‘Lewis Hamilton gets “unfair” criticism – but was “wrong” in latest FIA row’ | F1

Hamilton was initially punished with a fine for crossing a live track at the F1 Qatar Grand Prix after his race came to an early end at Turn 1, after contract with Mercedes teammate George Russell.

But the FIA are reinvestigating the issue, calling Hamilton “a role model” and expressing their “concern” at the incident.

“He is definitely a role model,” Johnny Herbert told Lucky Block. “However, walking across the track was the wrong thing to do. He knows that rule is there.

“The criticisms levelled against him for the accident with Russell going into turn one was not fair. That was part of racing. 

“He only needed to give another six inches for it to be absolutely fine. But his judgment was not quite there. 

“That goes back to my point about the human element. Even a seven times world champion makes mistakes. Even the best have made mistakes. 

“And Lewis has made very few mistakes in his career. I’d struggle to count them on the fingers of one hand.

“Sometimes I just think the sport should just let the drivers, race let them get on with it without making so many rules which interfere with the trace itself.”

Asked why Hamilton receives criticism from fans despite his status as a seven-time F1 champion, Herbert said: “Drive to Survive has opened up a door that was previously slammed shut. 

“You never saw the characters come out. The series has drawn people into that world.

“Lewis has always had people who knock him. I remember when he did a little video highlighting the amount of plastic in the seas. He cleared up a little cove and he got slammed for it for virtue signalling.

“I don’t understand it. Is it a form of racism? I don’t just know. He pushes diversity hard. He always supported the women in the W series. He gets criticised so much which I think is unfair.”

Hamilton’s place at the summit of F1 has been taken by Max Verstappen who shows no sign of slowing down after a third championship in a row.

“The only thing that might stop his domination is the rule changes coming in in 2026,” Herbert said.

“The performance by McLaren was so encouraging. They had that front row in the sprint race they raced well on Sunday. Red Bull are starting to come under pressure from other teams.

“Everybody is getting closer. Let’s hope by the start of next season we will have a battle royal. The positive thing for race fans is that McLaren have been able to do what they’ve done. We will have a much closer pack.

“Max is not going to have the same domination next year. He is going to have to work at it. I never thought anyone would ever get near Michael. And Lewis did. It is not a given that Max is going to have everything his own way in the next couple of years.”

“As a natural talent he has the ability to eclipse Lewis and Michale’s achievements. He has that very rare special something that the very best have.”

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