Hamilton has “nothing positive to say” about tyres

2013 German Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton was unhappy with his Mercedes’ performance on the revised Pirelli tyres after falling from first to fifth in the German Grand Prix.

“I have to hold myself back. I have nothing positive to say about these tyres,” said Hamilton after the race. “And I don’t understand why we struggle so much on them.”

“But that’s motor racing. It’s a shame because the team are working so hard, they’re doing such a good job, we’ve really got a good car but for some reason it doesn’t work on these tyres.”

“The only positive is that we got points today,” Hamilton added. “In the last race we had a chance of closing the gap to Sebastian [Vettel] and then obviously our tyre blow-out really didn’t help. But at least I got some points.”

“And today I had another chance at getting him but they were just far too quick for me. I guess I’m fourth or fifth in the championship and struggling, and lost more ground to them. I just hope in the next race we’ve got a better chance.”

Following the punctures seen in Britain Pirelli hurriedly produced a new style of tyre with Kevlar belts for this weekend’s race.

Further changes are planned for the next race in Hungary which Hamilton is pinning his hopes on, though Mercedes will not be able to participate at the Young Drivers’ Test where they are being run for the first time:

“It doesn’t help but that’s the way it is. We at least got some running when we did the Barcelona test so we’ll just have to keep pushing forward and pray and hope that when they bring these new batch of tyres they work on our car.”

2013 German Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
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    50 comments on “Hamilton has “nothing positive to say” about tyres”

    1. Back to normal for Mercedes then. Other teams didn’t suffer like this.

    2. another 1000km test will help on these kevlar belt tyre.

      wasn’t Merc that push for those tyre as well?? bummer

      1. MB (@muralibhats)
        7th July 2013, 16:08

        Exactly. Get the black helmets on and later on propose to miss the next year’s young Driver Test as a penalty!

    3. Sounds like they need a ‘super-secret’ tyre test. Oh, wait…

      1. Yes a Private Tyre test run by Pirelli where the car remains in the same specification from the start to the finish of the test driving on unknown experimental tyres and where the only components changed are worn or damaged.
        Sounds like the sort of test that a team will learn alot from and shift the balance of the championship.

        Or maybe just maybe they got very little benefit from the Private Test and now been put at a big disadvantage not being able to take part in the upcoming “all welcome but you” test where the teams involved will be able make changes to their cars during the test.

        1. No matter how little you learn, every single piece of info is useful.

    4. What a load of ***. Tyres were great: just good enough to allow some pushing. Just about right.

      1. Is that a serious comment about an F1 G.P. ‘just good enough to allow some pushing’.

      2. I thought this race was a great example of how the Pirelli tyres can be used to help the racing without dominating it. We had two compounds that were vastly different on both pace and longevity, which led to divergent strategies and the fantastic end to the Grand Prix. The tyres degraded, but didn’t disintegrate after a few laps and force teams onto 4 stops like we had in Spain. Drivers could still push very hard. More racing like this please!

        1. The problem wasn’t the the performance of the tyres today. At any given track on any given day you can say the tyres made for fantastic racing. The problem is that they keep changing, both deliberately on pirelli’s and the team’s intents, and also apparently randomly as conditions and cars change. As often as race-to-race nowadays and it makes a mockery of everything else the teams do to work on their cars. I was skeptical when this whole tyre philosophy was introduced a couple of years ago and the novelty has utterly gone.

          1. At any given track on any given day you can say the tyres made for fantastic racing.

            That is an entirely false statement. I don’t believe anybody was saying the tyres made for fantastic racing last week with the blow-outs, or in the Spanish GP, which I referenced.
            My comment, and Hamilton’s statements above only pertain to the tyres and racing we saw today, and I put the tyre degradation and the performance gap between the two used as close to an ideal as I believe Pirelli are trying to attain. While I agree with you that the changes and tinkering made to the tyres are ever-moving goalposts for the teams, you can’t say that if the tyres were able to behave as they did today for the rest of the season, based on the racing it helped create, that it would be a bad thing for Pirelli or F1. This was a good day for tyres and a good day for racing.

            1. I think the racing was closer, and of course it is obvious that the tires were safer, so I didn’t mind the race, but I sure wouldn’t say that the tires didn’t dominate the racing. During the entire race I didn’t stop thinking about tires and how they were affecting each team and driver. So while I do agree with you @colossal-squid that what we saw today is probably closer to what Pirelli and F1 would like to see for the rest of the season, I don’t think we will get away this season from the concept that tires are the dominant story and factor to the outcome of the races and the Championships. Even when they tweek them further.

            2. @robbie Well, yes. What you say is true and I too was watching the battle over the last 10-15 laps with a running counter of the age of the driver’s tyres running through my head!
              However, I would say that car performance at least wasn’t restricted by drivers trying to nurse the tyres as we have seen earlier in the season. That for me is a hugely positive step in the right direction for these tyres. Less driving to delta times, and more strategy and hard racing, with tyre life playing an important but not dominant factor.
              There’s been so much controversy and talk over the tyres that even if Pirelli get the remainder of the season perfect it will still quite rightly be remembered as the season dominated and to my mind tainted by tyres.

            3. Agreed. Well said.

        2. I agree.

    5. Did he say that after he qualified on pole?

      1. @aardvark
        Don’t be ridiculous, that would be “rational” and “fair”. ;)

        1. In fairness, just because LH got pole doesn’t mean he didn’t potentially have concerns about going back to their usual falling down of the order on race day. All season they have qualified well, and except for a few races they have usually not faired as well during the race. ie. pole has not automatically guaranteed podium finishes for LH and NR, so I’m sure pole was not enough evidence for LH to shout accolades about the tires until as usual he and we could see how they would be for Mercedes et al on race day. And a warmer one at that.

        2. @kingshark @aardvark Come on. Qualifying and race are two completely different environments and as racing fans you guys should know that. Also, it would help not to take his words out of context, because he specifically mentioned qualifying in this interview.

          You guys can eat your words, I have nothing positive to say about these tyres. If you can’t get past a Sauber, you know you have issues. Especially when you were over a second faster in qualifying.

      2. After he set pole, he had a car that for the first time was as fast as Vettel’s.

        1. @mike-dee
          The Marc has been the best car in qualifying for quite some time now.

          1. @mads I am actually quoting Hamilton.

      3. On a positive note, it could be worse, he could still be at McLaren.

      4. Over a sinlge lap the tyres aren’t really an issue are they?

    6. Well Lewis… At least this time round they didn’t explode lol.

    7. Well, that’s what happens when you change the setup before qualifying without doing a race simulation on it.

      1. Yes, because Rosberg was setting the timing screens alight.

      2. This could very well be the reason for Lewis’s struggles

    8. Hmm so sad for Lewis…. When he is on Pole the car slows down with tire issues. While Nico is on Pole the Car holds up , he goes on to win…..

      I am thinking he is going for a very aggressive qualifying setup.

    9. LH is very hard on his tyres and always has been. Tire wear was his achilles heal today. All credit to Vettel.

      1. “LH is very hard on his tyres and always has been”

        This myth was disproven years ago, move along.

        1. +1 especially in 2012 vs Button

        2. Agreed!

      2. PS. Tire wear wasnt his problem today, ‘his’ (and nico’s) problem was thermal deg, a known problem of the Merc car for the past 3 seasons, if you hadnt already noticed.

    10. Quoted from Hamilton’s facebook page –

      “Really a tough race out there for us today. I didn’t have a great start and the Red Bulls were much quicker off the line, dropping me back to third. It’s a real shame as the team are working so hard and doing such a good job. We’ve clearly got a good car but for some reason, it doesn’t work in these hot conditions. We’ll keep working on it and the positive from today is that we were able to recover to fifth place with a good strategy and great pit stops, and we’re still second in the Constructors’ table. Hopefully we’ll have a better chance at the next race but, for now, there’s a lot of hard work ahead of us.”

    11. Can’t blame him for being frustrated, it’s unusual to see a team do so well in qualifying and then struggle so much on Sundays. The potentially good news for Mercedes is that the tyres are changing again from Hungary onwards, so it is possible that they will be one of the teams to benefit.

    12. I can’t find anything positive to say about Lewis’ start of the race; on the wrong side of the track (what was he thinking?), knowing that Red Bull has better acceleration from slow speeds; he got greedy and mis-focused on trying to squeeze Vettel to the grass rather than being as fast as he possibly could to the 1st corner – lost 2 places in the process. This from a driver with all his experience too.

      1. Call him up, sure he will appreciate your advice…

        So should the rest of this thread posters, telling him the tires are just fine… just be warned, could take a day to go through the list of teams and drivers that has complained about them just this season, and thats even before Silverstone…

      2. If you watch the replay carefully, he started normally, but moved over once he realised Vettel had better traction off the line than he had. By the time he moved over, Vettel was more or less alongside, so the move was futile. This allowed Webber to creep up the outside, hence he lost both places. Though i agree with you, i wouldn’t blame him too much, as he made an instictive move after realising how bad his start was.

    13. Now payback time.

    14. Message to Formula 1: I’m out. I’m done. No more for me until you fix this tire situation. It’s a complete farce. Pinnacle of Motorsport? My ass. Cars at the pinnacle of automotive technology that can’t even be pushed to the limit? Sorry, this is not what I grew up watching. When all we talk about before, during and after a race is tires, tires, tires …. the pendulum has swung way too far. I want to see the best cars in the world being pushed to the limit by the best drivers in the world, not this Mickey Mouse affair. I’ll stick to MotoGP, V8 Supercars, BTCC, WTC and DTM. Thank you.

      Rant over.

      1. Obviously you weren’t watching the last few GPs, which all featured 22 drivers pushing 22 cars to the limit for pretty much every single lap. While I agree there’s sometimes too much focus on the tyres, ultimately they’re the only part of the car touching the tarmac, so they’re kind of important.

        1. Dave, you are completely mistaken. Are they pushing in qualifying, over 2 laps? Absolutely. But in a race they are driving to a target time. And that target time is only pushing the limits of the TIRE not the limits of the CAR. The tires have severely limited the capabilities of the car. Vettel proved that at Monaco when with about three or four laps to go he put in a lap that was about two seconds faster than any lap he had done previous and his team told him “Enough of that Seb” with his response being “Yeah, but it felt good”. Sorry, that’s a joke. It’s not racing. No one can argue that these CARS are being pushed to the limit, because quite simply they are not, even with the more conservative tire choices Pirelli is currently making.

          1. Of course the cars are limited by the tyres – only the tyres touch the tarmac. To suggest otherwise is just wrong. However, the tyres in the last few GPs have not been anywhere near as limiting as they were in Barca/Monaco. The only person not praising them is Hamilton. Hell, even Red Bull, second only to Mercedes in complaints, were satisfied with the German GP tyres.

            I do agree that F1 is fundamentally broken though, but not for the reasons you suggest. As far as I’m concerned, it’s all about the aero. Instead of the modern art sculptures currently permitted, I’d favour a return to simple single elements front and rear, with flat endplates, and the return of ground effects. That way, the cars still have stupid high downforce, yet they can follow closely and pass without the artificiality of DRS.

            Having said that, I’ll still enjoy the rest of this season.

            1. Now we are talking the same language. This is something I’ve been talking about for years – if you want closer racing and more passing, place more restrictions on aero and allow for technological increases in mechanical grip and ground effects. This is obviously something we can both agree on.

              As for tires, of course Red Bull was satisfied, they won the race! In terms of complaints, I don’t know that I’ve heard any team “praising” the tires (I’m open to correction). Even Renault are simply not complaining (staying quiet) until the goal posts were about to be changed and they made their voices heard. Most teams are simply being politically-correct and we know that’s not Lewis’ best skill.

              I’ll admit that the latest choices in tires have been conservative but you also have to admit that that was done in response to the lack of “praise” for the tires along with the numerous complaints! When you have teams telling their drivers to hold station, drivers not being able to race, tires blowing up, severe degradation, driving to target times, and Pirelli having to respond to all that with more conservative tire choices only because they are not permitted to actually change the tire, that’s not racing.

              Are tires a fundamental part of racing? Absolutely! But again, the pendulum has swung way to far. Give them reliable tires that don’t degrade or fall off so quickly, and lets get back to the technological focus that made F1 what is is. As a lifetime F1 and racing fan, and a racer myself, I don’t think I’m asking too much.

    15. It was a hot day and Hamilton has always been really hard on his tyres.

      1. You were shot down when you posted this comment before, and yet here you are persisting in posting it again..??

        This ‘Lewis is hard on tyres’ myth has no basis in fact and is just a negative some people try desperately to cling on too.

        He’s no better or worse than anyone else.

    16. it wasnt the tyres, it was nicole

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