Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2021

Hamilton concerned traffic situation is ‘getting to a danger zone’ in Jeddah

2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Following a near-miss with a rival during practice, Lewis Hamilton said the new track which is holding this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is one of the riskiest Formula 1 visits for traffic.

The Mercedes driver had a close encounter with Antonio Giovinazzi when he caught the Alfa Romeo driver during second practice at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

Hamilton said traffic at the track is “definitely a lot worse than a lot of places we go to”. He described it as “Monaco-esque”, but pointed out the difference in speeds is considerably higher at Jeddah, where cars are hitting up to 330kph on the straights. “The closing speeds on other cars is definitely getting to a bit of a danger zone,” said Hamilton.

The Jeddah track has been billed as F1’s fastest street circuit. After setting the quickest lap time of the day at an average speed of 249.684kph, Hamilton described the course as “unbelievably quick – it really is incredibly fast.”

He was impressed by the quality of the surface at the recently-completed track. “What I noticed straight away is the grip is very, very high, from the moment we went out,” Hamilton added.

Hamilton headed Friday’s practice times despite finding it difficult to improve his performance on the soft tyre.

“We tried a couple of different things with the set-up,” he explained. “We’re not rapid on the single lap, I would say, compared to the others. But my long-run pace seemed it was not too bad.”

“The soft tyre is probably a little bit too soft for the high-speed sections,” Hamilton added. “It seems like the tyre’s giving up a little bit.”

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2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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26 comments on “Hamilton concerned traffic situation is ‘getting to a danger zone’ in Jeddah”

  1. Perhaps they should set a minimum speed and black flag cars that don’t go fast enough. That would cut down on the problem where they loiter on the straights to create a gap.

    1. Absolutely, a 1m40 minimum lap time is probably needed.

    2. But 10 seconds is still a lot. Either you get caught or you don’t. If you are about to get caught, you have basically park it somewhere because you can’t find yourself in a 150mph corner with a car coming full steam behind. And if you park it then you have this bone-chilling scene of a car coming out of a corner blind like a missile with a car basically sitting on one side of the road. I think the solution is dirvers need to clearly agree where they will be pulling over and the teams need to be on top of the GPS and be very accurate to the drivers about where to pull over.

    3. I think the safest way is to allow ten car a time for qualification just like they do at motor go.

    4. @aapje @tricky Maximum since minimum would only force slower driving.
      Furthermore, F1 already has (& has had for a while) a maximum time for track distance between SC lines that gets set post-FP2. For this event, that’s 1:49.000. Drivers must stay below this on their slow laps from SC2 to SC1.

      1. @jerejj

        I said minimum speed, which more or less equates to a maximum time.

  2. So, a louzy and dangerous track in a retrograde country full of human rights abuses, all in the name of the mighty petro-dolar. All of the circus entertainment of their royal family and the pretense of a country that is part of the developed world. F1, you are part of the problem.

    1. Saudi is not much worse than Russia, China, or Texas, for human rights abuses.

      1. The Skeptic (@)
        3rd December 2021, 19:49

        @greenflag I see what you did there.

        Smearing Texas, by equating them with Saudi Arabia (who kills people on the basis of sexuality), China (ongoing 21st century ethnic purging, & making even potential political opponents disappear) & Russia (where freedom of speech guarantees the freedom to be assassinated).

      2. There is a whole world of difference. The issue however is not the abuses but the reaction from “those that matter.”
        It seems if you jail dissidents, you get massive aggitation from governments, but if you chop up a journalist at your embassy, you get to host a Grand Prix.

        1. Not if you chop up a motor racing journalist.

      3. I don’t love Texas. And I’ve even lived there. But let me know when Gov. Abbot disappears a WTA pro or opens up concentration camps.

    2. What’s the difference between Saudi and places like Mexico, Brazil, China and Russia, they all have dubious human rights records but nobody complains when F1 races in those countries, and judging by your complaints one can assume you won’t be watching the race and posting your thought son Sunday.

      1. People do complain about Russia and China. They should have things to say about Mexico and USA and probably Brazil.

  3. It’s coming. Everyone knows it and is clearly scared to speak out. Especially first time there.

    He’s the 4 or 5th driver i’ve heard now basically say something along the lines of ‘i’m worried x could happen, so i hope they’re mega quick with yellow or red flags and safety cars’

    Very noticeable Martin Brundle is basically also saying he sees huge accident potential almost all over the place there. He knows. The amount of times he says these things and they come true is scary. Ex drivers know. They’ve faced risks, they know what they would, or wouldn’t be willing to face and hints keep getting dropped that this place is one big risk too far.

    1. @mrcento I agree, it seems almost inevitable on this circuit. The closing speeds are huge, and there’s not much room to avoid another car. I was quite surprised that everybody behaved reasonably well today – but in FP3 and particularly in qualifying, I’ll be really surprised if there isn’t a pretty massive shunt.

    2. Spot on. COTD. It’s bizarre to me that there isn’t more discussion of this from the current drivers. I guess they don’t want to ‘bring the sport into disrepute’. Nico R has said on his YouTube channel’s track analysis that it makes him glad he’s not driving. The decision makers haven’t learned from Hubert.

    3. There’s plenty of tecpro but if anyone gets airborne or is sitting on the racing line…

    4. I saw Rosberg’s YT lap video and he was like, I’m happy I’m not in the car. He talks a lot of nonsense but never heard him say that about a track.

  4. Human rights is a thing of the past, now they’re only for people who bent for their “democratic” government.

    1. This was a reply @greenflag

  5. What an absolute waste of money.
    It is like Singapore and that Spanish harbour track combined.
    This kind of track is only good for time trials, but actual racing?!! I don’t think so.
    Who knows, maybe Redbull will get Perez to do a Piquet.

    1. @OOliver Bottas could equally do the same for his teammate.

      1. Na, I doubt.
        We’ve seen Perez, Gasly and Tsunoda battle Hamilton hard in previous races, and Bottas just gets out of the way, which is fair also.

      2. In fact bottas already tried something similar in hongary.
        At least if you use the same mindset some Lewis fans follow.

  6. Western corrupted governments controlled by rich families are all testing human rights at the moment.

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