Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Valencia, 2011

Hamilton hopes “massive tyre degradation” means more pit stops

2011 F1 testingPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Valencia, 2011
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Valencia, 2011

Lewis Hamilton expects more pit stops during races in 2011 after driving on Pirelli tyres for the first time.

Speaking after driving last year’s McLaren at Valencia today he said:

The programme today was really to understand the tyres. Clearly, we’re in the old car, but with low downforce, really just to get an idea of how the tyres behave and how you can look after them and make them work over a period of time.

It was quite easy to get into but they’re not easy to drive. They fall off quite quick and over a long run it’s interesting.

We learned a lot about the tyres, and good set-up changes which have helped make the tyres last longer and overall it’s positive. Jenson, tomorrow, will do another programme which should improve our understanding even more.

I think now it looks like there’s quite big differences between each compound. Or so it seems.

Obviously last year we had one pit stop and now the degradation is massive on these tyres. It might be for some people they have to do two or three pit stops, for example.

Which I think is quite good. I didn’t actually like doing one pit stop last year, I think it wasn’t as exciting as it has been in the past when we did two pit stops or three pit stops.

So I’m hoping that we have to do a more this year, it adds a little bit more excitement to it.
Lewis Hamilton

He said he wasn’t concerned about not having the new McLaren to drive in the first test of the year:

It was quite nice, I quite liked it!

Every year since I’ve been in Formula 1, I think, we’ve always had our car out at the first test. It’s always been the new car, we’ve pushed very hard to have it at the first test and we’re generally always one of the first to launch our car.

I quite like the fact that we’ve done it differently this year, everyone else has pretty much launched their car and we haven’t. It’ll be interesting next week and hopefully it does come out and do the business.
Lewis Hamilton

Although he didn’t have an adjustable rear wing or KERS in his car today, he has already been trying the new systems in the simulator:

In the simulator it feels quite cool. It’s quite easy to use.

When we had KERS it was quite a lot to think about and do during the lap because they segment it, you have one hundred percent and they’d say “out of turn two use 20 percent and out of turn six use 45 percent”. They’d break that up into four or five times so during the lap you’re always having to look at the dashboard. You really have to focus extra-hard.

Now we have that and the rear wing. But for us we’ve figured out a way which works quite well.
Lewis Hamilton

Jenson Button takes over in the McLaren for the final day of the test tomorrow.

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