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Hamilton warns of 'dangerous' kerbs

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Formula One - Grand Prix of Austria - Spielberg, Austria - 2/7/16 - Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain during a news conference. REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler
Formula One - Grand Prix of Austria - Spielberg, Austria - 2/7/16 - Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain during a news conference. REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler

By Alan Baldwin

SPIELBERG, Austria (Reuters) - Changes need to be made to the new kerbs at the Austrian Grand Prix circuit before "someone gets hurt", triple Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton warned on Saturday.

Speaking after a series of suspension failures seemingly triggered by the kerbs, modified this year to stop drivers gaining an advantage by going off the track, the Mercedes driver said they were quite dangerous.

"We’ve now seen a couple of incidents already," he said.

"I don’t know how many more of those it’s going to take before a car ends up in the wall and perhaps someone gets hurt," added Hamilton, who will start Sunday's race on pole position.

"I’m sure (race director) Charlie (Whiting) and the (governing) FIA are looking at it but that’s definitely an area we can improve."

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said the team had already strengthened the suspension on the cars of both Hamilton and Rosberg, and he had discussed the situation with Whiting.

"I don't know what the FIA is going to decide, whether they are going to take those 'sausage kerbs' away or modify some of the red kerbs, scratch them or fill them with concrete," he added.

"But we have seen a couple of failures on various cars with various suspension designs and it still failed. I think there needs to be a reaction."

Red Bull's Max Verstappen broke his suspension on the kerbs in Friday practice, immediately dubbing them dangerous, while Mercedes' championship leader Nico Rosberg crashed on Saturday morning.

Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat then had a near miss in qualifying when his suspension broke after he went over a kerb, sending him spinning towards a wall.

"Once you're on those kerbs you're not in control if the suspension breaks. At least on the AstroTurf, you had control," said the Russian.

"These kerbs are not very cool, and they are very dangerous actually."

Others said the kerbs just needed to be treated with caution.

"At so many modern circuits us drivers complain that you can run off and not pay a price, so this weekend we are paying a price," said Red Bull's Australian Daniel Ricciardo.

"They (the kerbs) are visible, it’s not like we can’t see them. I honestly think they’re doing a good job, and I think it’s a good compromise to keep us on the track limits."

McLaren's Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso, both champions, agreed with him.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)


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