Vettel unhappy with Pirelli wet tyre performance

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In the round-up: Sebastian Vettel says that prior criticisms of the performance of Pirelli’s full-wet tyre will likely remain after yesterday’s wet qualifying sessions.

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The decision of the stewards to take no action against Nico Rosberg for setting his pole time despite doing so under double waved yellows has proven unpopular with a considerable proportion of F1 fans. But @f1alex offers this view on the matter.

To be fair to Rosberg:

1. He did slow more than usual in the turn where the yellows were shown. Yes he went purple, but all the stewards really are worried about is the short “marshalling sector” – which he did lift off through – not the entirety of sector 2.

2. The incident zone was completely clear as he passed through it, in fact Rosberg only caught up to Alonso two corners later. It was very marginal but Rosberg didn’t do anything wrong. He lifted when he saw the yellows, despite the track being already cleared.

It’s not like he flew through that section of track with Alonso’s stationary car still there. The incident had been cleared, and he did lift for the yellows (as seen by his speed being lower through T8), so I don’t see how he did anything wrong. Of course it’s always pretty iffy when someone sets a purple under yellows, but the danger had already been cleared, and there was still a lift (albeit small) to acknowledge the yellows. I know it’s fun to paint Rosberg as the villain and stuff, but in this situation he played it right. He covered himself through the yellow flag and still put in a stellar lap to get pole.

If anything, all this does is set us up for an even more exciting battle tomorrow, which – as a neutral fan – I am extremely looking forward to.

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Will Wood
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39 comments on “Vettel unhappy with Pirelli wet tyre performance”

  1. Even after reading the interview linked above I’m still left wondering why Kimi did not continue on and do one more hot lap in Q2 as fast as times were dramatically falling on the drying track. He had the time to do one more lap. Who decided not to, him or the team? Anyway, just curious. I don’t recall ever seeing someone go from P1 to P14 in that short of a time before.

    Brundle’s tweet is right on the money. This time the stewards got it right.

    1. Kimi lap will not be counted as he was the first one to take the flag

      1. Just re-watched the end of Q2, you are correct. Guessing he missed the chance at another lap by 10 – 15 seconds or so. Hard to say for sure as we did not get to see the exact moment he crossed the line. Then the announcers (US on NBCSN) showed him entering pit lane a bit later saying he was not on a hot lap and was now bumped down to P14. There was a lot of activity in those last few minutes of Q2 for sure.

    2. @bullmello There was nothing more he could have done. He went P1 with his last lap and he just so happened to be the first one to get the checkered flag and the others simply overtook him on the rapidly improving track. The worst luck ever.

  2. Another biased comment of the day, Rosberg had no way of knowing the track was clear. There could have been a Marshall in the gravel trap collecting debris or anything. I don’t run red lights because it looks clear.

    1. You don’t, and nor did Rosberg, but the chances are most people go through amber lights if they can squeeze through before it goes to red – I feel that is a better comparison

      Rosberg lifted sufficiently, which according to the rules is enough. I don’t agree with the rule itself, I think it’s still too dangerous, but Rosberg complied with the rule and that’s what matters

      1. “I think it’s still too dangerous, but Rosberg complied with the rule and that’s what matters”

        This is EXACTLY my point. It was a very close one, but he obeyed the flag so as far as the rules are concerned, he did what he needed to do.

      2. @strontium, Leaving aside the right or wrongs of Rosbergs pole lap , I still agree with L H that the rule needs to be more precisely defined and policed, failing to slow sufficiently under double yellow flags can be the difference between winning and losing but it can also be the difference between life and death, much more so than any other safety concern currently being investigated.

      3. Lets hope that the next one to act like Rosberg doesn’t suffer the same fate as Jules #17, who also slowed.

        1. Did he though?

        2. Blame the game not the player.

          Personally I can’t believe after the Bianchi incident driver’s are still left to their own devices to determine what constitutes lifting enough. Who are of course by their very nature going to go as fast as they can get away with. Surely some sort of VSC/speed limit could be imposed for the sector of track affected. To my mind this is a much bigger issue than the halo because it potentially impacts volunteers who are helpless pedestrians to accidents.

    2. He might have failed to adhere to the spirit of the rules, but he did 100% adhere to the letter of the rules – which only state that single yellows require a lift and double yellows a “significant” lift. And neither amount is specified in the rules. (50% throttle, 75% throttle?) Blame the rulemakers, not Rosberg. Precedent is there that his lift was more than twice as much as a lift for single yellows which did not draw any penalties (Hulkenberg in Austria, I think).

      …I typed in this comment expecting most of the above to be in that “considerable proportion” who blame Rosberg, but then I realized that @strontium, @f1alex, @hohum and others have pretty much summed up my points already.

      I suspect that rather unreasonable and/or British fans of Hamilton are represented in a rather inproportionate amount in that “considerable proportion” who did not fancy the stewards’ decision…

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        24th July 2016, 10:43

        @atticus-2 I don’t blame Rosberg – it’s every driver’s job to go as fast as possible. I blame the FIA for not enforcing the rules. If Rosberg had gone as fast as he did through yellows and hit a marshall, would we all be saying the same thing? I would.

        1. @petebaldwin. Yeah, pretty much.

          Thought note that it’s not that the FIA is not enforcing this rule, they’ve not even created it properly. First they would have to pinpoint exactly how much lift-off is needed, or a speed limit or something that’s slowing the cars down more than the current system. But that points a bit further than what we’ve been discussing.

          1. petebaldwin (@)
            24th July 2016, 11:57

            @atticus-2 – Yeah fair enough. I guess my problem with it is that F1 seems to be slow at reacting to things until someone gets hurt (or worse). This seems to be the first time that they don’t appear to even care about that.

            Sets a very dangerous precedent. Will Lewis lift like he did next time he passes a yellow in quali? I wouldn’t.

          2. @petebaldwin Yeah, totally agree. It’s extremely worrying. People just keep making the same mistakes; it would be a sort of ‘public’ interest to make these kinds of rules right and nobody is taking it up as a personal interest.

      2. I actually disagree that Rosberg complied with the rules on this.

        The rule is pretty damn clear on what to do, double yellows means full or partial blocking of the circuit with potential marshals and trucks on track, slow down and be prepared to stop. Rosberg, or any driver for that matter, blipping the throttle, is not adhearing to this rule.

        The reason they’re getting away with it is because of how the rule is being applied, they know from the past what they can get away with because of how the stewards have dealt with it before.

        Thats where the problem lies here, with the governance of the rule. Yesterday was a perfect opportunity for things to be set straight, that a throttle blip is NOT ok. Particularly on double yellows.

    3. @mike: How do you know Rosberg did not know the track was clear? It is likely that his engineer told him that Alonso was already moving again, so he knew the track was clear despite double-waved yellow flags.

      But neither you nor me know that. I still think he was aware of it – we lack so much information since FOM decided to cut the team radio feedback we hear on TV.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        24th July 2016, 11:59

        @xenomorph91 but the rules don’t say it’s OK to ignore yellows if the team says it’s clear. If that is how the rules work, it should be communicated to all so it’s fair.

        I bet there is a clarification after this race banning what Rosberg did.

  3. @COTD It’s not about whether ‘the incident zone was completely clear as he passed through it’, or whether ‘he flew through that section of track with Alonso’s stationary car still there’. Its not even about whether ‘The incident had been cleared’ or ‘the danger had already been cleared’. And I really don’t see how it being ‘fun to paint Rosberg as the villain and stuff’ has anything to do with it.

    What it is about is obeying the flags……. driving by the rules. Obviously a lot of people who watched qualifying, including Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, were of the opinion that Rosberg did not comply with the rules. In this case the stewards ruled in Rosbergs favor, but that is totally open to debate.

    Oh, and saying ‘all this does is set us up for an even more exciting battle tomorrow’ is I think a little disingenuous to Hamilton, who was obviously on a stellar lap, and would in most probability have taken pole.

    1. But my point is he did obey the flags. He lifted before turn 8, and when the incident was cleared (shown both by the yellow flag being cleared, and the yellow warning light on his dash turning off) he continued on his quick lap. He didn’t slow by a lot, no, but neither did Vettel in front of him and nobody has even mentioned him. It has everything to do with how fast the incident was cleared, because had there been a car stranded in the middle of the track, the yellows would have continued through turn 9. They didn’t, therefore he obeyed the flags that he needed to, in turn 8. Fortunately for him the yellow cleared just as he arrived into 9 so he didn’t need to sacrifice more speed, unlike Hamilton for example.

      1. +1 @f1alex, at the very least it’s fair for the stewards to give him the benefit of the doubt, not that I think they need to. The correct decision, in my view.

        And also, what you (@stubbornswiss) say about Hamilton being quicker before the yellows is questionable. Obviously it’s a shame for Hamilton, but it still sets it up for a better battle. Even if it is disingenuous, it’s a valid point

        1. – Obviously it’s a shame for Hamilton, but it still sets it up for a better battle.

          I have never liked this notion of Hamilton has to start from behind to give F1 fans an enjoyable race. I have always questioned it simply because Lewis Hamilton is neither the jester nor the gladiator of F1 to keep fans entertained always chasing from behind.
          Those who are quick to make such statements find F1 immediately boring if Hamilton happens not to start behind but in front.
          It is indeed a shame to hear people repeatedly mention that to have a good race in F1, Hamilton, has to start from the back.
          For the proponents who would say it’s because he drives a fast Mercedes, I would like to remind you that such statements have followed him all through his career even while at Mclaren.
          Thinking about it, I wonder if this enjoyment of watching the guy fight his way through from behind is why he is easily penalised. I wonder.
          And so I would like to propose to all those who enjoy watching Lewis start from behind to shift focus and find another driver on the grid, who will take his place to entertain F1. I think 10 years is enough for Lewis. Maybe Vesterppen, Vettel, Alonso, Ricciardo…

          1. Calm down friend! It’s kind of a compliment to Hamilton.. in any case what fans wish doesn’t affect his starting position what happens on the track does

          2. Hamilton fans will obviously not want their driver to start behind Rosberg

          3. @Puneeth
            – It’s kind of a compliment to Hamilton..

            Not it’s not.

  4. #chewinggumduringinterview@redcarpetevent

  5. “On this day” What a pity we don’t have full video coverage of this era, 3 in a row might suggest Mercedes like domination but the reality was that the Brabhams were by a long way the least powerful of the 3L. cars, lightweight, a good torque-spread and reliability made up for the power deficiency of the Repco/GM/Brabham engine.

  6. Not a big fan of Vettel but he is spot on about the wet tyres .

  7. Why did they wait several hours, then investigate?

    Anyway Rosberg played the rules to perfection, I can’t blame him, much as I want to. The rules are not the safest, is the issue.

  8. I think those comments from Vettel about the wet weather tyres are very significant. It goes back to what was being said after Silverstone – the fact drivers are rushing to intermediates after Safety Car starts is not entirely down to Race Control being conservative, it’s because the full wet weather tyres aren’t good enough:

    1. Liam McShane (@)
      24th July 2016, 10:36

      I’m sure drivers have been saying how poor the wet weather tyres are for a number of years. If i recall most drivers were wanting to get off them in favour of intermediates at Suzuka in 2014.


      Comments were made in 2014 and seemingly nothing has been done.

    2. Hm, but isn’t part of that the fact that after the first couple of years Pirelli actually greatly improved the Inters? I remembe that the first years we had Pirelli those inters would last only maybe 5-10 laps once the track began to dry while the rain tyres were more consistent.

  9. In fact, the Pirelli full wets are so bad, almost expected they would start Q1 behind the safety car. ;-)

  10. With such limited resting especially tyres that would normally be an excuse for wet tyres but how different is the philosophy behind wet tyres and road tyres and Pirelli are good at those?

    On Rosberg the only way to not leave a grey area is double waved yellows = pit lane speed limiter on. To leave it to drivers some will take more than others. Vettel also got through the yellows but lap was ruined by Button. Hakkinen never used to lift he just waved to acknowledge he saw the yellows.

    1. That wouldn’t change this case at all Markp. Rosberg lifted where the double yellows were, he got back on the power AFTER the flag was cleared and the light on the dash went off again at turn 9 entry. He was just somewhat lucky that it hit him only for a short stretch. Vettel did not get hurt by it much either.

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