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I miss the tyre war, admits Hamilton

NEWS STORY
29/11/2020

As the drivers and Pirelli continue to trade comments over the proposed compounds for 2021, Lewis Hamilton admits that he craves the days of the tyre wars.

In an astonishing attack on Pirelli and its 2021 tyres following Friday's practice sessions, the world champion admitted disbelief that after all this time the Italian manufacturer is still unable to 'get it right'.

The Briton wasn't alone in his thoughts on the 2021 compounds, with most of his his colleagues claiming the tyres were only good for one lap, if that.

Pirelli responded by saying that the drivers were overreacting and that the tyres would come into their own once used in conjunction with the 2021 cars.

However, the 2021 cars will essentially be the 2020 cars, albeit with a limited number of changes, while Pirelli, rather than sticking with the current tyres - which are themselves the 2019 compounds - has tweaked its range.

For some time drivers and fans alike have called for a return to the days of tyre wars, when the manufacturers - like the teams and engine manufacturers - would push one another in the battle for supremacy.

While this could mean a situation similar to that witnessed during the last 'war', where one make of tyres suited a particular circuit more than its rival, drivers and fans argued that this was a small price to pay.

However, as with all wars, the battle for supremacy means continual development, which means money, the last thing the sport wants at a time it is seeking to reduce spending.

Nonetheless, speaking ahead of a race which once again could be dictated by tyre strategy more than any other single factor, Hamilton admits he years for the days of the tyre war.

Asked if there has been pressure applied to Pirelli since Friday's running, and if he feels the current (2019) tyres should be used again, Hamilton said: "The problem is for me is that I... I mentioned it yesterday... I see all the guys from Pirelli and I really have so much respect for the guys here. I think I've got a good relationship with the majority of them.

"It's difficult for us drivers to say..." he continued, "we try to be constructive, we try to be supportive in the back and nothing changes. And then even when we say something not too positive in the media nothing changes so... I do miss the tyre war that used to happen in Formula 1.

"I think with that it's great," he added. "When you don't have any competition you've got no one to base yourself on. Just imagine us as a team or for Max and his team and none of us were here, they wouldn't develop as they do now because they're chasing and competing against other people.

"Formula 1 needs to do something different in the future and that's something we need to do."

"There's not much more to add," agreed teammate, Valtteri Bottas. "Obviously our understanding with the new tyres, the main difference was in terms of reliability. So they got a lot heavier, like just because there's more material to try and prevent any punctures or failures that we had, which is an important thing, but then on the other hand, the performance was not quite there, as expected.

"So quite a bit slower and not that nice feeling to drive," he admitted. "I wasn't a big fan of those tyres, personally, but obviously... I don't know who decides in the end what tyres we're going to be using next year but we'll see."

"I think it's important that we discuss these things," said Max Verstappen, "I think that's the most important... we just have to talk to Pirelli and I hope they also listen a bit to the drivers.

"We anyway are cutting the downforce with the floor, right," he continued, "so I think naturally the pressure on the tyres will be a bit less.

"I mean with the pressure we run in the tyres anyway it's almost like a balloon, so I don't think you can go much higher so I don't think we need...

"If they would be faster then yeah, great, amazing," he laughed, "but I don't think they, are and of course the cars are not fully set up for these tyres, but honestly, the difference we had yesterday in practice is not set-up. Like you can adjust a few things but if the tyre is not turning, it's not working, then you can turn the car upside, it's not going to be the same speed.

"I hope we will not use them," he admitted, "but let's see. Was that an honest answer?"

"Can I just say that the tyre that we do have right now it's been a really good tyre, it really has," added Hamilton. "It's been the best tyre that Pirelli has given us apart from that hyper or ultra or whatever it was, the hypersoft, which was a good compound for one lap, it was pretty awesome.

"I'm personally happy to continue with the tyre that we have. Of course we would want more grip moving forwards but that's definitely not what we've been given so far."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Bahrain, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by ZJAY, 29/11/2020 18:53

"Me too. It was much more fun to watch. Obligatory two pits stops per race. Two compounds per team per race. "

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