Hamilton did not have a puncture at Suzuka

2011 Japanese Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Suzuka, 2011

No puncture for Hamilton in Japan

Lewis Hamilton’s abrupt loss of pace at the end of his first stint in Suzuka was not down to a puncture, as previously suspected.

A Pirelli spokesperson confirmed to F1 Fanatic the McLaren driver did not suffer a puncture.

Hamilton was running in second place when he began losing time on lap six.

On lap eight he ran wide at Spoon curve and was passed by Jenson Button and was caught by Fernando Alonso by the end of the lap, when he pitted.

Speaking to the BBC in Korea Hamilton said: “My tyres had degraded quite a lot and I backed off which lost me a huge amount of time. It turns out the we didn’t have a puncture it was just heavy, heavy degrading.”

Update: McLaren have supplied more information on Hamilton’s tyre degradation, read this comment for more.

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126 comments on Hamilton did not have a puncture at Suzuka

  1. Ivan Vinitskyy (@ivan-vinitskyy) said on 13th October 2011, 13:27

    How is this possible?

    • TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 13th October 2011, 13:28

      When it’s Hamilton anything is possible.

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 13th October 2011, 13:53

      @ivan-vinitskyy @tommyb89 Massa took a band-saw to it.

    • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 13th October 2011, 14:35

      I suspect it could be because Hamilton is generally more aggressive on tyres, compared to Button. But it was strange to suddenly degrade like that.. he did say that he backed off but why.. …

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 13th October 2011, 16:23

        Well he did put a lot of heat through those tyres, as he used them for a fast lap in Q2 and for his lap in Q3, so it might just be those 3 extra laps of heat were too much for the tyres he started on heavy fuel on to last much distance.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 13th October 2011, 17:07

          @bascb Hamilton did four runs in qualifying, one in Q1 (on mediums), one in Q2 (on softs) and two in Q3 (both softs).

          He did not set a time on in his second run in Q3 so you are correct when you say he would have started the race on the tyres he did his first run in Q3 on.

          According to Pirelli, in the race he ran used soft tyres for the first three stints followed by a set of new mediums for his final stint. This matches the strategies of Button, both Red Bulls and both Ferraris.

          Given that, Hamilton must have had on new sets of soft tyres for his run in Q2 and both his runs in Q3. In other words, if he had been using the same soft tyres at the start of Q3 that he had in Q2, then he would only have used two sets of softs, not three.

          So I don’t believe the tyres he started the race on were necessarily any older than those the other front runners were using. Unless I’m overlooking something, which is a possibility with these tyre rules!

          • sebsronnie (@sebsronnie) said on 13th October 2011, 17:43

            Spot on! No wonder he was so dejected afterwards – he knew the lack of pace was solely down to him. And allow me to withdraw my statement questioning why you hadn’t mentioned the puncture in the race review…

          • Enigma (@enigma) said on 13th October 2011, 17:52

            @keithcollantine Good thinking. I wonder how much advantage you would have for only using two sets in qualy – and having a brand new one for the race. Any guestimates?

            Also, your comment should be COTD. Or are you not allowed to get one? :)

          • McLarenFanJamm (@mclarenfanjamm) said on 13th October 2011, 18:08

            @Keith what about the tyres they used during the free practice sessions? Do they get extra tyres specifically for FP or is that just when Pirelli are testing new compounds?

            From what you’ve said it would make sense that he used brand new tyres for each qualifying run, unless he had used an extra set of softs in FP for whatever reason.

            If he wasn’t on older tyres than the others then I would be very worried because his tyre degredation seems to be getting worse as the season is progressing. And if I remember rightly, there was speculation mid-season that Pirelli had been changing their compounds to make them harder and therefore last longer.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 13th October 2011, 18:21

            @McLarenFanJamm Drivers begin Saturday practice with four sets of each type of dry-weather tyre. They have to hand back one set of each before qualifying.

            It would be extremely unusual for a driver to use more than one set of soft tyres in practice. I expect a the footage from the session will show Hamilton only used one set, which would then have been handed back, leaving him with three.

            Pirelli did introduce harder versions of their ‘medium’ and ‘hard’ tyres earlier this year, but not the soft tyres.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 13th October 2011, 18:15

            @enigma

            I wonder how much advantage you would have for only using two sets in qualy – and having a brand new one for the race. Any guestimates?

            The best case study for this in the last race would be Michael Schumacher, who did his third stint on new soft tyres. He was the highest-placed driver in the race to use a set of new softs.

            He put them on when the safety car came out and kept them on for 17 laps, jumping ahead of Massa (who was held up by Rosberg) in the process.

            It’s likely he could have stayed out longer. When Hamilton passed Rosberg, Rosberg headed for the pits. Therefore Mercedes had to bring Schumacher in too because he already had a gap over Massa – staying out longer would run the risk of coming out behind Massa again.

            Looking at Schumacher’s lap times, he hadn’t reached “the cliff” yet and probably could have gone on longer had it not been tactically advantageous to do otherwise.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 13th October 2011, 18:22

            @sebsronnie No problem!

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 13th October 2011, 20:05

            I thought he had used that first set used in Q3 for Q2 as well, thanks for clearing that up @keithcollatine as its always a lot better to go from confirmed info then assumptions :-)

            That means Hamilton really somehow set up his car to really eat into his tyres even more than Vettel!
            Also interesting to see how that Schu comparison holds up, seems the qualifying really takes quite a lot of life out of the tyres.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 13th October 2011, 20:06

            hm, typing too fast for my own good, it seems I missed the n in your name @keithcollantine ! sorry.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 13th October 2011, 20:48

            @keithcollantine

            They have to hand back one set of each before qualifying

            Why aren’t they just given 3 sets instead?

          • DeadManWoking (@deadmanwoking) said on 13th October 2011, 20:54

            They are given 4 sets of each before FP3 and have to hand back 1 set of each after FP3 and before qualifying.

          • Mike (@mike) said on 13th October 2011, 23:59

            @matt90 Then they wouldn’t have enough sets to use for the practice sessions I think.

            Only the FIA could think up rules like this! :D

  2. The car wasn’t pusing out at one corner under braking. I thought it was a pretty easy observation to say the tyres had just completely fallen off the metaphorical cliff.

  3. Elliot Horwood (@elliothorwoodf1) said on 13th October 2011, 13:30

    Lewis Hamilton has had the worst luck ever this season! it is unbelieveable! :\

    • sumedh said on 13th October 2011, 13:40

      How is this worst luck?

      A puncture would have been worst luck. Tyres going off is just down to Hamilton’s driving style.

      • JCost (@jcost) said on 13th October 2011, 13:50

        Older tyres. He started the race with the set of tyres of his best lap time, i.e., his first stint in Q3.

        • Ivan Vinitskyy (@ivan-vinitskyy) said on 13th October 2011, 13:57

          and about 7 other drivers started the race on the tires they qualified with. Did he do a hot lap in Q2 with those tires?

        • vjanik said on 13th October 2011, 14:13

          still. how is that luck?

          failing to do a flying lap in Q3 is not down to luck. there is plenty of time.

          • Elliot Horwood (@elliothorwoodf1) said on 13th October 2011, 14:50

            everything this season has been bad luck for Hamilton, Compared to other driver Hamilton has had the worst Season with Luck and general racing

          • HxCas (@hxcas) said on 13th October 2011, 17:11

            I think you are confusing bad luck with bad judgement. Hamilton has had zero DNF’s from circumstances out of his control, and Button has had 2. That’s 100% of terminal mechanical problems for his team-mate. Seems pretty lucky in that respect to me

        • Mr draw said on 13th October 2011, 21:18

          Please, please. This myth is debunked several times in this article alone.

    • McLarenFanJamm (@mclarenfanjamm) said on 13th October 2011, 18:09

      I don’t think you can blame his whole season on bad luck alone. You make your own luck, in my experience.

    • halifaxf1fan (@halifaxf1fan) said on 13th October 2011, 20:42

      Hamilton has always been harder on his tires than average ever since his starting in F1. Look at China 2007 for a prime example. There was excessive tire wear on Hamilton’s car where he ended up going off in the gravel. His teammate Alonso had no issues at all with his tires in that race.

      Hamilton’s tire wear issue has nothing to do with luck. It is just the result of the way he sets up and drives the car.

      • Mr draw said on 13th October 2011, 21:15

        Alonso didn’t have tyre problems because he preferred not to use rain tyres on a dry(ing) track, so he pitted earlier. Why McLaren didn’t pull in Hamilton earlier is one of the greatest mysteries in F1 history.

        • halifaxf1fan (@halifaxf1fan) said on 13th October 2011, 23:48

          Actually Alonso came into the pits on lap 32 one lap after Hamilton got stuck in the gravel. Both drivers had come into the pits earlier in the race but had opted to stay on their hot intermediates until the second round of stops.

          More rain was expected and McLaren wanted to be sure of the rain before bringing Hamilton in. Then, on his worn tires, Hamilton misjudged the pit entrance and found the gravel trap.

          Hamilton could have won the wdc that day if his driving style was easier on tires. McLaren’s call on pit strategy that day worked fine for Alonso but was the wrong one for Hamilton.

          • Mike (@mike) said on 14th October 2011, 0:02

            I think you are underestimating how easy to is to go off on a wet track. It could have very easily been Alonso in that gravel trap.

          • Mr draw said on 14th October 2011, 10:34

            Ok, I read back the race report. Hamilton was harder on the tyres and he stopped earlier, so that’s why his intermediates were ruined. When he started losing seconds a lap, I would have pulled him in immediately. He was well ahead of Alonso and the championship standings prescribed him not to take any risks.

          • halifaxf1fan (@halifaxf1fan) said on 15th October 2011, 2:21

            @Mr draw. You are right! Not taking any risks would have been the right play but Ron wanted Hamilton to win the wdc that day in China and to do that Hamilton had to finish the race ahead of Alonso. This made getting Lewis on the right tires for the rest of the race imperative so he hesitated to be sure of the rain. (It is also why Ronny made his infamous comment, “We weren’t racing Kimi, we were basically racing Fernando.”) But Lewis had completely used up the usually super durable inters and the delayed call to pit became a very high risk strategy.

  4. Tyson Evans (@bobtehblob) said on 13th October 2011, 13:32

    All it was, was him being to hard on the tyres. Nothing else.

    • Agreed, though I don’t like the fact that this is having such a negative effect on some of the drivers. You can see that both Alonso and Hamilton are very fast drivers, but their style of driving has been hugely impacted by the fact that they are not managing their tyres as well as Vettel and Button.

      Although I am a fan of strategy don’t get me wrong, but I preferred it in the day when you used re-fueling as your strategy. This left a lot of guesswork and didn’t discourage drivers from “racing”.

      I’ve found that recently when we are in those stints where teams are having to manage tyres and fuel levels in the race it becomes a bit dull. Also the tyre choices which Pirreli have used are very aggressive it becomes too much about strategy, and not enough racing.

      I don’t know if anyone agrees with this?

      • John H (@john-h) said on 13th October 2011, 14:04

        I do.

        • John H (@john-h) said on 13th October 2011, 14:10

          Ah sorry, I must have glossed over your bit in support of re-fueling. Other than that I agree with your sentiments about F1 being too dependent on tyre conservation this year, albeit only at certain tracks it has to be said.

          It certainly rewards the smoother drivers and not those that throw the car around the track aggressively.

          How many cars have actually crashed out due to driver error this year after pushing that little bit too hard – for example look at Japan? Is it because drivers have to play the long-game too much perhaps?

          • I haven’t noticed Alonso having much problem with it. The only problem I thought he’s had this year is his car is useless!

          • That is the same as myself, I am a webber and hamilton fan too. I just really hope moving into next years season that Pirreli are better with their tyre choices for some of the circuits!

      • AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 13th October 2011, 14:21

        I also don’t like the negative effect tyres are having on some drivers, but that’s especially true this year as I support Webber and Hamilton; if I supported Button and Vettel, I would mind less, I suppose.

        Of course, in previous years there were also some drivers that struggled with the Bridgestone tyres. Remember Button’s tyre-warming woes in the second part of 2009? I don’t think he would have outperformed Hamilton if they had been team mates then…

      • Totally agree with the above.

        I’m admittedly not a fan of the way tires dictate the race weekends now in F1. There, I said it. I feel better already.

      • David BR (@david-br) said on 13th October 2011, 22:24

        Yes, entirely.

        But the fact is Hamilton was ‘managing his tyres’ (yaaawwnnn!) fine at the start of the season. The issue seems to be poor setup more than anything else, which presumably has more to do with his own lack of form and confidence.

    • SupaSix-1 said on 13th October 2011, 14:12

      It seems like many are forgetting that Lewis started the race on old soft tyres due to the qualifying debacle.

      As we know Lewis didnt set a time in his 2nd run in Q3 – as a result he had to start the race on the old set of softs which he had set his 1st hot lap time with (they were scrubbed set of softs). For the rest, they had set their fastest times on a brand new set of softs.

      This meant the tyres Lewis started the race on were a few laps older then his rivals.

      This is why his tyres degraded quicker compared to the others.

      And then when he came in for his 1st stop..mclaren adjusted the front wing angle to the point where it ruined his 2nd stint on fresh tyres and as a result his 3rd stint was also compromised as he had to come in a couple of laps earier then the rest.

      • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 13th October 2011, 18:47

        The front wing angle change problem was put down to McLaren having not realised Hamilton had a puncture. Now we know that he didn’t have a puncture so the front wing adjustment can’t be blamed on bad luck after all, but a bad decision between Hamilton and his engineers.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 13th October 2011, 19:02

        As explained above, I’m not convinced his tyres were older than the others’:

        http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2011/10/13/hamilton-puncture-suzuka/comment-page-1/#comment-860318

      • Becken Lima (@becken-lima) said on 14th October 2011, 4:20

        @SupaSix-1 Yeah, you’re right. At least thats exactly what Mark Hughes explain in his race report in this week’s Autosport magazine:

        “…Things had gone rather less well for Lewis Hamilton. A conspiracy of circumstances meant he didn’t cross the line in time to begin a second Q3 lap, his first attempt on used tyres – fastest of all at the time, 0.1s faster than Button’s first run – standing as third fastest…”

        ……….

        “…Lewis was pushing harder than Button at this stage and you wondered about the wisdom of that, especially as he was on tyres that were already four laps older because of the circumstances of his qualifying the day before…”

        - Mark Hughes in Autosport

  5. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 13th October 2011, 13:34

    Out of the hairpin, we were onboard with Jenson as we saw Lewis struggle massively with the back of the car on the flat-out curvature towards Spoon, before running wide in Spoon itself. So I thought he had a puncture even before they mentioned it.

    If it was just degradation, then he stayed out (was left out, if you will) too long, and not for the first time (China 2007, anyone?). Still, it’s surprising that his tyres could go from slightly degrading to completely undriveable in about 2 laps.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 13th October 2011, 13:37

      @adrianmorse

      Looking at Hamilton’s lap times from the stint you can see his times going off from around lap six:

      http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2011/10/10/2011-japanese-grand-prix-mclaren/

      He was slower again on lap seven and halfway around lap eight it looks like he “fell off the cliff”.

      • AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 13th October 2011, 14:15

        Thanks, I had to do some digging to find the article, only to find it was in a reply to my message :)

        I think what’s very interesting about this graph is that it clearly demonstrates the differences in driving style between Hamilton and Button (minus means Hamilton is faster):

        Lap 1: -1.1s
        Lap 2: -0.98s
        Lap 3: -0.48s
        Lap 4: -0.28s
        Lap 5: -0.09s
        Lap 6: +0.83s
        Lap 7: +1.24s
        Lap 8: +4.8s (Button overtakes)

        I think these differences have nothing to do with Button’s smoothness, but more with the fact that Button has the patience to pace himself at the beginning of stints, whereas Hamilton immediately starts putting in quick laps.

      • Fixy (@fixy) said on 13th October 2011, 16:13

        Now we know why drivers change tyres. Massive degradation.

      • jw393 (@) said on 13th October 2011, 17:40

        I think people can read too much in to the whole hard on ones tyres thing. I do think Lewis can do THAT much to ruin them, overlays have shown that late breaking is so marginal to wear, and spinning up the tyres isn’t something Hamilton particularly does. So maybe he is a lap more unkind on them, but also mayBe he’s too timid when they start to go off, and other drivers such as button and alonso are less scared of the cliff because they read them better?

        Just a thought, no forced opinion

        • jw393 (@) said on 13th October 2011, 17:41

          I think people can read too much in to the whole hard on ones tyres thing. I don’t think Lewis can do THAT much to ruin them, overlays have shown that late breaking is so marginal to wear, and spinning up the tyres isn’t something Hamilton particularly does. So maybe he is a lap more unkind on them, but also mayBe he’s too timid when they start to go off, and other drivers such as button and alonso are less scared of the cliff because they read them better?

          Just a thought, no forced opinion

        • jw393 (@) said on 13th October 2011, 17:42

          Sorry, iPad having a mare. That was meant to be “don’t think he can do that much……”

    • McLarenFanJamm (@mclarenfanjamm) said on 13th October 2011, 18:10

      China 2007 was down to his own decision not to come in for tyres, if I remember correctly.

  6. tombong (@tombong) said on 13th October 2011, 13:35

    His driving style resulting the tyres degrading heavily just as bad as having a puncture

  7. matt90 (@matt90) said on 13th October 2011, 13:35

    Weird. I thought it was a puncture when I first saw him struggling, and I was surprised it took so long for the commentators to cotton on, but turns out they were right after all.

  8. Hatebreeder (@hatebreeder) said on 13th October 2011, 13:43

    thats bad. sad for him. poor guy has to change his aggressive driving style for all this. he probably hates the pirellis.

  9. does anyone else absolutely hate this season’s tyres?

  10. GameR_K (@gamer_k) said on 13th October 2011, 13:48

    Still doesn’t explain the typre pressure drop McLaren team saw in telemetry and called Lewis in? Not to mention the supposed wing change tehy did at the pit stop to counter somethign else.

    • coefficient (@coefficient) said on 13th October 2011, 14:01

      It probably does explain the pressure drop actually. If the tyres fall off the cliff it means there is very little rubber left on the tyre. Therefore there isn’t enough rubber density to keep the heat in the tyre. This then allows the gas in the tyre to shrink thus lowering the tyre pressures. The disparity in pressure from left to right can be explained by the track being half clockwise and half anti clockwise and as the lap was incomplete tyre wear was higher on one side than the other causing a more significant temp/pressure drop on one side.

      • GameR_K (@gamer_k) said on 13th October 2011, 15:02

        Thanks coefficient, reminds me why it was mentioned as a slow puncture

      • That is sensible. But if that is true, then this phenomenon should be observed at the end of every stint, no? It’s not like they have never run the tires off the “cliff” and don’t know what kind of mysterious forces operate in that realm. Do we file this under McLaren operational failure?

        • coefficient (@coefficient) said on 14th October 2011, 13:48

          I don’t think that is necessarily so DaveW. As can be heard from the radio traffic between drivers and their engineers, a blow by blow account of tyre deg is given by the driver to the engineer. This leads one to suspect that anticipating the “cliff” is a skill that has been identified and assimilated by those drivers with the aptitude to do so. As such some drivers can avoid driving beyond the useful life of the tyre. Perhaps Hamilton is one of the drivers that hasn’t quite nailed this process yet. Also, Some drivers like JB just don’t shred their tyres like Lewis so its not even an issue for them.

    • John H (@john-h) said on 13th October 2011, 14:03

      Indeed.

      In another part of the interview Hamilton said that “they [the team] told me I had a puncture”, going on to explain that this was why he was so conservative through 130R.

  11. paulguitar (@paulguitar) said on 13th October 2011, 13:51

    It is so, so depressing that in current F1 you get penalized for going fast. I am amazed that people refer to Hamilton’s driving style as if it is some kind of defect to be quick!

    I am thinking more and more that in 2011 the drivers not capable of showing this kind of pace are benefiting, simply because they can only drive slower by their own limitations, and this in fact helps them.

    I totally accept that it has created some exciting races, but put them all in GP2 cars and I think Hamilton would just waltz off into the distance. So something is a bit wrong here.

    • xtophe (@xtophe) said on 13th October 2011, 14:01

      Not to take anything away from Hamilton, but last year they were driving on bulletproof Bridgestones. Being quick reflects in the timing tables and is relevant to the set conditions drivers are competing in. If we’re going to play down the Pirelli tyres, then China was ‘only’ a win because of the tyres. Still, we saw an exciting race and a smooth overtake for the win. Tyres weren’t an excuse then, they shouldn’t be one now either.

      On the other hand, Vettel was fast last year and he still is this year. Yet his teammate is also struggling with the Pirelli tyres. Being fast at a given time calls for adaptation to the racing environment (be it tyres, areo, KERS, etc.).

    • coefficient (@coefficient) said on 13th October 2011, 14:03

      Perhaps, if he could stop crashing into Massa.

    • vjanik said on 13th October 2011, 14:32

      @paulguitar Whoever crosses the line first is the fastest driver.

      Managing the car (not just tyres but brakes, engine, etc) has always been part of F1 and maybe even more so when cars were actually fragile and most did not finish the race. only recently have have drivers been able to push 100% the whole race because the reliability and performance of the cars improved so much (safety as well). So i would say that Pirelli have not spoiled this but just returned to the days when this was normal.

      • paulguitar (@paulguitar) said on 13th October 2011, 15:15

        @vjanik

        Yes, I take your point, it is just that the purist in me is horrified that to be a slower driver is actually a benefit with the current regulations.

        • Mads (@mads) said on 13th October 2011, 15:39

          No it isn’t!
          Vettel is faster then Webber and therefore he is destroying him. Same story with Alonso and Massa.
          The tyres have nothing to do with how fast you are, but how well you manage the tyres.
          The trick this year, is being quick without wearing your tyres down instantly.
          Hamilton hasn’t been able to do that as well as some of the other drivers. Therefore it is hurting him.

          You can’t blame the tyres, as they are the same for everyone.
          It is the drivers who have the problem if they are unable to make them work.

          • paulguitar (@paulguitar) said on 13th October 2011, 16:39

            Yes, yes, I understand this too, that all the drivers are given the same situation and need to make it work. What I am saying is that it can be a disadvantage to be super-quick.

            An excellent is example is actually from a few years ago in Turkey. Hamilton was much faster than anyone else in turn 8, and as a result of this I believe he had to make an extra pit-stop. My point is that a driver should benefit from speed and talent. To see some of the comments at the time, many people were criticizing him to being ‘too fast’. I wondered then as I wonder now whether F1 is really the ‘right’ sport for someone to follow if they hold it against a driver for being ‘too fast’?

          • HxCas (@hxcas) said on 13th October 2011, 17:22

            The thing is, seeing as he had to make an extra pitstop he clearly WAS going too fast (and therefore added to his overall time). Grand prix’ aren’t sprint events – that’s what qualifying is for. The races have always been about managing the car/tyres as well as strategy and outright pace and taking away such an integral part of a race would cheapen the experience imo.
            My point is that there is more to talent that pure pace – car management and setup is equally as important

          • @paul he has never driven faster, its just the rest take into account when and when not to use that speed. Its about playing the long game.

            i remember turkey, and once at hungry too. I can bet drivers like alonso would take tyre wear into account when setting the car up. Look at fernando at suzuka, average in qualy amazing in the race. been the same story all year with schumi too. thats experience!

            the other guy that has done well is jamie in STR

    • McLarenFanJamm (@mclarenfanjamm) said on 13th October 2011, 18:16

      @paulguitar It’s all part of the sport. I don’t necessarily think it penalises you for being “too fast” but it definitely penalises you for not being smart with your speed.

      Other drivers have adapted to the tyres, others have found the Pirelli’s more suited to their driving style (Button, Vettel, Alonso) and others are struggling to adapt to the different demands they place on the driver (Webber, Hamilton).

      Lewis has the talent, and time, to overcome his current issues and providing McLaren can continue to deliver competetive cars and he does get his head round the tyres I see no reason why he couldn’t win another WDC.

      Basically, don’t write off him or the tyres based on one season.

    • Thecollaroyboys (@thecollaroyboys) said on 14th October 2011, 0:21

      If you want fast go to the drag races, that’s fast! If you want a race “driven” to the conditions with the equipment on hand F1 is it. Fast isn’t as useful as quick and smart.

  12. leotef (@leotef) said on 13th October 2011, 13:55

    Tyre degradation rate may be somewhat dependent on the driver’s style in some degree like in the case of habitually slamming the brake frequently resulting in lock ups and making a lot of skidding or drifting so on.
    But looking at the list of top speed of each driver at speed trap Hamilton is not even in top 5 in terms of speed. Also it doesn’t make much sense assuming his style is critical factor in tyre issues.
    This leads me to a curiosity that even though we assume he had really bad habit of driving which is damaging his tyres far faster than others more or less, still it does not make much sense to say all the blame falls down to Hamilton’s driving style.
    No expertise here but feels like there should be some other explanations or reasons….

    • Mr draw said on 13th October 2011, 21:38

      Low top speed = high cornering speed = high tyre wear. The higher the cornering speed, the higher the downforce pushing the car to the ground and the higher the centrifugal forces which rip apart the tyres. This explains why the front runners usually need more pitstops than the backmarkers. So the car setup does make a difference in tyre wear; probably the same goes for driving style.

  13. What then about the team’s report of a “pressure differential across the rear-axle” or something to that effect?

  14. A friend works with him and know him :D He’s great !!!

  15. hawkii (@hawkii) said on 13th October 2011, 16:01

    An awful lot of people seem to be forgetting how many laps those tyres of Hamilton had done before laying into him. He’d done an extra stint in Q2 on those tyres, pushing them at qualifying pace not once (as those around him had done), but twice. This includes extra in and out laps.

    His tyres seemed to go off about the same time as everyone elses did, he came in only a lap before Vettel. This is a man who’s been extremely good with his tyres all year in a car that treats them well. Given this, then Hamilton actually managed to make his tyres last longer than Vettel had managed. Again, despite his first stop being a lap earlier than Vettel, Vettel had to pit for a second time on lap 19, whereas Hamilton managed to stay out on his second set until lap 21. Both their third set of options lasted for the same length of time.

    Suzuka was a track where tyre wear was ridiculously high, and the cliff was exceptionally steep. As Hamilton’s tyres had so much wear on them already before the race began compared to those around him, he was the first driver to discover on raceday where the cliff was, and just how precarious it was.

    Regardless of any other mistakes he did or didn’t make during the weekend, I don’t think you can use this to try and pour more criticism on Hamilton’s driving style. His tyres were going to go off at that point anyway.

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