Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monaco, 2017

Hamilton seeking answers to ultra-soft tyre problems

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton is trying to get to the bottom of the problems he experienced on the ultra-soft tyres in Monaco last weekend with the same compounds due to return in Canada next week.

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I still remember the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix. Granted Alonso had several problems on and off track, but no one thought it would be enough for a Super Aguri to beat a McLaren.

Sato was also on a strong form then. He picked off two or three cars before Alonso with good clean aggressive passes if I remember right. And that move on Alonso was not a highway-pass like the DRS passes of today, it was completed under braking (and not by top speed), partly helped by an extra-cautious Alonso.

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  • 37 comments on “Hamilton seeking answers to ultra-soft tyre problems”

    1. As far as I can see there’s no team order dispute at Ferrari. There is only the media doing the usual job of trying to stir up what doesn’t exist. It never entered my mind that Ferrari favoured one driver during the race, but I understand over on sky, David Croft did his usual job of delivering sensationalist commentary, and many others online and throughout the media have done the same.

      What can be said, is I don’t know which three manoeuvres Force India think were successful, because F1’s YouTube channel now posts on board footage after every race. I didn’t see it in the live feed, but Perez ran into the back of another car at the hairpin on lap one, and broke his front wing then too. So if all is to be believed, two of his four manoeuvres involved a collision.

      1. Sundar Srinivas Harish
        1st June 2017, 2:07

        He had it in for the Torro Rossos :)

      2. @strontium – And the move on Vandoorne was successful for Perez, but I’m not sure Vandoorne feels the same way since it ended in a collision with the armco for him. Wonder what would have happened if Vandoorne had continued into the corner instead. Likely the same as Kvyat I would guess.

        1. Good point indeed @bullmello about that move on Vandoorne and how it ended his race. I really got the impression that Perez was doing the same thing he did at times during his McLaren season – overdriving it, pushing thins too hard etc, after he had to make that early stop to get the broken FW replaced, the one he had broken running into the back of Sainz I think @strontium

        2. @bullmello @strontium @bascb I think you guys are stretching it a bit on Perez. Did he made a couple of mistakes during the racing? Yes definitely, and spoiled his race as well. On the Vandoorne crash that is entirely to him, Perez did a clean pass. Reckless is a bit too much, the guy was on the longest point scoring strike, surely he is far from reckless.

          It was a tough race for the FI guys, and Perez was hungry, he said it afterwards, he didn’t care for longest run within the points, he was only thinking about maximising the result. I didn’t had the feeling that we was overdriving or anything like that, if I were to point a finger at him for something, is that he was over-confident, he has had a great start of the season, allied to his recent results at Monaco he might have thought that he could make all those passes.

          I for once liked his attitude, we all know what seat he wants, and he has to work for it, had everything turned out as he wished, we would be praising his performance, it didn’t happen, and Monaco is ruthless in that respect, it’s hero or zero over there. Had it been in any other circuit, the history would be quite different

          It is also better for us if drivers have this sort of attitude instead of relying on the strategy, granted Perez was forced into it, but still…

          1. I get what you are saying there @johnmilk. And he does certainly not to be reckless in general. But if you just look at the radio messages they did broadcast, I think that he certainly was overeager to make up for the incident at the start and overdid it this race.

      3. @strontium I think you’re right, and I think the behaviour of the press namely the British press is partly behind Ferrari’s decision to control their press appearances more tightly. The Italian press puts a lot of pressure and is often crudely critical of the team, some in the British press are bias. I think it’s wise not to speak too much or try to defend yourself as often it makes you look guilty of something that never was, to fight against the media would lead to a K.O. defeat, as we’ve seen in world politics right now, you can’t even suggest the media are wrong, they’ll intensify their attention on the subject ten fold.

      4. “It never entered your mind that Ferrari favoured one driver during the race”?
        LMAO! They have done so TONS of times!
        And tell me, did Mercedes favoured Ham over Bottas in Barcelona?

        1. @liko41 I know they’ve done it plenty in the past, but it seemed apparent to me that this was not one of those occasions. Vettel was simply faster and the strategy allowed him to exploit that, but the alternative would’ve been to risk Bottas or Ricciardo catching Ferrari if Kimi stayed out and drove slowly.

          In Barcelona it seems Mercedes gave Hamilton a preferable strategy because Bottas was too slow (regardless of whether that was caused by damage, an old engine, or a simple lack of pace), which is what you’d expect when Hamilton was fighting for the win. I don’t see how that’s relevant though.

    2. “I also have a note about the possible departure of Petronas as a sponsor, because of the political troubles in the country, but I was firmly told no by the folks at Mercedes Benz”

      This doesn’t surprise me at all. Petronas is often, if not always, treated as the Malaysian Government’s piggy bank. So much so that the previous CEO resigned/forced out due to financial disputes with the Government. The current CEO isn’t much of a fan either, going as far as saying that the ever increasing annual royalty payments was stifling the growth of the company.

      With the current dire economy in Malaysia, coupled with the ever volatile oil market, the burden on Petronas’ coffers will be higher. Spending 30 to 40 million a year may be one logical cost reduction. Considering that Sepang is off the calendar starting next year, a total cull of their F1 program will yield significant savings.

      If this does come to pass, it could prove to be the turning point for Mercedes. The effect of Petronas’ fuel and lubricants on the Merc engine’s performance is no secret. So it will be very interesting. Further to this, as some people at Mclaren would attest to, finding a title sponsor in F1 these days, isn’t exactly an easy proposition, even for a defending world champion.

      1. @jaymenon10 Other oil suppliers will be falling over themselves to get the contract. Saying Petronas’ oil is the secret ingredient to Merc’s extra power is just marketing bumpf.

        I’m certain the next oil supplier will magically produce a ‘secret ingredient’ to match that of Petronas.

        1. OK mate.

      2. Mercedes have enough money not to need a title sponsor.

    3. Still this media saga on team orders continues.. Unbelievable?.!

      And second, Perez overtakes and crashes a bit at Monaco. Nobody dare write a penalty for that. If we had 19 more drivers like that, there would be more entertainment around Monaco.

      1. @jureo be prepared, it will be all season long now. be extra prepared if Vettel wins the championship and the difference to second is smaller than the points that he gained at Monaco by winning the race.

      2. 19 more drivers like that results in a one round monaco. After that all cars are crashed.

    4. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      1st June 2017, 8:59

      I notice Lewis alternates between the white and yellow and all yellow helmet designs quite frequently. Are the rule enforcers just not noticing, or is there a bit of a loophole that lets drivers change the helmet design once but doesn’t specify how many times they can use that one change of design.

      Not that I particularly care, they should be able to do what the my want with their own designs, especially now with the bigger driver numbers etc. Just a casual observation.

      1. Sainz is doing the same. He had one-off special helmet for Spanish GP, but continued using it in Monaco. Helmet change rule is beyond the levels of idiocy, but a rule is a rule and it shouldn’t be forgotten as long as it exists in the rulebook.

      2. Fukobayashi (@)
        1st June 2017, 9:26

        I thought I was imagining this. The yellow looks so much better.

      3. The rules revolves around the design, that hasn’t changed so no rule has been broken. Also you get one joker a season to change design.

        1. I wonder if perhaps they should lighten up on the helmet design rule now that the car numbers are more visible.

    5. Out of all such QAs, Sainz’s one is quite nice. Maybe I feel that for his last answer:

      Q: What should everyone try once in their lifetime?
      CS: Driving a Formula One car. That is a sensation that I would want my….

      A huge part of being a fanatic is about the sheer excellence of tech & performance of these cars. If someone like Jeff Gordon says things like this, no wonder it fuels the imagination of us normal folks.

      “An F1 car is the ultimate. I had just a very short experience driving an F1 car one day at Indianapolis and it was the most incredible experience I ever had in my life….”

      1. Yeah I watched that on TV. It was on Speed channel from the US and it was a segment called Trading Paint…probably on You Tube now that I think of it. It was when F1 was in the US for the race and Gordon ran Montoya’s Williams while Montoya tried out JG’s NASCAR Chevy. A great segment.

    6. Fukobayashi (@)
      1st June 2017, 9:28

      Hamilton has shot himself in the foot this year by electing not to do his tyre homework on the 2017 mule cars last year like Vettel did and is really letting down his supporters in the process.

      Probably the first time I will say his lifestyle has got in the way of his performance, he should have done that test.

      1. @offdutyrockstar I agree, what did he have to lose by doing it. He said it would have been of no benefit – how did he know unless he did it. Ferrari thought it important enough to have both Kimi and Seb in. Merc went with Pascal and Nico – both not driving a Merc this year.

        1. I don’t think you can blame LH’s absence from a blind mule tire test last year, to his woes in the last race or this season or those of Merc’s. I would far moreso believe it is similar to what Horner is saying in that the tires aren’t quite what they expected. I think if anything that is a product of Pirelli having to go conservative (read hard) due to not having an actual 2017 car to do the bulk of the initial work they needed. Ferrari have just happened to come closer to ideal for these tires than the others. Testing for next year can commence at any time on actual new chapter cars, so I’m sure the tires will be better for all next year. For this year they’ll be running the softest tires possible much of the time I would expect, as they have proved durable if nothing else.

          1. The most important part of the blind test was the communication the drivers had with Pirelli engineers.

            Vettel has the most face time with them and even though he was blind to the compounds, his feedback and comments could steer the engineering choices.

            Hamilton’s not a great communicator – Vettel is.

            These tires are essentially Vettel tires, he played the game better than everyone else.

          2. Finally we agree on something. Also what people are forgetting as Lewis pointed out, the test was pointless because the downforce the mule cars gave, wasn’t even close to what they’re producing now.

            Also, no one knew what tyres they were testing & Pirelli hadn’t signed off on the final compound until long after those test were done.

            Simple fact is, Ferrari built a car that enables them to operate the tyres in a bigger window compared to the competition. Lewis isn’t the only one who has struggled with tyres. But I guess they’re just swallowing the story James Allen’s article is feeding them without doing their own research.

      2. But then Red Bull said doing the tyre tests hurt them because they designed the car around a certain characteristic of the tyres, and then they turned out differently.

        1. @adrianmorse

          They chose the wrong path in a few areas, tyres one of them.

          1st June 2017, 22:45

          Seriously, if Red Bull is underperfoming, it is never their fault. EVER. Trashing Renault? Done. Trashing Pirelli? Also done. Did we do something wrong? Never, we are perfect.

    7. “What can I say? The guy [Hamilton] competed in a two-car world championship last year and was second, so I don’t think he can say much.”
      – Tony Kanaan.

      1. Even if Lewis is right to to some extent, it was a cheap shot. Unnecessary.
        Tony Kanaan and his witty response :D

        1st June 2017, 22:42

        Yeah, you had to quote that stupid “comment” coming from a guy who obviously have zero ide about last year’s championship in F1. He thinks he’s smart but only proved he’s just as stupid as Hamilton’s comment about IndyCar.

        1. I think this should be taken as tongue in cheek from TK, since it was at the Indy 500 banquet with FA sitting right there.

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