Pirelli’s tyre choice for Portuguese GP wasn’t “too hard”, Hamilton concedes

2021 Portuguese Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton changed his opinion about Pirelli’s choice of tyres for the Portuguese Grand Prix following his victory in Sunday’s race.

Following practice at the circuit on Friday the Mercedes driver said Formula 1’s official tyre supplier had been too conservative with its selection for the race at the Autodromo do Algarve.

“It feels like we’ve come with too hard a compound in my opinion,” he said after the first two practice sessions in Portugal. “I think it should have been mid-range, C3 [and] C4.”

However speaking after his victory in the race, in which he ran the medium and hard tyres, Hamilton said the more different construction Pirelli introduced for 2021 had made for better racing.

“The tyre is slightly different and so there’s a slightly different approach in terms of how you treat the tyres,” he explained. “It’s not a massive difference, people wouldn’t notice otherwise normally.

“But [at] this track there’s not a huge amount of grip. You’ve got the hardest compounds but being that they are the hardest compounds means that they can do the race distance and there’s not a huge amount of wear.

“So you can push every single lap and I think that’s great, because there are races we’ve been in the past where we have to do a lot of lift-and-coasts, slow down to make the tyre go the distance.”

“So I think it was the right tyre for this weekend,” he concluded.

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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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18 comments on “Pirelli’s tyre choice for Portuguese GP wasn’t “too hard”, Hamilton concedes”

  1. Fair assessment.

  2. Finally. Some sense. We all want the drivers to push whenever they need to, and not just when the tyres allow.

    But… If they did that at tracks where on track overtakes are near impossible, it would make for a close but processional race.

  3. the tyre was not too hard but it was nuch harder than Pirelli’s average choice.

  4. Smart? First, Lewis gets his excuse in early, then finds he doesn’t need it after all. Then he spoils it all by re-visiting the excuse…

    1. What I would like to know is if he ever really means it when he gives the inevitable “Tyres are shot” message to his engineer after gaining a position. Is it that you particularly notice the impact of putting all that heat in to them after passing, having previously been so absorbed in passing, or is it about making sure the team know to prioritise him in their strategic thinking or a bit of mild gamesmanship for rivals? The only radio message you’re more likely to hear than that is him telling the team his tyres are fine as they call him in for a stop.

      After all these years with Pirelli, it’s great to hear drivers finally say they can push all race anyway.

      1. Hamilton said his tyres were “pretty much shot” and they stopped him 3 laps later. This had nothing to do with passing other cars since he passed Bottas something like 15 laps before that. Did you only watch the highlights or something?

        And people lamenting the fact that Hamilton often sets a fastest lap just after stating his tyres are shot (and thus just before a pit stop), just think through the dynamics of fastest laps. Lap times are continuously going down with lower fuel loads anyway. Then op top of that he drivers pretty much always push specifically just before a pit stop. Since before a pit stop they try to squeeze out the maximum of performance from what is still remaining in the tyres.

      2. ian dearing
        5th May 2021, 11:30

        As Bono has said before ‘He knows what Hamilton means.’ Possibly in this case ‘I’ll just sort this bit of graining out, then I will be on my way’?
        No different to Max, although his exchanges with his engineer are more amusing.
        Max-Its undrivable, its acting like Ive had a 30 metre lock up, I can’t even see the track.’
        Eng-Well come in then.
        Max sets fastest of session.

  5. Man who wins Grand Prix concludes tyre choice was right

  6. Sky spent every session of the weekend insisting the tires were too hard because they weren’t suffering enough wear. Croft & Di Resta were both insisted tires need more “Thermal sensitivity & degredation” & also continued to push for a 2nd mandatory pit stop.

    Brundle agreed with more degredation & now seems to be firmly entrenched in the view F1 ‘Needs’ reverse grid races. I can’t see Brundle pushing that sort of view before he joined Sky, It’s actually quite sad how much he has started to tow the corporate line & fall into whatever view Sky want to push rather than been the voice of reason he often used to be when such gimmicks were brought up.

    1. @Roger Ayles
      …… including deifying Lewis to push up the ratings

    2. @roger-ayles Not sure if you really considered this, but Brundle is now a spectator, not a driver anymore.
      And not just any spectator, but one who has to sit there for 2 hours describing it to millions of people, trying to make boring processions sound exciting. And this, after 7 previous years full of other boring processions.
      He’d just prefer that they actually be more unpredictable and exciting… Would that be so bad?

      1. I’ve never understood the term boring procession. F1 cars are amazing. Sure positions might not change in a race here or there but I could never consider F1 cars boring.

    3. Neil (@neilosjames)
      5th May 2021, 17:22

      @roger-ayles I’ve noticed the same, but I don’t think they ever sound convincing. They deliver their own natural lines in a totally different way… when they’re peddling whatever they’ve been fed by Liberty, via their bosses at Sky, they sound a bit like a children’s entertainer faking excitement and enthusiasm for a balloon animal.

  7. So the tires are crap, but at least they are crappy for the full distance?

  8. They played the message I was referring to on lap 22, checking the replay, some 15 laps before the stop. It feels like misinformation, which could easily be tactical, but I wonder if it can ever confuse the Mercedes pit wall.

  9. This guy being hindrance to racing with his excuses ..I hope Red Bull literally demolish him on the track..and give valteri some more attention, everyone has the same tires get on with it…stop begging

    Reply moderated
  10. Seems to me ‘pushing every single lap’ in his and therefore of course the other drivers’ case was doable with little wear, as he says without having to lift and coast and preserve, but that doesn’t mean they were lapping as fast as they could have with softer tires that would have also worn less there than at other tracks, and perhaps also would have not needed lifting and coasting and preservation. A notch down on softness might have provided more grip, drivers enjoying the experience more, therefore more action with drivers more confident, and still had the tires quite durable, imho of course.

  11. Racing drivers, when you finish first, the tyres are good, car was amazing, wather was fine, booing on the podium is ok, etc.

    But ask Verstappen, and tires were crap, wind was troubling, car was unstable, etc.

    Tires were to hard, medium was good for nearly entire race, and then they went on hards.

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