Drivers slate “terrible” Pirelli wet weather tyres

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In the round-up: Romain Grosjean and Nico Rosberg join Kimi Raikkonen in criticising Pirelli’s wet weather tyres following a crash-strewn race in Brazil.

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Notable posts from Twitter, Instagram and more:

Long old day out there. Firstly thanks to fans in the stands that stayed patient. We all wanted to race and glad we could in the end. For sure some parts were intense though and the accidents were no joke so the red flag played its part. But ultimately glad we could complete all 71 laps. It was tough out there for visibility mainly. Tv makes it look better trust me. Had a few problems with my gear which frustrated me but the car was solid and better than 8th place. Unlucky timing with pit stops etc didn't help our cause but anyways we survived the conditions and the team secured 2nd in the championship so not a bad weekend from that point of view! Congrats team for an awesome bounce back this year. Abu Dhabi next. Do enjoy closing the season out there ✌🏼️

A photo posted by Daniel Ricciardo (@danielricciardo) on

Comment of the day

Toto Wolff’s attempt to keep others from racing his title-contending drivers provoked a lot of responses over the weekend:

Remember how easily Schumacher let Vettel by at Interlagos in 2012. A few others let Vettel through easily that day.

The championship is where it is because drivers fought hard all year so it should continue not turn the last two races into a Mercedes private race. It was almost certain after a few races Mercedes would win so should drivers have just stayed out the way then?

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Sridhar!

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On this day in F1

Recently-crowned world champion Damon Hill crashed a Ligier JS41 at Suzuka on this day 20 years ago while testing Bridgestone’s development tyres.

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Keith Collantine
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69 comments on “Drivers slate “terrible” Pirelli wet weather tyres”

  1. Lewis, it’s a case of what goes around comes around, RBR pitwall crew already gifted you 7 points at Monaco, sorry for the real bad luck you have had this year though.

    1. I’m sure he’d be happy to swap the 7 points in Monaco for the 25 points in Malaysia (plus the 3 points from Rosberg finishing 4th instead of 3rd)

    2. if red bull had played verstappen’s strategy right, lewis would not have won.

      1. Yes, exactly, i totally agree!

      2. Richard Verret (@)
        14th November 2016, 14:37

        I’m not sure facts back that up

        here is the race history chart for gaps

        On lap 32, Verstappen passed Rosberg for 2nd and was behind Lewis by 1.2s
        So Lewis was 1st here and Verstappen was 2nd… Let’s see what happens when Max has a chance to overtake the only better rain driver than him in a Red Bull that can argued to be a better wet-weather car than the Merc.
        lap 33: 1.4s
        lap 34: 1s
        lap 35: 1.5s
        lap 36: 1.7s
        lap 37: 1.8s
        lap 38: 6.3s (Max’s near-spin)
        lap 39: 6.7s
        lap 40: 7.2s
        lap 41: 7.2s
        lap 42: 8.2
        lap 43: Verstappen lost 2nd by pitting.

        Data seems to indicate that Lewis was simply faster than Verstappen when he wanted to be; otherwise he was controlling the gap

        Let’s not forget that before the 2nd(?) SC period, HAM had opened a 18sec gap on the field.

        Verstappen’s drive was made great today by his overtaking prowess when he had new tires towards the end. Lewis’ drive was quietly more brilliant because he didn’t need it to be shoutingly brilliant

        Lewis had pole, fastest in almost every session and 2nd in Fastest race lap compared to Max who did the F.Lap on newer tires in a light car at the end of the race on lap 67 when Lewis did his in on older tires on lap 44…

        Lewis > Max this weekend overall… but only ever so barely if you really analyze the data. Max had nothing on Lewis for the 10 laps he had the chance to try and overtake him

        1. Here is the problem though :in the first part, before the second SC. Rosberg was in front of Max and pulling away. So clearly Max drove faster at the end of the race than at the start.
          Alternatively you could argue that Max was lucky to have had the second SC or he would never have been able to pass even Rosberg.

        2. @
          Agree with the big picture, but Ham wasn’t second on the fastest lap chart, Ric was, two tenths down MVer. Ham was third, a furher tenth down. Both Ric and Ham set theirs about 20-25 laps prior to MVer.

      3. @frood19 I don’t agree Verstappen was a threat to Hamilton. When they were running first and second, Hamilton edged out a lead of 1.8 seconds which ballooned to 6.3 after Verstappen had his half-spin. After that Hamilton continued to draw away and was over eight seconds ahead when Verstappen pitted. So I think Hamilton had the pace to beat Verstappen.

        You can see the time gaps in the race charts here:

        1. @keithcollantine @frood19 I’ve not seen the charts but I understand that in the closing stages Verstappen was a lot faster than even Hamilton. It’s entirely probable that he would have taken the position from him.

          1. But if RBR had played Max’s strategy “right”, he wouldn’t have been on new wet tires for the closing stages – his tires would have been alomost the same as the Mercedes pair – hence it is not probable he could have taken a position of him. Same way he couldn’t do it earlier.

          2. I think HAM had plenty of speed left. Just cruising to victory; if VES got close I believe he would’ve pulled away again.

        2. @keithcollantine I can see where you’re coming from, but I think the strategy error they made was in pulling max in when the did AND putting him on the inters. hindsight helps hugely here, but i think a potentially winning strategy would have been to leave max on extremes once he got into 2nd place and then pit for fresh extremes once a window had opened up behind him. he would have then been 1pit-stop plus whatever the gap to hamilton was. then without having to pass so many cars (maybe just perez and rosberg) he could have caught hamilton.

          obviously, he could have also binned it by trying too hard in clear air.

      4. I would say Verstappen was the best driver in Brazil by quite some margin and i was’t a fan of he’s untill now.Lapping that fast while driving around all that traffic and dealing with the water sprey everywhere and managing to get fastest lap and also he’s just 19 .
        But if he would have won or not it’s speculation.
        With a better strategy he could have won or he could have been passed by Rosberg because i see the Mercedes as a better car.It’s impossible to say for sure.

  2. Rosberg have been gifted far many times…

  3. Sorry Fernando, Vettel did nothing wrong. Although SV’s comment about Max’s similar move was out of place, threatening ‘next time’ by Fernando is weak-sauce. Never your fault is it?
    Also I’m almost happy Massa spun out (safely). It gave us a really touching moment we might not have seen. It was lump-in-the-throat stuff and great to see the respect paid.

    1. +1

  4. WeatherManNX01
    14th November 2016, 1:44

    Drivers can complain about the tires all they like, but it was a set of wets that Max used to climb through the field like a madman at the end. So clearly they worked for him.

    1. One of those rare occasions when ‘madman’ has been used to positively describe Max :-)
      I hope to see more of these, it was like an F1 car versus a GP2 field.

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      14th November 2016, 9:42

      …against a bunch of other drivers on the same tyre. The fact that every lap was a gamble on the home straight shows the tyres aren’t good enough.

    3. Has there been any complaints about these wet tyres before – this is the first time I have heard anything. Would be nice if someone could explain if this this compound or tread has changed since Pirelli came back, or it is linked to these cars…

      1. Been complaints every wet race since Pirelli came in, be it the initial observations that the inter had nowhere near the same operating window that the previous tyres did and more importantly that neither set of wets gets back up to temperature properly if they lose temperature. I don’t know what compound they use currently but a few years ago they said that they used the soft compound for the inters which surprised me as I’d have thought they’d use a bespoke, less temperature sensitive compound. May do now.
        I do wonder what pressures they were allowed to use and if it was still elevated above what the tyre was originally designed for like it has in the dry most of this year.

        1. Today I phoned my boss to tell him I couldn’t make it to work, he asked me why. I said it was raining and I had Pirelli tyres on my car and told him to do the math, he asked me for a decent explanation, so I sent my wife on the other car to access the situation, and she confirmed it was still wet out there with a lot of standing water in the roundabouts, because it was raining, go figure.

          Got back with my boos and told him, no can do chief, it is too much of a risk I will try back tomorrow and see if the conditions played out in our favour.

          Moral of the story, don’t buy Pirelli tyres

          @alec-glen Drivers have been complaining about the wet weather tyres the previous years as well, I don’t think the pressure would have anything to do with the problem. And surely Pirelli would have mandated a minimum pressure to ensure maximum efficiency. They are just bad, that is it, we have seen time and time again, races starting under SC and as soon it goes into the pits drivers rush in for a set of inters.

          1. petebaldwin (@)
            14th November 2016, 16:40

            I always like to tell myself that advertising doesn’t affect me…. That if I see an advert on the side of an F1 car (for example), it makes no difference to me wanting to buy it…

            This doesn’t seem to have applied to Pirelli though. It made me laugh reading your comment because a few weeks ago, I saw a car stopped in some traffic with Pirelli tyres and my first thought was “aren’t you following the car in front a bit closely? You’ll need new tyres soon!” They have destroyed their brand image right in front of their own target market!

            If someone asked to give an example of the worst way you could possible advertise a product, I’d struggle to look past Pirelli! Deliberately creating inadequate and often, dangerous tyres in order to show what a reliable, trustworthy, safe brand you are. Very odd…..

          2. I like to believe that is how I behave as well, but answering this from a phone that does more than what I can possibly need probably does not reflect that.

            I can only imagine a marketing meeting at pirelli, surely is painful to manage. But how much of their clients actually see F1 and how much of them buy them because they supply F1 but don’t pay attention to it

            Can you imagine if they start to come out with slogans?

            Live on the edge…expect the unexpected, we will BLOW your mind


            You might not get there fast but we will make sure you will need two exciting stops

            Well you get the point. I could do this all day.

            And for the record my car doesn’t have Pirreli tyres

          3. @johnmilk,@petebaldwin, nice one John, Pirreli will get their pay-off when all those people who don’t follow F1 read the ” every F1 world champion since 201? has won the championship using Pirreli tyres” advertisement. Sad isn’t it.?

          4. @hohum I will do everything in my power to stop people from falling for that one

      2. So they have been complaining before.
        And some tests have been made since, so it would be nice if Pirelli told us how they have improved them in the mean time.

  5. “Lewis Hamilton rues Nico Rosberg’s ‘unbelievable’ luck in Brazilian GP (Sky)”

    After watching his class act of putting the Merc jacket over the grid girl, I wasn’t expecting such a statement although it must be said it was silly for Sky to use the word ‘lucky’ in the first place. Rosberg on every single restart when Verstappen was behind him was just letting Hamilton build a gap before he himself floored it. Shows he was taking it easy thinking of his championship. On the final restart when Verstappen wasn’t behind him, Rosberg was on the attack but Hamilton responded brilliantly.

    1. @sravan-pe you really show watch the interview man… basically the reporter asked Lewis “Nico was lucky again today” and Lewis smiling just said “it’s unbelievable, when is it gonna end” I honestly think it was not offensive, and he was very positive and did not show any soreness

      1. @jcost I did watch the interview and he clearly meant what he said. “Red Bull made such a big mistake with that call”, he said. Sounds familiar, doesnt it? I don’t seem to remember Rosberg coming up and saying Hamilton was lucky to win in Monaco.

        1. Because Rosberg was not asked a question about Lewis being lucky in Monaco.

          1. Like I said, it was silly for Sky to ask such a question to begin with.

        2. petebaldwin (@)
          14th November 2016, 9:45

          @sravan-pe @jcost

          Close enough. After Monaco, Nico said: “In the last Grand Prix I hopefully got all of my bad luck out of the way in one race, so onwards and upwards again from now.”

          1. @petebaldwin I don’t think so. He was most likely referring to his brake temp issues.

          2. @petebaldwin
            I wouldn’t say that’s close enough though. There’s a difference between talking about your own ‘bad luck’, and someone’s else’s ‘good luck’. But drivers, and others, more often than not just go with the flow of the questions asked in these ‘quick&light’ interviews. It was typical Sky reporting, insinuating, suggesting and now they got themselves a nice little headline: Lewis Hamilton rues Nico Rosberg’s ‘unbelievable’ luck in Brazilian GP

          3. petebaldwin (@)
            14th November 2016, 16:48

            It’s the same thing. Luck is defined as “success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions.”

            I think we all agree that Hamilton as very unlucky to have his car stop in Malaysia which has very likely cost him the title. Surely that means Rosberg was lucky? If he wasn’t lucky, than he deserved what he got in Malaysia.

          4. @petebaldwin
            I agree Ham was unlucky to have his car stopped in Malaysia in terms of the title fight. And yes, in that respect Ros, likewise, was lucky.

    2. @sravan-pe

      After watching his class act of putting the Merc jacket over the grid girl

      They showed that in the Channel 4 coverage, and as they were saying what a nice thing it was for Lewis to do you could see in the background someone from Mercedes walk up and take the jacket back! Made me laugh :-)

      1. @jimg lol.. Missed that :p

      2. @jimg When the austrian commentator said “Oh, what a gentleman”, co-commentator Alex Wurz replied “Drivers don’t do that because they are gentleman, they do it to keep concentrated and not get distracted.”

  6. There is no luck in Formula 1, Lewis..! There is only skill.!!

    1. If there’s no thing as “luck” then surely there’s no such thing as “bad luck”.

      So going by your theory and I stress “your”, does that mean his car failure in Malaysia was skill & not bad luck?

    2. Yeah, what skill. He just have been on form in Malaysia to make the flames go as high as they did.

  7. I think that comment about Rosberg’s luck is quite short sighted of Hamilton, who knows what would have happened if Verstappen closed in on him… I would have loved to see it.

    Anyway, great race. Still glowing. We got to see a drive that will be remembered for years to come. Extreme weather like that really is the great equaliser in terms of car performance and one driver stood well and truly head and shoulders above the rest.

    Verstappen’s ability to have the confidence to push like that and find the grip where others can’t is truly remarkable. I’d love to see him have a crack at rally one day.

    1. I think so too. The way Max judged the grip levels on the outside of the racing line was mind boggling. He was consistently taking a wide arc through the last corner and turns 3,4 and 5, I think. It was a brilliant display of wet weather driving.

    2. When Verstappen was in 2nd they were trading fastest laps. Hamilton had him covered.

  8. Verstappen did have a chance to close in on Lewis but was unable to do so. They ran 1st and 2nd for 12 laps. In 10 out of 12 laps, Hamilton managed to increase the gap, both being on equally old tires. Then Verstappen spun and almost hit the barriers, which increased the gap further.

    I think Lewis would have been fine.

    1. VES spun when he was reeling in Lewis. He was about 1.7 sec behind then.

      1. No he was not reeling him in, Max was being gapped, the closest he came was within 1.1 seconds.

        1. This is true.

          As much as, in my view, Verstappen made this GP great, I don’t think he had the pace to breeze right up to Hamilton. A safety car might have given him a sniff, but that’s pure conjecture.

  9. I thought the incidents with Alonso/Vettel and Verstappen/Vettel were absolutely fine. The driver on the inside made the corner and took a proper racing line through it – when that happens, they’re more than entitled to run their opponent out of track at the exit.

    Even the one where Ocon was pushed wide, which I thought was probably the ‘worst’ of the lot, was OK in my eyes.

    1. I think the ones where Alonso and Ocon got pushed off, the faster cars of Vettel and Hulkenberg (I think) that had just overtaken them simply didn’t expect them to come back on their outside, and couldn’t really see them through the spray.

  10. Sumedh Vidwans
    14th November 2016, 7:59

    Well, Red Bull’s poor strategies mean that Mercedes got a 1-2 instead of 2-3. So, Lewis benefited by gaining 7 points instead of 3 on Rosberg. Red Bull made two mistakes – Lap 13 when they put VES on inters and lap 43 when they put VES on inters.

    So unless Hamilton wants Red Bull strategists to be smart at one point (and not put VES on inters on lap 43) and dumb at the other point (still put VES on inters on lap 13); there is no way Hamilton could have got 10 points over Rosberg yesterday. Unfortunately, Red Bull’s strategists don’t care for Lewis’s championship.

    1. Redbull would not have been 1&2. Max was behind Lewis Hamilton for 12 laps and Lewis gained time on him for 10 laps before Max spun and RB pitted him for inters. RB surely cost Max a second place by pitting him for inters that early. LH had the race in control and never put a foot wrong. And he had the pace too.

      1. Lewis gained time till about 4 seconds.. the moment VES spun he was already again reeling in HAM ans was at 1.7 seconds.
        After the “”moment” he had about 8 seconds..

  11. I’d love to read something about how the F1 mentality to rain has shifted in recent years. Is it the bad tyres? Because I can remember so many wet races that just went ahead as normal, that didn’t get safety car starts or red flags. Almost all were prior to 2011. Of course, Bianchi, but what else? And is this now the future?

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      14th November 2016, 10:01

      It’s difficult to say – whilst it was frustrating yesterday watching the cars behind the safety car, when they did let them go, there were some serious crashes that could have been disastrous. Remember in 2003 when Alonso hit a stationary Webber on the home straight at Interlagos? Now imagine how easily that could have happened to Vettel yesterday whilst he was facing the wrong way and what the consequences would have been?

      It’s hard to defend Charlie Whiting and his penalty tombola machine but he had a really difficult job yesterday. If Kimi had been collected by Ocon (for example), it would be Charlie who would be blamed for letting them race. If he didn’t let them race, it would be Charlie who would be blamed for ruining the weekend and potentially, the future of the Brazilian GP. He even had a stand full of fans booing at him just to ramp up the pressure!

      1. All of this is absolutely true. But, at the same time, I’m seeing a paradigm shift in what we’re to expect from drivers now. The dangers you’ve mentioned have always been there in the wet. Prior to, say, Bianchi, this wasn’t an issue that led to drastic measures. Now it does. Whiting played it quite well in the end, but this race was hardly Armageddon, yet we’re all talking like it was out of this world. I remember not too long ago when this would have been just another rain race.

  12. No way in hell was Rosberg just cruising picking up the points, you really think he would let Max passed and risk being under threat from Ricciardo who was only a couple of places back?????

  13. If the drivers/teams want better tires, perhaps they should actually let Pirelli TEST them more than 1-2 times a year. Really tied of the all whining.

  14. Hopefully with the grippier tyres next year, the wets will also be a lot grippier and we’ll see less aquaplaning and will actually be able to have a full race in these conditions rather than half a race under the SC.

  15. This silly comment aside, travel and lifestyle blogger Hamilton impressed me this weekend with a flawless performance. He really was on top of things and didn’t even slip once. Even on the radio during the endless safety car periods, he came across as calm and focused. He definitely is a great champion, although it is very hard to like him as a person.

    Verstappen really showed his mettle coming back from 13th, in this instance the difference between his ability and Ricciardo’s became clear as daylight.

    As for Rosberg, I really hope that he can clinch the title this year. Perhaps he should pull something like Hamilton’s stunt in Barcelona and the thing is done. Schumacher, Senna and Prost have all done it, so it seems that hitting your opponent of the way, forcing both to retire is a legitimate means of achieving the title.

    1. Schumacher 1997 didn’t work very well?

      1. it did in 94

  16. They have to vastly increase the amount of testing for the future because these tyres are so bad, both slicks and wets, they are just about the worst thing about F1 today. I know that testing is very expensive but it is worth it because it greatly helps the teams understand and improve performance, that is why they tested so much 15 or 20 years ago. Just put a cap of something like 30 days a year per team and let them get on with it, honestly more testing will see massive improvements in the racing.

  17. (The crash) shows that the extremes are really terrible tyres and the intermediates are faster even though you have to take huge risks.

    I found a website that explains the differences between the Pirelli Intermediate tyre and the Wet weather tyre. According to this website the Intermediate tyre is designed for a maximum of 2 mm of water on the track, while the Wet weather tyre is meant for a maximum 5 mm of water. The Intermediate tyre has far fewer grooves in its “footprint” than the Wet weather tyres does, which means it must have less ability to cope with the wet conditions at Sao Paulo than the wet weather tyre did, and you can see this in the media release for each tyre: Intermediate = 25 litres of water per second, Wet = 65 litres of water per second. It seemed to me a lot of the track at the Brazilian GP had more than 5 mm of water on it, which meant even the Wet weather tyres were a bit out of their depth. Without meaning to disrespect Grosjean’s opinion, I think the Wet weather tyres would have been better in those conditions than the Intermediates, and the end result seems to suggest this is so because the first 10 drivers to finish the race finished on Wets, and the first to finish on Intermediates was Valtteri Bottas in 11th place.

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