Lewis Hamilton calls for red flag due to ‘dangerous’ pace

All of the drivers struggled to retain heat in their tyres during the opening laps of the Las Vegas GP.

Lewis Hamilton called for the Las Vegas Grand Prix to be red-flagged in the opening laps, following Lando Norris’ heavy crash on the fourth lap.

As predicted, the cool temperature caused chaos at the start of the first F1 race in Las Vegas since 1982, with all of the drivers having struggled for grip.

The lack of grip caught several drivers out at the opening corner, with Carlos Sainz and Fernando Alonso having both spun.

Hamilton was, unfortunately, caught up in the first corner carnage, demoting him from 10th to P14.

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He soon moved into 13th after Norris crashed out, after his car snapped at high-speed.

Norris’ car became unsettled when going over a slight bump due to how cold his tyres were, resulting in him going into one wall backwards, before sliding down the circuit and heavily hitting another, where his car came to rest.

It was a nasty impact which winded the McLaren driver, who could be seen shaking in his cockpit.

As a precautionary measure, Norris was transferred to a local hospital, where he was quickly discharged.

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A Safety Car was required to allow for the debris and for Norris’ car to be cleared, resulting in tyre temperatures plummeting.

Whilst behind the Safety Car, Hamilton was becoming increasingly concerned about how cold his tyres were becoming, to the point that he admitted it was “dangerous”.

The seven-time World Champion called for either the Safety Car to speed up or for the race to be stopped.

“No grip out here,” Hamilton complained over the radio to race engineer Peter Bonnington. “This pace is so slow it’s dangerous for us. They need to either speed up or stop this.”

George Russell also called for the Safety Car to increase its speed, due to his tyre temperatures “dropping like a stone”.

“Tyre temps are dropping like a stone here. Safety car really needs a bit of a move on,” Russell said over the radio.

Neither happened, although it didn’t matter too much for Hamilton, who was forced to pit not long after the restart, following a coming together with Oscar Piastri.

Piastri clipped Hamilton’s right-rear tyre, resulting in a puncture for the Mercedes driver.

He had to complete an entire lap with a delaminated tyre, dropping him to the back of the grid.

Remarkably, Hamilton managed to fight through the field to salvage seventh place; however, a top-five finish was on the cards had it not been for his unfortunate incident with Piastri.

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Reflecting on the race afterwards, Hamilton admitted that it was “really challenging” Grand Prix, whilst he noted that what happened with Piastri was simply a “racing incident”.

“A really challenging race,” Hamilton said, as reported by The Express. “I started on the hard tyre which was tricky at the beginning. I got a big hit from someone behind, I think it was Carlos [Sainz], and tried to not hit the cars that had spun around. I fell back five or six places.

“Then after that just making my way back. I was feeling great, the tyres were feeling good, the pace was strong. I went up the inside of Piastri, I don’t really know exactly what happened, I obviously got the hit from behind. I think it was a racing incident.”