Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit of the Americas, 2018

Hamilton puzzled by Ferrari’s wet tyre tactics

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In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton is puzzled why Ferrari did so many laps on their wet weather tyres in practice.

What they say

Mercedes kept their lapping to a minimum in the wet practice on Friday, unlike Ferrari. Hamilton explained why he did so few laps.

It wasn’t about the risk. It was more just we have a certain amount of sets of tyres and if it rains tomorrow in qualifying and [final practice] we want to use those other sets that we have and save them for qualifying. When the tyre’s brand new it has sharp edges on the tyres. For example a tyre that’s used, once you scrub the tyre in you start to tear those edges up and what that means is it doesn’t get rid of the water quicker enough. You have less grip and less efficiency. Naturally when you do qualifying you want fresh, brand new tyres to have as many shots at it.

But I see the Ferraris just pounding around, destroying their tyres. They’ve gone in [second practice] again pounding around and they’ve got no tyres left. So if it is wet tomorrow they’ll have one set less than us. It might not hinder them too much but we think more long-term. I could pound around and do 10, 15, 20 laps and it wouldn’t make a difference, I’d still be able to do the time that I did. You can find some things on your laps but better to do it in qualifying, or [final practice] at least.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Sebastian Vettel should have known better than to try to pass Max Verstappen the way he did at Suzuka, says Neil:

The only way that pass was on was if the guy ahead backed down. The driver ahead was Verstappen.

I know he’s relatively new but don’t F1 drivers learn the characters of their rivals and adapt their attacks if necessary? You’d maybe, if you were very desperate, try that move from that position on a driver you had identified as a laid-back defender, but never in a million years would you try it on Verstappen…
Neil (@Neilosjames)

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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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33 comments on “Hamilton puzzled by Ferrari’s wet tyre tactics”

  1. FE cars are not the most beautiful but is an valid attemp on new concepts and relatively nice.
    But I wonder whether, combustion or eletric powered, openwheel no-canopy racing cars have a good prospect.
    It is apparently certain that the openwheel scheme is not aero efficient anymore, thus the extent of front wing and bargeboard appendices trying to compesate for it. An opewheel concept made sense when slim tyres gave an advantage to those cars at the time and almost no other aero devices were implemented. Today designer try to overcome that and ended up creating racing killing airflow turbulence.
    Then wheels have to be covered almost killing the openwheel concept forgoing the advantage of full covered chassis. So it is neither aerodinamically efficient nor esthetically pleasing.
    Head protection is more dramatic because often required but its lack can result in grave injuries. So, with such a protection is inevitable, make it more aligned to the rest of the car design or make a closed canopy.
    In any case, the latest F1 design seems to be a compromise into cover the car as much as possible letting tyres and driver head somehow exposed for no good use.

    1. Mercedes had covered wheels in their first iteration in 1954, but they were outlawed after one or two races and have been ever since. So I think it’s been a technical regulation to have open wheels rather than a strategic choice.

      1. @frood19, there were quite a few teams which were trying to cover the wheels of their cars in 1954 and 1955 before the ban came in – Cooper introduced the T40 and Connaught had their Bs, whilst others such as Ferrari, Maserati and Gordini produced cars where the wheels were at least partially enclosed by the bodywork.

        As you say, the reason for having open wheels was because the organisers of the sport decided that was how they wanted the cars to look in the 1950s, seemingly in part because they wanted to do something that would make them visually distinct from the sportscars of that era.

  2. MB (@muralibhats)
    20th October 2018, 3:52

    Ferrari making it easy for its followers to switch teams. With RAI leaving and VET not showing any world championship winning traits, such strategies put the final nail in the coffin.

    1. In the past I would have said that Ferrari know what they are doing but recently that does not seem to be true, some really strange decisions from the prancing horse stable.

    2. You might be right, but Leclerc is a ‘poster boy’ to become the next star.
      If he has similar skills as Hamilton/Verstappen/Alonso/Vettel then he could become an easy fan magnet. He certainly seems less controversial than most current greats.

      1. Verstappen still hasnt proved himself by winning the title and with his arrogance and red mist issues not sure he will live up to his potential. Also you are insulting Hamilton and Alonso by adding Vettel into their category. For a 4 time “world champion” mistakes he makes are inexcusible and the fact he gets aways without serious penalties doesnt seem to help his character either(typical RBR character traits of an arrogant and redmist addicted).

        1. Repeating nonsense does not make it truth.
          His “arrogance” does not exist. He is self confident, as should every f1 driver needs.
          His “red mist” probably points at the moments he tried to do the moves others do no try. Looking at the history we see VER has had overtakes and actions on places no one ever succeeded before. So his track record is great, but of course driving at the edge is accepting sometimes you fall off.

          Verstappen still hasnt proved himself by winning the title

          Yep, that part is true. But put him in a championship capable car and we will see.
          And yes, even a 4 time champion makes mistakes.. it seems VET is not capable to withstand the pressure, like HAM had problems during his Rosberg partnering time. But with a HAM on the top of his abilities in the best car in the field, there is not much to gain for others.

        2. MB (@muralibhats)
          20th October 2018, 16:56

          VER can do more that what VET has done in this years ferrari for the WC challenge. You need to be that aggressive and thinking out of the box – right from strategy inputs to attack to defense. As much i despise VWR for his approach being a ferrari fan, honestly have to admin that is the killer instinct Ferrari drivers should have.

        3. MB (@muralibhats)
          20th October 2018, 16:58

          Red Bull does not have a car which is championship winning. You put Alonso, HAM or even Senna in it, i doubt they can win championship. thats a very wrong expectation you have from VER!

      2. MB (@muralibhats)
        20th October 2018, 15:25

        If Ferrari don’t improve. I doubt Leclerc will stay either.

  3. Ferrari have had short periods of brilliance the last few seasons (reaching a peak when we were considered the better team in comparison to Mercedes), but only that. Time and time again we throw it all away. Will never deserve a title like this.

    1. “… we throw it all away”. Are you speaking as a ferrari fan, an Italian on a team member?

      1. Ferrari fan.

  4. I agree with Hamilton.
    – I also agree with the COTD although he did manage to overtake other drivers into Spoon and those drivers didn’t back down, so I guess they fall into the category of a ”laid-back defender.”
    – Regarding the Sky-article: Although I wouldn’t mind if Kubica were to become a full-time F1 race driver again, I still hope more that Sirotkin gets the remaining Williams-drive in the event Ocon doesn’t get it, of course.

    1. I still hope more that Sirotkin gets the remaining Williams-drive

      (surprised) Why Sirotkin over Kubica? @jerejj
      I’m not saying that Kubica is any better, but most fans want to see if a fairytale come-back is still possible.

      1. @coldfly – came to ask the same :-)

        @jerejj – to me, Sirotkin hasn’t stood out impressively against his teammate, neither in qualifying nor the race.

      2. @coldfly @phylyp He’s got more potential in the long-term than Kubica as he’s in the early-ish 20s while Kubica is closing the mid-30s, so, therefore, he has much less active years left than Sirotkin has. Furthermore, I like Sirotkin as a person, so, therefore, losing him after only one season would be a little shame. I’d be OK with him being left without a drive in favor of someone like Ocon, but not as much in favor of someone who’s been away from this form of racing for a long time.

        1. Cheers @jerejj , I now see your point of view. I’d prefer Kubica to help develop their car better (especially since they’ve got a newbie in the other car), FWIW.

  5. @Zim I agree. Definitely Ferrari is capable of putting together a package capable of beating Mercedes and over the past 2 years I would say they are pretty close in terms of overall pace and potential. Mercedes seems to be far more grounded and focused without and they don’t implode and make little errors the way Ferrari has. I believe that Mercedes is such a well oiled machine that they are making the others look bad. I believe they are so laser focused and so on point with fixing issues with the car that it puts immense pressure on the rivals.

    1. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
      20th October 2018, 9:55

      Agreed. Ferrari needs to improve their strategy which has cost them this year and Seb needs to mitigate his mistakes as much as possible. In his Ferrari tenure, 2015 and 2017 he did few mistakes (which are expected from any human being) probably because he was the underdog whilst in 2016 and 2018 his mistakes have been several and costly.

    2. Absolutely. Mercedes are terminators now.

  6. I have to disagree with COTD. There is a difference between backing down because you don’t want to defend and backing down because you are being overtaken. We see very often when class B cars brake earlier or move aside to not waste time defending against much faster cars. Then there are actual overtakes as is a case of Vettel and Verstappen. Vettel found his way on the inside of the corner therefore forcing Max to back down to avoid a crash. That’s what overtaking is about, be on the right line to force your opponent to slow down to make the corner and not crash. But he too stubborn to admit that he didn’t defend his line and allowed Seb to attack him into Spoon. After that he’d rather crash than accept the overtake. This is shameful.

    1. @ivan-vinitskyy

      That’s what overtaking is about, be on the right line to force your opponent to slow down to make the corner and not crash.

      But defending is about being on the right line to force your opponent to slow down to make the corner and not crash, as well! You can’t just put all the obligation to back down on the defender.

  7. Ferrari aren’t capable of mounting a championship bid over an entire year. They start off great and are outdeveloped by their rivals who are strategically sharper and more adept at developing their cars – any advantage they have to start with fades away and if they start behind they never catch up. If Red Bull-Honda come good next year Ferrari won’t even see a podium.

    Slightly agree with COTD. The overtake was easily possible. If Vettel had drawn alongside Bottas, Ricciardo or even Hamilton he’d have squeezed past and we’d think he was amazingly daring. But… Verstappen’s pretty uncompromising. Vettel probably should have known that Verstappen wouldn’t give him an inch and risk collision to stop him getting by.

    1. The main thing to me is that Vettel was so much quicker than Verstappen that he would have passed him on the straight to 130R/the chicane right after spoon-corner or at the least into T1 the next lap.

      Knowing VER and knowing that he will have ample opportunity later in the lap/next lap, should have been enough for Vettel to make a better judgment imho.

      1. Vettel saw a gap, and acted on it. Any other driver would’ve done the same, and anyone other than Verstappen would’ve understood the consequences. Max, being well protected from the stewarding, slammed a door that could’ve ended his race too, but he got away cheaply by keeping the position without damage and no penalties.

  8. They should do the decent thing and let Kibica know one way or the other within the next few weeks.

    Not fair to string him (and fans) along again in a bid for cheap publicity after the season ends. It also means he can move on to other options if wanted.

  9. I am surprised people are not aware of why Ferrari always seems to implode, whilst Mercedes marches on and goes from strength to strength as the season progresses. The difference lies in the innate characteristics and culture of Italians vs Germans.

    German engineering has always been recognized to be superior the world over. This is because of the attention they have to detail, a metronome like efficiency, extreme focus/ seriousness, methodological workflow, and a built in desire for engineering.

    Italians, however are only known for things that involve a lot of flair and passion – arts, football, fashion, and the like. Of course, this is a stereotype, but it is a stereotype that is borne of the facts on the ground. Passion and flair are good, but on their own, they can result in disorganization.

    With all the passion and flair used in building Lamborghini’s and Ferrari’s, it wasn’t long ago they were spontaneously combusting all over the place. I cannot recall reports of SLR’s, SLS’s or any AMG vehicle regularly bursting into flames.

    This Italian “flair” is also the reason for the apparent disorganization we witness in Pirelli in F1 today. They produce inconsistent tires that behave differently from set to set, race to race, sensitive to warm-up, road surface, temperature, airflow, etc. When the brought out the silly naming nomenclature a while ago, it was widely derided, but they obstinately stuck to it. Now they have to go back and make it more simpler.

    They have gone through different tire iterations, compounds, structures, and pressures than all the other tire manufacturers in F1 ever did combined. This is Italian “flair” for you.

    This is not to stereotype one nation against the other, but i find the inherent nature of Italians seems to be a disadvantage in a high pressure environment involving metronome like consistency and organization such as F1.

    Interestingly, the only German in the midst of Ferrari seems to have infected with this Italian flair/ passion. He is overdriving, making all manner of mistakes, hitting people, and swearing at others.

    1. To be honest I only read your comment as far as the first paragraph when you stated the problem was one of Italians Vs Germans. This seems like a rather comical fallacy. You do know both the Mercedes F1 and engine teams are in Britain right? Do you have a breakdown of the workforce so you can back up your “nationality” explanation?

  10. Those FE cars do look nice compared to last Generation cars. The futuristic look is awesome and the fact that they get the batteries to last all race long now.
    But here is why i can’t watch it.
    I have tried watching the races in the past. But i always have to turn it off or mute it. Nothing against the racing but the sound has always given me migranes. Its the monotone sound of the electric motor. Yes you hear other sounds but the engine sound just does not work for me.
    I never had this problem with F1, Indycar or other Racing.
    I really think this is due to my history of multiple (a lot) concussions. I might watch some highlits with closed captioning to see what happened but I couldn’t do this for the entirety of a race.

  11. COTD is right.
    Vettel’s move would’ve worked on Grosjean at that same point.
    Grosjean is begging for a shot at Ferrari for years and would easily let him by.

    Verstappen couldn’t care less about Vettel and Ferrari and did it his traditional way.

    1. Those that claim Vettel could have passed at other places should know there are no other places where the Ferrari is able to make a pass, due to the current car configurations and the way the Redbull gets away from them after the apex. Sure they’re faster in a straight line, but the straights are too short and they lose it on the slow corners. I think it’s easier for Vettel to get in the slip stream of a Mercedes than that of a Redbull.
      COTD is right, because the consistant lack of penalties to Max gives the guy the false idea he can and will get away with it all the time. That Vettel tried to pass when he sees an opening is to be commended, not criticized. Max got lucky this time, but had he gotten a puncture, or worse, he would’ve been called an idiot.

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