Hamilton wants Formula One to be ‘harder for drivers’

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Lewis Hamilton thinks Formula One races should be more demanding (David Davies/PA)

Lewis Hamilton has said Formula One should provide a greater physical challenge to emerging drivers, declaring it a “man’s sport”.

The current grid is the youngest in the sport’s history, with half of competitors 25 or under at the start of the campaign.

Hamilton began his career at 22 with McLaren, but now in his 13th campaign, the five-time world champion believes it has become too easy for the new school.

Hamilton, who was speaking in Montreal ahead of Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix alongside McLaren rookie Lando Norris, who at 19 is the youngest driver in the sport, was quizzed on how he would improve F1’s spectacle.

“I would make it harder for the drivers,” he said. “It is a man’s sport. A lot of youngsters come in and it is quite easy for them to get straight into it.

“You should be physically exhausted after a race, to the point it should be so exhausting it is like you have run a marathon.

“Sometimes you do these races and I could do another two or three in a row. Formula One shouldn’t be like that.”

Norris, his countryman George Russell, 21, and the London-born Thai Alexander Albon, 23, are all enjoying their maiden campaigns.

Responding to Hamilton’s comments, McLaren driver Norris said: “It must be projected at me, George, Alex, because we’re the younger people coming into Formula One. I’m not suffering as maybe he would have wanted us to do.

“I don’t know why he would say it now and not when he first started. It’s much harder now than when he started in Formula One.”

Lewis Hamilton is in Canada this weekend
Lewis Hamilton is in Canada this weekend (Ryan Remiorz/AP)

Hamilton will head into Sunday’s race bidding to emulate Michael Schumacher by winning at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for a record-equalling seventh time.

The Englishman, who holds a 17-point championship lead over Valtteri Bottas, will be boosted by a fresh engine – his Mercedes team confirming on Thursday that they will run their new-specification power unit here this weekend.

“You are always trying to push the envelope,” said Hamilton, who arrived in Montreal late on Wednesday night following a short break in New York.

“It hasn’t been the smoothest ride but it is always great having a new engine being that it is fresh. This is a power circuit too, so it has come at the perfect time.”

Hamilton returns to his Mercedes cockpit for the first time since the terminally ill five-year-old boy who he said inspired him to victory at last month’s Spanish Grand Prix died.

Harry Shaw, who had been suffering from Ewing’s Sarcoma – a rare form of bone cancer – lost his fight on Saturday.

Hamilton dedicated his win in Barcelona on May 12 to Harry after he had received a good-luck video message from the youngster ahead of the race.

Mercedes then parked one of their cars at Harry’s home in Redhill, Surrey before presenting him with Hamilton’s winning trophy from the race in Spain.

Harry’s parents, James and Charlotte, have launched a JustGiving page to raise money for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. The total has exceeded £250,000.

“Of course it was devastating [to hear the news],” said Hamilton, 34.

“I can’t understand how life is so precious and how such a young person can lose their life so early on. It is just beyond me.

“I have got the greatest memories with little Harry. God has another angel.”