars.

“It's a corner where maybe in future they can remove that one and it will improve the track.”

Hamilton also said that he was not too happy with how bumpy the track was on the first day of running.

“It's kind of crazy when you think that people in this day and age should be able to make a flat road relatively easy,” he said. “There were frigging big, big, big bumps and so many places where the track like joins up with somewhere else. So I don't know if they will be able to grind that at night and improve it.”

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT03, Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT03

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT03, Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT03

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

But not all drivers were so downbeat about the circuit, with Kevin Magnussen saying he actually like the challenge of the chicane.

“That's kind of cool,” he said. “It's not thrilling in the same way as the high-speed corners, but it's very blind and it's like over a crest with big kerbs, and big change of direction at low speed.

“It's quite unique I'd say, so in that way cool. But it's obviously very slow.”

One of the key problems on the opening day of action, which triggered a number of incidents, was the dirty track surface. It meant that if drivers did stray off the racing line then they were almost guaranteed to spin.

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez feared that if the situation did not improve then that did not bode well for the race.

“I’m extremely disappointed that there is no grip off-line,” he said. “It’s a shame, because I think the racing will be bad due to that.

“As soon as you try to go off-line, there is no grip. It’s done. It feels very gravel-y off-line. So the racing will be hard.”

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Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas liked the challenges that had been posed by the layout though, as he predicted an exciting race on Sunday, despite being caught out at Turn 7 in FP1, crashing heavily which meant he missed all of FP2.

“It is not an easy track for sure,” he told Autosport. “Definitely when the track is green, it can happen more easily. But once you go slightly offline, if you lose the rear end, you can't catch it any more.

“That technical section from Turns 12 to 15 is not easy to get it right, but I think they’ve done a good job on the overtaking opportunities.

“I think we’re going to see some good racing here with the long straights and with them starting with a slow speed corner, it means you can follow close.”

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