Lewis Hamilton has renewed his call for Pirelli to improves its Formula 1 tyres, saying races are being spoiled because drivers have to carefully manage the stresses on their rubber.Max Verstappen, then pulled clear of the Red Bull driver, but was still able to make his first pit stop later than planned.
“It was just in the management and the strategy that I chose in terms of when and where to push,” Hamilton explained. “How I was able to implement that was not necessarily what the team initially thought was what we needed to do. It was the execution that was just on point, I think, how I managed early on with Max behind me and then was able to do.
“Of course none of us expected the tyres to go as they did. But I protected them pretty well and I thought that I could at least easily reach my target stop lap, which was quite a bit earlier than where we when we went to.”
However Hamilton believes the amount of tyre management drivers are having to do does not make for good races.
“Right now, we’re [doing] a serious amount of management today. And I don’t think that’s what the fans want. That’s not what a racing driver wants, to have to manage behind a car, multiple seconds behind, because the tyres are not good enough. So we want to help Pirelli, to help them make a better tyre if they can.”
Formula 1’s official tyre supplier is using the same rubber which was raced in 2019 this year after teams unanimously rejected the prototype compounds it developed for 2020. Hamilton, who has criticised Pirelli’s tyres previously, has joined discussions over the ‘target letter’ F1 provides to Pirelli which details how the rubber should perform.
“We really need to put a lot of pressure on Pirelli for the future,” said Hamilton. “They didn’t, unfortunately, do a great job with the tyre at the end of last year to develop the 2020 tyre and so they had to carry over this tyre, the same tyre from 2019 into this season.
“In the past, when they make the target letter, the drivers were not a part of that discussion. That’s why last year I went to the Concorde meeting in Paris as part of representing the drivers. So we want to help them make sure that they set the target letter correctly. This has not being done right for a long time.
“They’re probably not going to be able to do it for next year but for 2022 we need a better tyre. We need a tyre that will give us more grip, better safety – a key matter there – and enables us to drive closer to cars and give you guys and the fans better racing.”
Hamilton, team mate Valtteri Bottas and McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jnr all suffered tyre failures in the closing stages of the British Grand Prix two weeks ago. In response the FIA, which had already agreed one reduction in downforce for next season to ease the strain on tyres, has said further cuts will be made for 2021. Pirelli believes the tyres it developed for 2020 would have better withstood the force it experienced at Silverstone.
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2020 F1 season
- Pictures: Wrecked chassis from Grosjean’s Bahrain fireball crash to go on display
- Bottas vs Rosberg: Hamilton’s Mercedes team mates compared after 78 races each
- F1 revenues fell by $877 million in Covid-struck 2020 season
- Hamilton and Mercedes finally announce new deal for 2021 season
- F1 audience figures “strong” in 2020 despite dip in television viewers