Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Singapore, 2015

Hamilton doubts Mercedes will solve tyre problems overnight

2015 Singapore Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton had a single-word explanation for the root of Mercedes’ problems in Singapore: “Tyres”.

“These tyres for some reason not working on our car,” Hamilton told reporters after his seven-race streak of pole positions ended.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Singapore, 2015
“I doubt we’ll find something between now and tomorrow”
“It’s so weird. You heat them up, same as everyone else. You do your warm-up lap, same as everyone else. And you finish your lap where there seems to be OK grip and you see someone else a second up the road. So very strange.”

Hamilton admitted there were times he felt he was over-driving the car in qualifying in pursuit of more performance. “It’s the first time we’ve gone into qualifying with that kind of pulling even more out of the car if you can and therefore sometimes making mistakes,” he said.

The championship leader will start fifth on the for tomorrow’s race and is doubtful how much progress he will be able to make.

“It’s very hard to overtake here,” said Hamilton. “The others, particularly the Red Bulls, are incredibly quick through the long runs.”

“It is what it is. We’ll fight as hard as we can, I doubt we’ll find something between now and tomorrow but if we do, great.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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34 comments on “Hamilton doubts Mercedes will solve tyre problems overnight”

  1. It’s so very weird. I’ve been hearing for some time that the Mercedes chassis is supposed to be absolutely fantastic, and so much better than Ferrari, that this is kinda bizarre. We’re talking 1.5s here, it’s insane.

    1. Yeah but Merc fortunes turned in 2013 after that tyre test and the change for safety, quite funny that another tyre change for safety has hurt them so bad and with the issue post Monza. Will need to see over next few races but if this continues they might want another tyre test knowone else can have.

      1. mark p, I recall that Keith produced an article looking at the impact of the change in tyre construction in mid 2013, and his analysis showed that the changes to the tyre construction actually had a negative impact on Mercedes’s performance, whereas Red Bull and McLaren were two of the biggest beneficiaries from the changes.

        1. I remember late 2013 Merc were strong often best of the rest but maybe my memory is a bit rubbish (its been known). Maybe nothing to do with the tyres in 2013. I am not stating this as fact and what has happened this weekend so far would have to continue to say the tyre changes have single handedly wiped out Mercs domination. I think this will be a weird one off.

          1. No offence intended Mark P but you memory really is bad.

            At the start of 2013 – Paul H of Pirelli stated that more robust tyres would mean Red Bull run off with the championship. They knew because they has seen the download figure. Merc get a few poles, general lottery chaos ensues etc etc.
            Mid year after being given the go ahead and after losing the British round, Pirelli get them to do a tyre test. Whatever your thoughts on the matter – the beneficiary of said test and changes to the ‘harder’ more ‘robust’ tyre benefited one team and one team only. Red Bull. It may have stopped the occasional blow out but there is no getting away from that. It frankly makes me laugh because if ever there was domination it was the last half of 2013 – and it had nothing to do with engines. Just the four bits that attach you to the track (and the. Clever aero good car driver etc)

            SV won all bar one of the remaining races (9 in a row) Merc and everyone else went backwards. Just as Paul Hembry had stated at the start of the year.

            Now, funny thing… We are right back where we started.

            The Pirelli world championship – bought to you through a willingness.ss to be manipulated by Bernie to make sure they get the next contract.

            People moan but the Pirelli ‘era’ is without doubt, the very worst period in F1 and to suggest Merc are the cause?

            I do wish people would wake up…

            Tyres are the very most important bit – so let’s design some really horrid ones and let the tyre manufacturer choose them for the tracks and engineer their own petty little negative marketing campaign to their hearts content…

        2. yeah, Vettel won every race afterwords ;)

          1. Yeah and it was Vettel winning all the races hopefully same again this year. Another tyre change for safety another Vettel run of wins.

    2. Actually, tyres do offer a plausible explanation for such a dramatic loss of relative pace. After all, Mercedes were the fastest in Monaco, where the engine is even more irrelevant for a car’s performance (drivability issues left aside). The only major change that has happened since then affects the tyres. So, there’s probably nothing wrong with the chassis. But the “chassis” is far from being the only variable that affects engine-unrelated performance. There are tons of parameters that affect a car’s balance in many ways, which ultimately influences how the tyres interact with the track.

      1. The gap Merc had in Monaco was already a lot smaller than on most other circuits, and that was on a rather cold weekend, which normally plays in their hands. Now we have a similar circuit but temperatures are about 10°C hotter. Of course the effect the temperature has on the different cars is essentially about how these cars work the tyres, but any effect of any change of tyre-pressures needn´t be involved.

    3. well that shows how great their chassis really is, doesn’t it?

      and the tyres lol. F1 can’t solve the tyre problems in 5 seasons so no doubt Merc can’t solve them over night. Pirelli is Italian for “no grip”.

      1. Oh yes – comment of the day…

        But I hear everyone cry – they are only doing as they are told…

        No they are very very shrewd and making sure they affect championships and drivers attitudes alike, while more than happy with the negative press they get – because it’s all about Pirelli!

        Equally – they really don’t have to make tyres that explode, fall apart, work great for a guy one weekend then die another. They could shock, horror, choose not to!

        The most vocal outcry from the Spa debacle was from the four time champion… SV

        What better way of keeping him quiet – tyres Merc will struggle with, Ferrari won’t and the first pole in five years. How do we keep NR quiet – show him what happens when we do something different.

        We will not be hearing bad reports from Seb again will we? regardless of how dangerous they are and absolutely everyone is being manipulated…

    4. The chassis is still great but something regarding mechanical grip, possibly suspension setup isn’t working that well and in my view it has been this way even in Singapore 2014. I think it is the Mercedes team that isn’t able to extract what they want from this abnormal racing venue.

  2. So all the while the chassis and tyre issue were masqueraded by the horsepower, now on less horsepower demanding track those problem suddenly surfacing? Or actually Ferrari new engine has cut down their horsepower deficit significantly?

  3. As I love a conspiracy, maybe they were told to turn the cars down for a race so people stop complaining.

    1. Given that they could choose not to show up at all for the next four races in a row and *still* be leading the constructor’s championship — and even in the driver’s championship could skip the next three races safe in the knowledge that they’d be at most one point down — that’s perhaps not such a ludicrous assertion.

      At this point, Mercedes are so far ahead that they have more to lose from continuing to outperform everybody else than they have to gain. Another race that F1 Fanatic readers rate a 9.5/10 solely because the front car wasn’t a Mercedes is probably just what the doctor ordered…

      1. that’s perhaps not such a ludicrous assertion.

        ->

        so people stop complaining.

        Do you really swallow that as a non-ludicrous motivation for Mercedes to underperform intentionally? That would be the first time in F1 history, if not in the entire history of competent people doing something for their own benefit.

        My rule of thumb:
        If a conspiracy theory requires the suspect to be nigh-omnipotent and painfully stupid at the same time, it’s a ludicrous theory.

        1. Well i don´t think it would be good for F1 for Merc to be equaling or beating Williams pole record right now. It would rub the domiance in everybodys faces. I think that would make it harder for all the teams to get sponsors on board. So from a PR perspective this is good. Merc takes one for the sport, drops one at no risk for either championship, gets perhaps an extra payment from Bernie and the rest of the sport avoids a PR-disaster. Sponsors stay on board, interests in the sport increases, and everybodys happy.

          Stranger things have happened. Its a business first, sport second.

          1. I love it when people ignore the realities of entertainment and common sense.

        2. I love it when I hear the conspiracy theories. HAHAHAHAHAA

        3. It’s a perfectly credibly theory. Auto manufacturers will, just like any other company, act in their own self-interest. Mercedes have, for all intents and purposes, already won both championships. Winning them by an even greater margin will not earn them more money. It will also not earn them greater viewership and eyeballs for what is, to them, essentially a long-form commercial. In fact, it will do the exact opposite: Persuade people to switch off and *lose* them attention for that commercial.

          It is very strongly in Mercedes’ own self-interest to try and manipulate the scale of their win to imply a closer battle than is actually the case, both to avoid losing viewers for the commercial *and* to avoid losing money in future seasons, because the more people complain and switch off their TVs, the more likely the rules will be changed to help competitors to catch up, and the sooner Mercedes’ dominance will be reined in.

          Mercedes gains from extending this status quo for as long as possible. They win financially at the races, and they win in terms of the marketing potential longer-term. And as we have just seen with Volkswagen cheating their emissions testing and making cars that are actually 40 times worse than claimed for pollution, if an auto manufacturer believe they can get away with cheating and lying to make more money, they will do it. In fact, not even laws that could put their executives in jail will prevent them cheating, let alone rules which have no bite once you leave the race track.

          We live in a world and watch a sport where lying and cheating in one’s own self-interest is commonplace and frequently documented, even at the very top level. We’ve had definitive proof that Ferrari, McLaren and Lotus ancestor Renault have all cheated in very extreme ways, right up to fixing the results of races. Why on earth would you believe that Mercedes wouldn’t act in their own self-interest too, once they’ve ascertained that they’ve realistically won both championships? That, to me, smacks of naivete.

          1. It may just be my naïveté speaking, but I have a taste of tinfoil lingering on my tongue after reading your explanations.
            Speaking of which, every single one of your explanations show examples of competent people cheating for their own benefit, their greed knowing no limits, readily biting the hand that feeds them. Does that explain why Mercedes would all of a sudden start to underperform, to please a part of the fanbase that is quite vocal on this site, but not necessarily elsewhere? No, it doesn’t. You’re just seeing patterns where there are none, sensing a conspiracy that involves many assumptions, when there’s a simple explanation that would suffice to explain it all.

        4. It is nothing to do with Merc…

          It is everything to do with SV being reminded to behave in public when it comes to comments about Pirelli and am subtle reminder of just how he got a straight nine wins in 2013!

    2. Well if that’s the reason, they could do it after they broke all the records. 1 more race won’t matter for spectator.

      1. There’s always just one more record around the corner to break, even if it’s the one you just set.

    3. more like they were told to not to cheat the pressures anymore and had to turn the engines down to prevent wheelspin and blistering. ;)

      1. I think Apex Assassin has hit the nail on the head!

  4. Two races in a row Hamilton has to actually drive hard. if Rosberg can’t make him break a sweat maybe starting fifth will. Looking forward to an epic scrap for the top 5 positions.

    1. That would be good as Hamilton has been too relaxed for a long time that he may have forgotten how to drive at his best.

  5. So Mercedes struggles when using regulation tyre pressure? Go back to cheating then😁. This is becoming quite interesting!

  6. When did Pirelli “Specify” the tire pressures for this event, I think in the rules it says they have to give a fairly good margin with respect to number of days before they give the teams the “tire specification”.

    It’s a shame really, but Pirelli have more to do with Seb’s pole than Ferrari or the man himself. This marks a change in F1, and if Pirelli keep conveniently selecting tires pressures which are more favorable to certain teams for what ever reason, F1 has become no better than the fakery that is MotoGP, with their control tire, and the drama that Dorna demands, and the ‘idol worship’ that goes along with it. #SadDays.

    btw, I listened to Toto talking to Damon before qualifying, and he was lying so obviously and with out any real measure of concern about it, what a shame, so many lies, It’s a shame F1 isn’t more competitive, but certain manufacturers (Merc, Ferrari) are doing just fine now, so why bother. Customer teams await, and Merc vs Ferrari are top on the menu for consumption by the ‘masses’.

    But at least it’s fair … to be told what to do. (real innovation).

    1. F1 has become no better than the fakery that is MotoGP, with their control tire

      Isn’t a control tire, by definition, the only tire allowed to be used? Which effectively is the same thing F1 does by only having Pirelli supply tires?

      1. Bike tires are a lot more specific and have been used to promote certain causes in GPs. Straight up. The control tire has nothing to do with saving costs or having to do with safety, it has to do with controlling the spectacle :) There are a number of levels in “life” and being on the read only end of a tube is one of the lowest levels in the game. At the end of the day people make money by getting people’s attention and interests, and the control tire is about that, it has nothing to do with equality and justice, even though both of those terms are perverted beyond belief.

        MotoGP has realized quite a bit of return by using Rossi as their principal mascot (soon to be the magical marquez). I think you will find that in the future of F1 you will see the tv producers driving the idol worship a little harder and trying to dumb down the sport to a “versus mentality” looking for the LCD to prop up F1’s unsustainable behaviors. It’s desperation, you have team principals calling for ‘dictatorship’ and tire manufacturers deciding to alter the specification of the tire, it’s written all over the walls. Teams are dropping like flies, and when people get desperate, … I think it’s pretty obvious what needs to happen to keep the guys who don’t want to work for a living, happy.

  7. its all about Pirelli folks and nothing to do with a psi here or there!

    But I hear everyone cry – they are only doing as they are told…

    No they are very very shrewd and making sure they affect championships and drivers alike, happy with the negative press they get – because it’s all about Pirelli!

    Equally – they really don’t have to make tyres that explode, fall apart, work great for a guy one weekend then die another.

    The most vocal outcry from the Spa debacle was from the four time champion…

    What better way of keeping him quiet – tyres Merc will struggle with, Ferrari won’t and the first pole in five years. How do we keep NR quiet – show him what happens when we do something different.

    We will not be hearing bad reports from Seb again will we? regardless of how dangerous they are and absolutely everyone is being manipulated…

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