Tyres only thing holding Mercedes back – Hamilton

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton explains Mercedes’ struggles with the tyres at present.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Hopefully F1 will become part of culture in India: Hamilton (The Times of India)

“For us it is just the tyres. If we didn’t had issues with the tyres then things would have different because the car is great on both heavy fuel and light fuel. When you have to do 10, 15 or 20 laps and you have 100 per cent of tyre then you have to spend it correctly. And you don’t know how much to use and for what time. That’s the biggest trick.”

Lotus: Raikkonen hasn’t lost interest (Autosport)

“Boullier is adamant that Raikkonen’s form has nothing to do with him losing motivation. Instead he thinks Grosjean having stepped up his performance is the major factor.”

Montezemolo ready to fight to bitter end (AGI)

“We must fight to the bitter end in this championship that has disappointed me.”

‘Get a job like me, man!’ (ESPN)

Giedo van der Garde: “The moment I was world champion in 2002 was a big achievement, and I decided I wanted to reach Formula One. But you really have to live a different life to all your friends. They’re going to school, going out, going out with girls, having fun, whatever. And you really have to dedicate your life to your sport.”

Kvyat’s early F1 chance analysed (Paddock Scout)

“In a time when the most talented rookies are struggling to make an immediate impact in F1, is it sensible to promote somebody with just four years of racing experience under their belt? The more practice a driver gets before he goes to F1, the more opportunities he gets to challenge himself. It’s not necessarily a good thing to breeze through the junior categories.”

Theodore Racing makes Macau GP return with Prema (Status Grand Prix)

“As well as [Ayrton] Senna, Theodore Racing entered future Formula One stars in the Macau GP such as Mika Hakkinen, Rubens Barrichello, Stefan Johansson, Alan Jones, Eddie Irvine and Martin Brundle.”

David Ward comments on the report of the FIA Ethics Committee (David Ward and Team 2013)

“I am disappointed that the Ethics Committee did not accept that the support agreements obtained by Mr Todt are inconsistent with the FIA rules and policies regarding its presidential election.”


Comment of the day

@Chalky offers some thoughts on why races at the Buddh International Circuit have been short of action so far:

The circuit was most likely designed without the consideration of what DRS could do and then we all watch DRS pass after DRS pass on the long straight, like in Korea. Only a few well thought out KERS assisted passes have come about at other sections.

Also, there probably is plenty of elevation but the camera angles used hardly give that impression. Surely some more variety of cameras can be used to make some better TV viewing? But then this is an issue at other circuits too.

However, I don’t think new tracks should be completely dismissed for F1. You only have to look at the Circuit of the Americas and see what a wonderful new track that is, so it’s certainly possible to get it right.

From the forum

GP International

GP International magazine have sadly ceased publication. GPI were due to supply subscriptions to several runners-up in the Predictions Championship this year which unfortunately can no longer happen. I am endeavouring to arrange an alternative prize and details will be posted here when and if that can be arranged.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Adam Tate!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Ayrton Senna scored his 40th grand prix victory 20 years ago today in the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.

Newly crowned champion Alain Prost was second ahead of Mika Hakkinen.

But Senna was vexed by the actions of Eddie Irvine, who unlapped himself from the McLaren while making his debut for Jordan. Senna confronted him after the race and ended up punching Irvine.

Here’s Senna complaining about the driving standards in the press conference:

Image © Daimler/Hoch Zwei

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27 comments on “Tyres only thing holding Mercedes back – Hamilton”

  1. Up until Spa I would have believed Hamilton, but now it seems that Red Bull have a genuinely faster car than Mercedes, in both qualifying pace and race pace.

    1. @kingshark I also thought Mercedes would get better with the new tyres but then I remembered that the new tyres are in fact the old 2012 tyres that Mercedes weren’t capable of decipher.

  2. I don’t know what to make of Lewis’ statement. He bossed a Hungarian Grand Prix on these tyres, which was the 6th or 7th hottest GP of all time. Obviously, he now must have referred to the tyres holding them back relatively – everyone else is capable of going faster, it’s just that tyre preservation is the name of the game for everybody. If it is so, then – taking into account the Hungaroring performance as well – it is not the tyres holding them back, but their inability to get the best pace from them while managing them.

    One can look at his lap times before his tyre went during his second stint in Korea. He actually curiously began to lap faster around lap 14, two or three laps into the stint, only to hit the cliff around lap 18 and then lose time multiple times what he gained between lap 14-18. I don’t know why he began to overuse them in the first place.

    On a sidenote, it is admirable how the teams perfected the skill of tyre preservation. There are no such scenarios with which the Red Bull confronted in Melbourne and Barcelona, or Mercedes in Sakhir, Barcelona and the Nürburgring. But the pace management is still there evident from the above example of Lewis.

    It is also somewhat sadly admirable, at least for me, who dislikes that drivers are not able to push because of the ‘designed to degrade’ tyre philosophy.

    1. Well Lewis has a racers heart, I feel for him when he “can’t drive any slower”.

      2014 better be good.

      1. I think 2014 might be even worse for Lewis.
        Not only looking after his tyres, but also the fuel load…

        1. I expect Pirelli to go conservative.

          1. They have said so themselves, next year the tyres are apparently going to be much harder.

    2. @atticus-2 In Hungary Vettel damaged his front wing which is very important in Hungary, especially in Vettels case because he got stuck in traffic.

  3. Oh, and as for the quoted news on Kvyat: c’mon Kimi had way less experence and see where he’s at now, I don’t understand the point.

    On the other hand, laughed a bit on the Nico Rosberg tweet. :)

    1. @atticus-2 – But Raikkonen didn’t get the seat over a popular driver like da Costa. That’s why people are upset – they think Toro Rosso prioritised money or nationality over talent simply because da Costa didn’t get the seat. Kvyat’s results don’t come into it: Toro Rosso didn’t pick da Costa, so they obviously based their decision on something other than talent.

      1. @prisoner-monkeys But Raikkonen didn’t get the seat over a popular driver like da Costa. That’s why people are upset – they think Toro Rosso prioritised money or nationality over talent simply because da Costa didn’t get the seat. Kvyat’s results don’t come into it: Toro Rosso didn’t pick da Costa, so they obviously based their decision on something other than talent.

        Very well said, PM.

        I’m not exactly offended by the relentless criticism of Kvyat, but I think some of the arguments against him (which are really arguments for da Costa / expressions of disbelief that he didn’t get the seat) are disingenuous.

    2. @atticus-2 Before seeing the picture Lewis posted, I half-expected another cow :D

      1. What a way to carry a single-seater. C’mon India, you gotta show more respect love to motorsports! :)

  4. “only” thing, yeah?

    Appart from strategic nightmares and car development…

    1. Hahaha, Nurburg comes to mind. Teams says Nico’s fastest Q2 lap will keep him in the top 10, pulls into the pits with a ton of time left and ends up getting knocked out.

      1. @somethingwittyer not to mention their total refusal to split strategies at Singapore and Korea. And, to certain extent, not letting Rosberg by when Hamilton was cruising like mad and running out of petrol at Malaysia…

        Lot of things. Pre-Hungary tyres did bad for them, post-Hungary tyres too? maybe it’s just the car…

  5. Hamilton, tires were the only thing stoping RB from winning the WCC God knows how many rounds earlier.

  6. Boullier has spent half the year praising Kimi to make him feel special and stay at Lotus despite not being paid on time, now that Kimi has decided to leave is trying to show that Lotus still has a good driver, it’s a shame because his previous approach prevented him from properly asses Romain Grosjean’s incredible season, they say it’s better late than never so props to GRO for outperforming Kimi as of late.

    1. what a load of crap.

      Gro was never out of favored.

      Last year, Romain was the first to receive major upgrade in valencia, kimi had to wait until Hungary.
      Kimi ended up outperformed him in lesser car during that period. The team also gave Romain Kimi’s testing slot in mugello. In bahrain 2012, Romain was impeding kimi that was chasing Vettel, Eric didn’t issue team order until it was too late. afterward, Eric claim he doesn’t want to hurt his feeling. This year and last year, Kimi was made to test new parts and sacrifised his own setup session.

      Tips : go read team reports after each FPs session before claiming the team never favor Romain. Right now, the little focus kimi used to get has gone completely. He wasn’t getting helping hand to setup his car, as the long wheel base upgrade was intended to be carried over to 2014. Kimi couldn’t access the details of the upgrades.

      1. I’m not even talking about teams strategies, I’m just talking about Boullier before the media. He always had a nice word to Kimi (maybe reports asked more about Kimi) but had much less to say about Romain.

        I do understand why Boullier did that, Lotus was losing a driver of superior calibre but I still think Romain deserved nice words way before Kimi signed for Ferrari.

  7. Such a shame these crappy tires are still drivers back from racing.

    RBR was always doing a better than Merc in the tyre department, amongst others.

  8. But if Mercedes had more durable tyres, so would the other teams. Red Bull, Ferrari etc would also improve their performance outcomes. There is no evidence to suggest that with more ‘conservative’ tyres Mercedes would have shown a disproportionately better performance by comparison.

    1. Mclaren (@ahmej010gmail-com)
      24th October 2013, 12:22

      That’s a valid argument, but if one compares Mercedes pre-spa qualifying pace comparatively to race pace, it was clearly evident that they had the outright fastest car, but one which overstressed its tyres; if we now looks at the Merc’s race pace and qualifying pace, it seems to have converged to the point that they have lost the daemon qualifying speed the car possessed but in turn have a more stable race car. In conclusion its seems Mercedes have sacrificed some of their qualifying pace for race pace, why? Due to the tyres, so perhaps if the tyres were more durable, Mercedes would make the biggest leap as they wouldn’t have to sacrifice their qualifying pace. In my opinion, as much that is made regarding RBR’s supremacy i.e. illegal this, illegal that, the fact is that they have understood the tyres better than anyone else and thus seemed to have a car which is 1+ seconds faster than the opposition whereas I think Mercedes still have the outright fastest car, but haven’t understood the tyres anywhere near as good as RBR.

      1. Yes, but when you say Red Bull have understood the tyres better, it should mean that Vettel has. Webber has been sporadically fast, especially in qualifying, but during the race he seems somewhat an also ran. As with 2012 (although it was closer then) Vettel worked at understanding the idisyncrasies of the Pirellis and improved outcomes. Hamilton did that ‘car understanding’ to some extent (albiet not due to tyre issues) and improved his performances but this year has been something of a plateau for the guy.

        1. Sorry, I meant to say Hamilton in 2009

  9. The Theodore Racing news is fantastic. Have grown up watching those cars win here, from Senna to Hakkinen (who won a Leg).

    In other news…. Da Costa will race in Macau! Talk about a showdown! What a race!

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