Mercedes dismisses talk of Pirelli aid


Due to the tyres overheating on certain tracks, this weekend Pirelli has reduced the tread depth in a bid to solve the issue. The Italian manufacturer will supply similar tyres at Silverstone and Paul Ricard also.

Ahead of the weekend, Pirelli's Mario Isola insisted that the change was "not a change that any of the drivers will notice in terms of performance or stint length".

However, speaking at the start of the weekend, Sebastian Vettel suggested that the change was in reaction to issues suffered by both Mercedes and Red Bull in pre-season testing.

Asked at the post-qualifying press conference if the change was Pirelli "wanting to help Mercedes", Valtteri Bottas replied: "I don't think so, why would they want to help us?"

"That would be nice," interjected teammate Lewis Hamilton. "That was a stupid question really, so I don't really have an answer for it."

Team boss Toto Wolff was even more forthright.

"Is b******s a bad word in English?" said the Austrian. "It is rubbish. All the teams had very heavy blistering in testing, Red Bull, Ferrari and ourselves.

"The tyres wouldn't have lasted in the race," he continued, "and the ambience and track temperature was arctic. For that reason, Pirelli changed the thickness of the tyres to prevent the blistering, and they have been successful because we haven't seen any blistering today.

"I don't know where this rumour has come from that we have been influencing Pirelli and the FIA. I've never seen anything like it. Why would they do it?

"In the past, when we have not performed we have taken ourselves by the nose and looked to find performance on our car," he added. "We didn't have a default mode of asking what are the others doing that was wrong.

"It's very complex to understand, this is a track where we were quick in winter testing, which has been resurfaced and the ambience is cold. So you could say that it suited us. We have had races where we weren't as competitive as we wished so there is an additional set of data we can look at and try to filter what is important and what is not."

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Published: 13/05/2018
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