F1: Lewis Hamilton supports Lando Norris after Qatar qualifying penalty


Lewis Hamilton will start the Qatar GP from P3 on the grid (Photo: Getty)

Sir Lewis Hamilton feels for empathy for Lando Norris after his Formula One rival was demoted from P2 to P10 on the grid for the Qatar Grand Prix.

In Friday’s heated qualifying session, Max Verstappen unsurprisingly took pole position, with the Red Bull star expected to win his third consecutive drivers’ title in the Sprint race on Saturday.

The McLarens of Norris and Oscar Piastri initially finished second and fourth fastest, with Mercedes drivers George Russell and Hamilton third and fifth.

However, track limits continued to cause a problem for the stewards, with drivers struggling for grip because of the high winds and desert sand at the Losail International Cicruit.

Both papaya cars were found to have exceeded track limits and their quickest laps were deleted, demoting Piastri to sixth and Norris to 10th.

That moves Russell and Hamilton up to second and third on the grid for Sunday’s main race, giving the latter a great boost as he looks to hunt down Sergio Perez for P2 in the championship.

But the seven-time world champion believes a re-think of the divisive track limits rules is needed, empathising with his fellow Brit.

‘I think the new kerbs [brought in to deter drivers for exceeding track limits] are great,’ the 38-year-old said on the top three press conference.

When I went round the track on my scooter yesterday, I thought they looked quite big, but I think they’re really good. When you go beyond the highest point of the kerb you lose time.

‘But I don’t think at this track we need to have track limits. Lando should be up here.

‘I think we could take these kerbs to another track, Austria for example. You should be able to utilise them as much as possible but when you go beyond them you lose time. It shouldn’t be the white line necessarily.

Qatar Grand Prix Winner Odds:

Max Verstappen – 1/6

George Russell – 12/1

Lewis Hamilton – 14/1

Fernando Alonso – 20/1

Lando Norris – 25/1

Charles Leclerc – 33/1

Oscar Piastri – 33/1

Carlos Sainz – 50/1

Sergio Perez – 50/1

Odds courtesy of King Casino Bonus

‘But anyways, that’s not for me to decide.’

Norris meanwhile was frustrated, but more with himself, telling Sky Sports: ‘I had a correction of oversteer and went off. The team did a good job, I just messed it up.

‘I just think of the job I’m meant to do today, which is put in good laps and don’t make mistakes, that’s what I did today, so not a good day for me.’

Hamilton added that despite the good result, he wasn’t content with his car, saying: ‘Not massively satisfied. It’s just great for the team to be on the first two rows.

‘Difficult at the beginning of the session, tricky conditions out there with the wind. Ultimately, a pretty average session for me.

I’m going to give it everything and try and bag those points. It’s great we are ahead of the Ferraris which is key.”

MORE : F1 star Lance Stroll shoves his personal trainer after disastrous Qatar Grand Prix qualifying

MORE : Lewis Hamilton hails ‘phenomenal’ Max Verstappen as he closes in on third Formula 1 title

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