Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, Silverstone, 2020

Hamilton suspects balloon-like tyre pressures contributed to Mercedes’ blistering

2020 70th Anniversary Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton believes the tyre pressures stipulated by Pirelli for this weekend’s race contributed to the blistering problems Mercedes suffered.

The Mercedes pair were unable to keep Max Verstappen behind them in the fight for victory at Silverstone. Hamilton pointed out their rivals’ tyres were in much better condition after the race.

“You look at their tyres, they have not had the problems we have today,” he said. “It was definitely unexpected to have this blistering as hardcore as we experienced.

“I’m really grateful to have progressed and managed to just get my way through the race. I think right at the end I had blistering again, but I’d been pushing pretty heavily to catch the guys in the lead.”

After a series of tyre failures at the end of last week’s race, including on both Mercedes cars, Pirelli increased the minimum starting pressures for this race to 22 psi for the rears and 27psi for the fronts.

Asked what could have been the cause of Mercedes’ blistering, Hamilton said: “Not that I know of at the moment, but I’m sure the team will be working as hard as we can because we’ve not had that before.

“I would imagine, most likely, obviously Pirelli were struggling with tyre failures last week. So then weekend on, weekend on, they just put the pressures up and up and up. I mean, the they’re balloons now, that was the highest pressure we’re ever had.

“So I wouldn’t be surprised if that was a thing for us. I don’t know if anyone else struggled with blistering like we had so it’s something we’ll look into.”

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Keith Collantine
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120 comments on “Hamilton suspects balloon-like tyre pressures contributed to Mercedes’ blistering”

  1. Sore Loser… DAS just eats tires…

    1. Mercedes use it to warm up tires, today was too hot.

      1. Yeah… can’t change the weather I guess. So, design a better car, change the setup?!

    2. Only you here.

      DAS has nothing to do with rears…

    3. Sore loser is 30 points clear at top of WDC. Ta ta

    4. Hry gave an opinion on what might be the reasons for the blistering, even hes is suggesting that he isn’t 100% sure and you call him a sore loser? Why the hate? He was pretty happy after the race today despite coming second.

      1. Because in the race itself he went on the radio to spread his personal conspiracy that Red Bull might have been cheating with Verstappen. That’s why. Hamilton often does that, take note of Ferrari’s “jet fuel or something” commentary last year. He absolutely implies his competition is cheating if he’s not winning and he can’t blame the car OH “There is something wrong with this car for the right rear to be doing that”. He also blames the car.

        1. How does talking on radio with his engineer become spreading a conspiracy? Also – you mean Ferrari didn’t have “jet fuel or something” last year?

        2. True, but my guess is that Mercedes is cheating, Every race they are 1 sec faster, mayb FIA should investigated Mercedes… oh what? They are the FIA?

        3. Turns out Ferrari was cheating in 2019, so……perhaps you should pay close attention to Hamilton’s comments about the Red Bull in that race.

    5. Ronny, except it was the rear tyres that were experiencing problems with blistering, where DAS does not apply – so your comments don’t really seem to make any sense.

      1. As they say. A little knowledge is dangerous.

  2. GtisBetter (@)
    9th August 2020, 16:11

    Of course he means the car design contributed to blistering.

    1. First 4 races they never got blistering and all of sudden they do? Did you forget pirelli changed tires for the weekend that favored bulls

  3. They beat us so they must be cheating.

    The mark of a true champion…

    1. *facepalm*

      Where did you manage to read that?!

  4. You just qualified on the wrong tyre Lewis.

    1. The remark about the tire pressure of the Red Bull was disgusting.
      Unworthy of Lewis!

      1. What did exactly offend you? Quote please

      2. Disgusting…But valid

        1. How is it valid? The tyre pressure is monitored all the tome during the race.

        2. Not valid at all. The Mercs were the cars who had the problems, and more or less it was almost only the Mercs (and the Tauris). Hamilton’s entire shtick is “everyone is out to get me”, which he uses on track, off track, and in his politics. That is his personality and his character.

          1. No it shows you are blind or didnt watch the race at all. Most other teams suffer the same problems. Just RBR didnt

          2. Watch Lewis’ comments after the race. THAT is how it’s relevant.

      3. You’re still bleating on about this?

      4. What about his second pitstop? Looked like he speeded in the pitlane, given he was still braking after the pit line.

        1. The channel 4 commentary explained the pitlane speed limit is an average, so Lewis could average out his overspeed over the line by dropping beyond further beyond the speed limit than normal beyond it.

        2. You could listen to the engine during the onboard, too, he never made it as he crossed the line. The only thing they could’ve done was give him a time penalty and that time penalty may or may not have cost him a position at all.

          But I can certainly see a desire not to punish the only person trying to “change the world” and “end racism”, especially if it doesn’t affect any other team, but I don’t believe that enough to add it to my list of conspiracies.

          1. It just show how little you know about f1. Hamilton was way below the speed limit before the line. He even speed up after that to 80kmh. Stop being clueless and get real

        3. You can speed in the pitlane, the measurement is an average over 2 detection points on entry, so if you slow sufficiently, no penalty.

      5. You mean the same thing as rocket fuel ferrari’s last year?

      6. They all start on the same minimum pressure. What he was referring to was the heat increasing the pressure in his tyres more than the Redbull.

    2. Max in used 25lap old tires was quicker than Mercedes on 10lap hards

      1. Yeah, so?!

        1. So RB managed better on the increased Pressure of the tyres. KUDOS TO THEM. It’s always a flash in the pan though

          1. There is no proof they managed it better. Just plain out fishy going on on that bulls tires. RB have lowered they tire pressure

        2. In another words fishy going on on that RB. There is no way RB would still be quicker after 25 laps. Go check the first 4 races bulls was nowhere to be found. Talk about equality

          1. I had a good laugh, thank you – good old Mercedes fans accusing others of fishiness while their engine resembles last year Ferrari’s more than anything else – not to mention their tricks behind the scenes.

  5. Lets keep the psi around 30 for the rest of the season then.

    1. You build a car to work with certain pressured tires, then once season starts Pirelli changes tyre specs. That sounds fair to you?

      1. It’s because Mercedes complained about exploding tyres. I guess Pirelli can’t change the tyres and the pressures everytime to work for Mercedes. Would that sound fair to you?

        1. @mg1982, Tire specs, like every other part of technical regulation should be set before season starts and not change in the middle of it. Pirelli screwed up underestimating performance of 2020 cars around Silverstone and now had no option but to change tyre spec. Before season starts all teams campaign for whatever they want from Pirelli, its probably wrong too but during the season it is especially wrong.

          1. Oskari Kantonen
            9th August 2020, 18:38

            Pirelli made new 2020 spec tyres custom made for the higher loads expected from the continued aero development but the teams rejected them and chose to run 2019 tyres.

      2. It has happened before. Merc work around it and still win. Let these guys enjoy their moment in the sun 😎

      3. @ivan-vinitskyy when Merc get the rules changed, then the rules don’t favor Merc, you still upset. lol

  6. Time to get some real tire manufacturer like Michellin or Bridgestone to F1.

    1. Michelin?! 2005 ring a bell? That race is regarded as the biggest joke in F1 history, all thanks to Michelin.

      1. @mg1982 That was one race caused by a very specific set of circumstances created by the diamond cutting of the track surface at IMS that was putting an unexpectedly high load on the sidewall of the tire through the banking.

        Bridgestone had data on it due to Firestone supplying tires to Indycar for the 500. Michelin didn’t have access to that data so were unaware of just how much additional load the new surface was putting on tires. Had Bridgestone not had access to the data they did from Indycar it’s actually highly likely they would have also suffered problems.

        The Michelin was actually considered the better tire to be on for a majority of that era of competition & was also the teams/drivers preferred tire supplier when the tender process was taking place a few years ago. And in general Michelin are considered to make the best tires in Motorsport which is why top teams in categories that allow competition all tend to go for Michelins. The Pirelli’s don’t tend to do well when they have competition.

  7. The moment in the race where he accused Red Bull of cheating with tyre pressures was really low.

    Lewis is the only driver in living memory who has never driven for a midfield team. He’s also enjoyed more dominant cars than anyone else.

    I suspect that being so spoiled with great machinery is the reason why he becomes so bitter and unlikeable as soon as someone else is quicker or does a better job.

    1. *facepalm*

      You don’t remember McLaren years?

      And he was not blaming anyone of cheating

    2. Looking at the podium ceremony we saw two very disappointed drivers. “Spoiled brats” came to mind

      1. Hehehehe 30 points clear….

        1. …..in a 1sec faster car than next best?! Thanks a lot, even Maldonado can with the WDC with a car like this.

          1. But he’s not. Hehehe

          2. The gap between Max and the Mercs in the race and qually is far smaller than the gap between Max and everyone else. So anyone could bring that RB home in third place and get the occasional win. Must be the easiest drive on the grid. At least the Merc drivers have the added pressure of being expected to win. Even Max’s granny could do what Max does. Well following your logic that is.

          3. The gap between Max and the Mercs in the race and qually is far smaller than the gap between Max and everyone else.

            That’s a weird statement @riptide just after a weekend where a RP was faster than Max in quali.
            It really seems that the Merc is further ahead than any other gap between the chasing 9 teams. They just didn’t set-up for tyre wear very well in Silverstone.

          4. On the hard? But look at last week. Max about 10s behind the Mercs; and more than enough time to do an extra pit stop. Not that I’m arguing the point. Merely replying to those who spout nonsense about anyone can win in that car.

          5. And even Maldonado would won today in that redbull car and beat the dominant mercedes with dead blisters tires. Thats how big avantage redbull had with that tire. Its a fact

          6. Or even better yet if bulls was the best car with max winning all the time. Do not think for a second it will be all down to Max for winning all the time. That even heck by your logic Maldonaldo would also win in a dominant red bull

        2. Yeah. But why the concern at the Mercedes team then?

    3. So salty.

    4. Messi never played for a midfield team either. What’s your point?

      1. Messi never played for a midfield team

        Well he also played for Argentina for the last 15 years and he hasn’t won anything with them so far…

        1. Thats because he can only play for Argentina! There was no option for him to play for Brazil/Germany/France. When there is choice to be made the best teams pick the best players. How are you even trying to argue this point?

    5. @kingshark Yeah, I was surprised they let that air, to be honest. But it is very reminiscent of losing to Ferraris and then talking about their rocket fuel. And of course talking about how there was something wrong with the car.

      Same with Vettel: “hey, we talked about this, you messed up my entire race, it’s your fault” after he spun.

      1. Well…to be fair…his suspicion about Ferrari was correct (ish)

  8. Very strange that this significant increase in tyre pressure has not been mentioned as a big factor in this race. I keep hearing Merc struggle in the heat but this isn’t the case. They have struggled with heat AT ALTITUDE and/or when the tyre pressures are increased. This isnt the first time tyre pressures have nobbled merc. Still…it’s the same for everyone. Kudos to VER today. Drove a brilliant race. The RB was just so good on its tyres today and when combined with VER’S ability and racing intelligence… the win was only going one way. I’m a Lewis fan but fully appreciate what VER did today (while also considering the circumstances) well done young man. Still a way to go to reach the benchmark but… Let’s see what happens in Spain because heat alone will not nobble Merc and Lewis.

    1. This “same for everyone” excuse is a very poor one that I keep hearing. To me it means nobody designed cars for these tyres / pressures and luck makes some win and others lose. If you like luck factor then f1 isn’t for you. Fair sports need meritocracy and f1 is about that.

      1. Some still designed their cars. What RP designed?!

        1. @mg1982 They designed everything that wasn’t allowed to be bought. Yes, this includes brake ducts, designs for which they legally acquired from Mercedes in 2018.

          1. @ivan-vinitskyy they did what Haas did and everyone hated Haas for that. Haas also didn’t get the tv money for buying a team, but Racing Point did. RP has been a huge, huge mess since they started operating as Force India.

      2. @ivan-vinitskyy F1 not for me? Thanks for that. I’ll stop watching immediately. I hadn’t realised my own error.

    2. Still a way to go to reach the benchmark

      Only a matter of time.
      Ham only drove championship material and has a lot of years to reach his deserved position as one of the greatest.

      1. “Only a matter of time..” in your opinion. At this moment in time…max has a LONG way to go. Im Sorry…it’s just a fact.
        I can see Maxs talent, acknowledge it and appreciate it but today was win No 9 and he has never contested a WDC over the course of a full season!! It’s really that simple.

        1. still only time saves Ham for now ;)

      2. Yea, but Ham had three teammates who were championship material to race against in the same car. Max won’t even allow a good No 2 in his team.

        1. @riptide to be PERFECTLY clear, his first championship was bogus in my opinion. He straight up lucked into it on the very last lap of the very last race, because had Sutil been driving the same way he had been driving the entire season, Hammy would’ve have won.

          1. @neiana you mean that year where the FIA penalised him unfairly many times to try and fix it for Ferarri. Just ignore the fact one unlucky puncture cost him in 2007. Then of course there was 2016 and the 3 DNF’s due to mechanical reliability.

            Max will never be on the same level as Hamilton in his career and has already been whipped by Ricciardo.

          2. Hehehehe still salty about 08! Love it.
            To be PERFECTLY clear, there are no asterisks against ANY WDCS. Time to let 08 go fella. You’ll feel better for it. 😀

    3. Maybe he should concentrate on car setup instead of other things like taking a knee or what slogan he or others should have on there shirt

      1. Yeh… with win 3 wins out of 5 this season (more than all other drivers combined) we can see car set up is a real weakness for Lewis.
        Less we forget the benchmark of total Podiums Lewis reached today to equal MS… this lends your comment much more value. Thank you for your insight sir.

        1. There are a lot of bitter Hamilton fans on here today. Look, it’s pretty obvious that Hamilton is going to win the WDC but you really should be able to appreciate a stunning drive when you see one even though its not been done by your beloved Hamilton.

          1. I thought he was reacting to an utterly nonsensical comment. Hamilton fans aren’t allowed to do that?

          2. Let’s not forget that Bottas pulled away from Hamilton in that first stint.

            If Merc didn’t sacrifice Bottas with strategy then Hamilton probably doesn’t beat his teammate.

          3. Really, I think most on here are laughing at the salty comments about Ham. I take great delight in coming on here after Ham has had a good race to read those comments. Its like the cherry on top of the cake.
            Mind you when I see posters use phrases like ‘your beloved Hamilton’ I know where they are coming from. You can guarantee they are on here after every race bleating because their beloved driver has failed them yet again.
            See, I know exactly how you feel in the same way you seem to know how Hamilton fans feel.

          4. ? Bit strange. See my comment at the top of this thread. Max drove a great race. He is learning well but still only has 9 wins…? I’m sorry but it’s just a fact.

    4. Very strange that this significant increase in tyre pressure has not been mentioned as a big factor in this race.

      Wasn’t that big of an increase; 1psi at the rear and 2psi for the fronts.

      1. Thats a “significant’ increase especially to a finely tuned Mercedes. It’s very clear that increases in tyre pressures hurt Mercedes ,for a short period, more than it hurts RB and/or Ferrari.
        I believe it was a “significant” factor in the race result because it affected Mercedes tyre wear “significantly”.
        You obviously don’t agree but I think its a factor that shouldve been discussed more post race.

  9. The teams that suffered the most today were Mclaren and Mercedes. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

    1. What conspiracy theory are we supposed to see here?
      Surely it would make a lot more sense if RP had the same issues as Mercedes, since they are racing a copy of their 2019 car

      1. Both were the teams that had tyre failures on the other race. You saw so much more on my post that i intended….

        1. I believe a lot of people were marginal with the front left last week including Verstappen himself. His tyre had about 50 cuts in it before he pitted with two laps to go.

          Also I don’t think McLaren had it as bad as you think today. We saw Gasly struggling a lot with blistering, and Hulk had to make an extra stop due to significant vibrations.

          1. @dragon88

            Hulk had to make an extra stop due to significant vibrations.

            Yes, the vibrations of Racing Point owner Papa Stroll ensuring that the driver who has been away from F1 for years isn’t beating his son.

    2. They both started with an M?

  10. No other driver complained about tire pressure at least on broadcast.

    1. @pinakghosh It’s something that has been raised many times over the years as been something teams don’t like.

      If it were upto teams they would be running as low as 13psi which is the sort of pressures that were perfectly normal in the past. The pirelli era is the first time in F1’s history that pressures have had to be regulated & that such extremely high pressures have been run because the tires simply aren’t good enough to cope without been babied constantly.

      1. If the pressures are high then, its high for everyone.

        1. @pinakghosh it’s primarily because Hamilton always loves to talk about everything that is wrong, ensuring that very very few times is it possible that he can be blamed for not performing optimally.

          Outright suggesting Red Bull was cheating in today’s race being an example…

          1. Lewis never said Red Bull were cheating. He was just mentioning low pressure because how the heck did they never got issues but last week Red Bull did have tire issues

          2. Indeed, very lousy loser talk by Lewis. Of course he suggested they cheated.. nobody can defeat the great Lewis ;)

        2. @pinakghosh That doesn’t make it right.

          This is meant to be the pinnacle of the ‘Sport’ & these tires are simply not fit for purpose, If they were they wouldn’t need to be babied in the way they are with mandated pressures, cambers that were never needed at any other point in the ‘Sports’ history.

          Formula tire show is not a sport anymore.

  11. If they continue to run extreme tire pressures going forward & Mercedes continue to have problems we will know that either the FIA, Liberty or Pirelli are manipulating the championship.

    It’s the same thing Pirelli were accused of in the past when they went through a period of seemingly making changes to things in a way that always hurt Red Bull more at a point when people were complaining about them dominating.

    It comes across in some instances of been a form of success penalization. If you don’t like how dominant a team is then simply play with the tires to artificially slow them down & give others advantages.

    Just another one of the artificial gimmicks we have in formula drs tire now.

    1. @roger-ayles What tire pressures are mandated for Spain? That’s another high down-force track so I could see Pirelli advising the same increase.

      1. Spain is a mix of high and low speed corners so pressures will likely go back to what they were. Who knows though? It had the effect of ” spicing up” the result so could be appealing to Liberty and FIA.

  12. Both Mercs had massive tyre blow outs last weekend. Hamilton crossed the line with three tyres.

    Can’t have a one second advantage on the field every race.

    1. Exactly – you can’t please some people.

      I think there’s such fan tribalism these days that when someone’s favourite driver doesn’t win there has to be some sort of conspiracy.

      1. No conspiracy. Any reasonable person can see the increase in pressures were necessary (due to pirellis ineptitude). Still think it’s worth discussing though

  13. Poor Lewis… He is damned if he does he is damned if does not… The question about redbulls tyre pressures is not about him being a sore loser but him showing how he thinks beyond just whats happeningg to his team. Similar to taking a corner at high speed on 3 wheels while changing settings on his steering wheel. Its mental capacity to tthink of every possibility even the bad ones.

    1. No, that was very clearly a call to higher to investigate Red Bull’s tire pressure for being out of the legal range. Just like his… “rocket fuel” commentary about Ferrari last year.

      1. As it turned out, he was right about the ‘rocket fuel’ – Ferrari did indeed burn quite a bit of oil to cheat their way into P1’s.

        You hopping on just about every comment here yapping about Hamilton’s alleged ‘whining’ says more about your bilious bias than his suspicions.

  14. Teams spend million and millions developing these cars and it all comes down to tires….a few psi up or down…what a joke. If tires had to play such a big role then why is there a need for Standard tires? It defeats the purpose

    1. This is so illogical it makes my head hurt.

      The hotter a tire gets, the more it will roll onto the sidewall with lateral load. The lower the pressure, the worse it gets. Raising the pressures reduces roll over, reducing risk of blowout and carcass separation. Tire pressures can’t be some static technical regulation because they are so situation dependent, the manufacturer must be the arbiter of what is safe and what is not depending on the circumstances.

      They didn’t do this to screw your guy. I understand why Hamilton is frustrated, but it’s a bit silly how he reaches for the tin-foil hat in times like this. It’s just one of those races where the compromises Merc have chosen to optimize their car did not work out as well as the compromises RB chose to optimize their car under the specific weather and track conditions at this particular track on this particular weekend.

      People seriously need to let this crazy stuff go.

      1. What’s a bit silly is taking his post-race remarks as reaching for the tin-foil hat. His car wasn’t as quick as he thought it be and he thinks it’s because of the higher tyre pressures they used this weekend. End of story. If anything, he acknowledges it was for safety reasons following the issues during the last race. So you’re essentially agreeing with him in the first part of your comment. I don’t see any need for the tin-foil bit.

        1. Except I wasn’t talking about his post-race comments, I was talking about his radio message about RB regarding the tire pressures which seemed to imply shenanigans. So…yeah. Perhaps the radio transcript will convince me I’ve misread it. but that’s what it sounded like to me.

  15. Last week Mercedes drove the tyres off their cars but all the other cars were suffering similar blistering. It is statistically significant that this week, when everyone is using softer tyres, that there was only blistering on some of the tyres. Max’s first set of hard tyres looked better than the Mercedes’ hard tyres even though Mercedes had them on for just a few laps after their first pit stop.

    Team Red Bull was actually surprised as well. They were initially telling Max to drive conservatively when they saw the other teams’ tyres blistering. Then Max and the team realized that their tyres weren’t affected the same way and told him to go as fast as he could.

  16. Ham/Merc had an odd weekend, suddenly ham/Merc haters are running with joy, like the childish max, he didn’t drive a better race, he just had a better setup and tyre strategy to begin with… Extra hot weekend and tyre pressures always hurt Merc in the past… Kids complaining ham was worried about conspiracy, lol really.. He was busy analysing possible sceneries, and one which they had never had this much blistering this quick with a harder tyre, and Merc are usually better with a hard tyre… He was puzzled with the issue and commenting about possible explanations… When he wins he doesn’t make childish and snobbish comments like he is doing… When he is frustrated he is behaving similarly… Ham would have no problem finishing second and grabbing wdc… Max is busy collecting crumbs and his fan boys are jumping for joy and non stop bashing ham… Lol… Ham handles all sort of pressure like a champ, let’s see when max will actually grow up…

  17. I wonder how hard it would be to engineer rims that will very slowly let out air pressure…

  18. @f1lauri I think Hamilton is ready to ask the FIA to ask Red Bull that question.

    1. Hamilton really makes your teeth itch, doesnt he! It’s a joy to see. Loving it.

  19. I’m happy that we had a winner that wasn’t a Merc, just because it made it more interesting.
    I do think though that Pirelli are looking like muppets though. They make and select tyres that are clearly unfit for the circuit and then massively inflate them to last the distance. The teams build their cars around these tyres. Yes, it makes it more of a lottery when Pirelli change the pressures but it does all feel a bit ridiculous.

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