Hamilton: Soft tyre “not right for this circuit”

2013 Chinese Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Shanghai, 2013Lewis Hamilton says the soft tyre is too aggressive for the Shanghai International Circuit.

The Mercedes driver was among those to complain about the compound during the high-fuel runs in the second practice session.

Speaking after the session Hamilton said: “The soft is hardcore. I don’t know why, it doesn’t feel like the right tyre for this circuit. I mean I did a couple of laps and the tyres just disintegrated. It was quite unusual.”

“But otherwise the track is great fun to drive and hopefully will give us lots of opportunities for overtaking in the race,” he added.

Despite his concerns over the soft tyre Hamilton is positive about the team’s potential this weekend. “I think mine and Nico’s pace was quite competitive today,” he said.

“I think Nico got a lap, I got a bit of traffic with Hulkenberg on my lap but still I think we would have been quite high up today. Later on in the session, ten or fifteen minutes later everyone went a bit quicker.”

“I think we’re there or thereabouts but who knows, tomorrow we’ll find out.”

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58 comments on Hamilton: Soft tyre “not right for this circuit”

  1. Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 12th April 2013, 8:58

    The tyre degradation is getting slightly ridiculous: when it gets to the point that you can’t do a complete lap, you know Pirelli has gone too far. I hope 2 stops are viable by Sunday.

    • Hamilton did 27 laps on a set of mediums, so 2 stops ought to be viable.
      The soft looks pretty gruesome, and I don’t expect too many runners to start on it.

      • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 12th April 2013, 9:49

        @nigel1 true, the medium does look okay but the softs are getting destroyed after 5 laps! Jenson Button’s huge lock-up serves to prove this, and the tyre literally did get destroyed there!

        • Massa seemed OKish on the soft.

          Not an ideal tyre to start the race on, though.

          • Adam86 said on 12th April 2013, 9:53

            Massa was over 1 second per lap slower than previous lap on every lap he did with the softs. Unless it improves, it’s totally useless other than the last 2 laps of the race.

          • ^Mo^ said on 12th April 2013, 9:54

            Makes for an interesting qualifying session then :) Wonder who’ll go for softs, and who’ll go for mediums in Q3.

        • Arrrang (@arrrang) said on 12th April 2013, 11:04

          I sense that we migth finally see a team gamble on a 20 sec penalty for not not using the second compund! Bring it on!:)

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 12th April 2013, 13:56

            @arrrang The penalty for failing to use both dry-weather tyre compounds during a race is exclusion, not a 20-second penalty.

            If the race is suspended and cannot be restarted, drivers who have not used both types of tyres get 30-second penalties. (Sporting Regulations article 25.4f)

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 12th April 2013, 15:09

            The penalty for failing to use both dry-weather tyre compounds during a race is exclusion, not a 20-second penalty.

            I guess that makes it a bit too much of a gamble then :-)

    • manu said on 12th April 2013, 9:58

      Softs dont even finish the lap before they start to slow down, Massa did okay with them but that was towards the end of the Practice session, others were doing long runs when Massa was doing his fastest lap.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 12th April 2013, 13:43

      @Vettel1 Don’t forget the track evolves a lot, as theres probably no racing what so ever apart from the F1 weekend, its dusty and no rubber when they arrive.

      Malaysia also had some people expecting tyres to last only 6-7 laps, and in the race it turned out quite differently. I do agree that it seems folly to force them to start on the softs after having done 1-2 hot laps on them in Q3 though.

      • @bascb – this is true and was mentioned several times in commentary, but I don’t think the qualifying issue will improve drastically. They’ve got one lap on the softs, which is appalling.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 12th April 2013, 14:25

          Yes, it really looks like its a qualifying tyre. A really huge shame they have to start on it, otherwise I would be fine with that, as I think that when its used later in the race, they will still be able to make solid pace on a 6-12 lap stint with them.

  2. Armchair Expert (@armchairexpert) said on 12th April 2013, 9:05

    It’s no wonder as they are essentially driving in China on what was 2011 supersofts and what would be super-supersofts, because with every year Pirelli went 1 step softer with their tyres.

    • @armchairexpert
      In that sense the Current Soft tires are a Step Higher than 2011 Super Softs . Pirelli said the 3 Stops for all the races is their Target but Teams Running out of tires due to the High Softness. If Tires in 2012 Season 1st Part is Funny then this Year is Ridiculous and Almost Crap. Soft tires lasted on average 55 Km(~10 Laps) in Chinese GP 2012.

      • Joe Papp (@joepa) said on 12th April 2013, 22:00

        @harsha I love the new-spec Pirelli tires and think they’ve done a fantastic job, making for what will be some of the best F1 racing in the modern era! Paul Hembery and his team should be commended for rescuing F1 from the agony of processional racing!

  3. Adam86 said on 12th April 2013, 9:07

    We’ve now got a qualifying tyre which is so awful over more than 1 lap that you can’t justify using it for qualifying. Just ends up becoming a nonsense.

    • petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 12th April 2013, 9:52

      If they removed the need to use both tyres and start ont the tyre you qualified on, it’d actually be pretty much as it should be! A qualifying tyre that only allows for one quick lap so you have to get it right first time and a decent race tyre. Shame….

      • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 12th April 2013, 10:51

        But if they’re dying as quickly as they seem to be, drivers aren’t even managing their out-lap before they start to go off, which again removes the point of a qualifying tyre, unless they spend the out-lap tip-toeing up to a last corner blast!

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 12th April 2013, 13:46

          That’s not true @optimaximal. With most drivers we saw them going off by the end of their quick lap – that is after 5 sectors done on them. But Alonso already tried to spare them a bit more and was quick in Q3 of his fast lap.

          I am pretty sure that we will see these guys finding the optimum and come Qualifying they will use them close to perfectly to get great times. As for starting on them, I guess we both agree with what Pete writes.

  4. John H (@john-h) said on 12th April 2013, 9:24

    Qualifying 11th is the target then. Utterly ridiculous.

    • “Qualifying 11th is the target then”

      Why would you say that ?
      There is no obligation to run in Q3, so at the very least, qualifying 10th would seem more sensible.
      Also, there’s no obligation to run on the soft in Q3, so why not run on the medium ?

      I agree that the soft seems unsuited to this track, though.

      However, it ought still to make for an interesting race, as we should see some running a three stop sprint strategy, while others look to make the mediums last around 25 laps.

    • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 12th April 2013, 9:48

      @john-h – well, I’d actually say it’s better to go top 10 and then get out immediately at the start of Q3 and just set sector times, that way if others don’t set a lap you can start higher and be on mediums at the start of the race.

      Agreed though, the top 10 starting tyres rule needs to be scrapped.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 12th April 2013, 13:47

        Indeed, I am afraid we could be seeing a lot of that

      • cg22me (@cg22me) said on 12th April 2013, 19:50

        I’m not sure how viable this idea is, but I’ll put it out there, anyway, just to see people’s thoughts.
        Instead of scrapping the tyre qualifying rule (but I agree that scrapping the rule would be better than what it currently is), an additional clause is added, to give those in the Top 10 a boost (as a way of congratulating getting into Q3, if you will).

        I’m not 100% sure what this clause would be, but it would retain the strategic variety throughout the field without directly penalising the best qualifiers.

        Perhaps the Top 10 start the race further in front? (as in, there’s a spot or two vacant after 10th place)
        Or maybe they are given an extra tyre of their choice to use during the race?
        Or possibly allow them to use DRS a lap earlier than everyone else?

        Again, this is an untested idea… But it would be a way to guarantee, at least, two different types of approach to the race.

    • Mike Dee (@mike-dee) said on 12th April 2013, 9:50

      Better would be qualifying in the top 10 and then not go out for a proper run in Q3. Or go out on the medium and try to get as high as possible.

      Then run the race medium-medium-soft, with the last stop two or three laps from the end.

  5. Aziz (@ozaziz) said on 12th April 2013, 9:31

    one of the Mclaren’s even had a puncture on the front left due to the lock-up !! at the end of the long straight, during FP2 on the softs.

  6. I absolutely don’t understand so much complain..

    In the Race situation the Top 10 will start on Soft Tyres and pit in beteween Laps 6-10.. Guys starting from P11 and P12 may get a jump and thus it will be a battle between Old Mediums vs New Mediums. Most top Teams will do a 3 stop Strategy which means about 15 Laps on each M.edium. The Mediums on a green track Today were easily achieving 20+Laps.. So, they can all push the New Mediums..
    Why so much complaining then??
    What should have Pirelli brought here?? Medium and Hards?? We would have seen 1 Stop then

    • “In the Race situation the Top 10 will start on Soft Tyres”

      I’ll be extremely surprised if all 10 do so.

    • jimscreechy (@) said on 12th April 2013, 9:55

      Er you don’t understand? 6 laps and the tyres are distroyed completely, one serious luckup and the tyre completely deflates then delaminates as happened to Button this morning… whats not to understand? Millions of pounds of investment in aero, engines, mechanical, and all sorts of other tech but then they give you plastacine tyres! Completely ridiculous.

    • hawkii (@hawkii) said on 12th April 2013, 10:26

      Given that the tyres only seem to last 5 laps, to expect them to survive the out lap, Q3 lap, in lap, and then 6-10 laps of the race with full fuel tanks, would seem a tad optimistic.

  7. Eddie (@wackyracer) said on 12th April 2013, 10:41

    I heard Crofty say, Alonso saved tyres on first two sectors on his hot lap to be competitive on the last sector. Saving tyres on hot lap doesnt seem interesting to me

  8. Timothy Katz (@timothykatz) said on 12th April 2013, 11:00

    I didn’t see the sessions this morning. But are we really saying that there is a 1.5 second difference between the mediums and the softs and that the softs are good for 6 laps-ish only?
    If so, that sounds faintly stupid. The tyres are dictating far too much. Great for Pirelli because the focus is on them. Bad for Pirelli because they look about as durable as marshmallows.

  9. wsrgo (@wsrgo) said on 12th April 2013, 11:21

    So once again, I guess we’ll see many drivers run options in Q1 and Q2 so that they have only 1-2 sets of options left for Q3/opening race stint.
    Expext most guys to go soft, medium, medium..

  10. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 12th April 2013, 11:30

    How much of this was down to the warmer temperatures? I remember that it was cold last year which allowed Rosberg to do one less stop than the rest, so could that be making a difference?

  11. Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 12th April 2013, 11:46

    I think Pirelli really have gone too far with the tyres. The soft and super soft are just fundamentally too soft.

    They HAVE to make a change to the durability of the tyres post Bahrain.

    I’m all for this new brand of Formula One (2011 onwards), but this is just getting a bit much.

  12. Thanks a lot Pirelli. The 2011 Pirellis were very good in my opinion but this is just stupid.

  13. Wonder if there is the possibility of someone attempting to do mediums for the entire race then changing to softs on the last lap.

  14. Nick.UK (@) said on 12th April 2013, 12:16

    To be fair, we always hear endless blabbering about how insane the tyre degradation is throughout Friday practice. Then the race begins and teams like Red Bull in Malaysia seem to look as though they are running a totally different compound of tyre. It’s in the teams interests to obliterate the tyres on a Friday, it leads to headlines about Pirreli making rubbish tyres etc etc, puts pressure on Pierreli and increases the chances of the compounds being changed to better suit the teams. After all, the tyres for FP1-3 do not need to be used for the competetive sessions. Why come into the pits with extra rubber when you can make a drama out it by potentially deliberately locking up and wrecking the tyre to put pressure on Pirreli.

    The tyres should not be changed mid season. The teams all have the same rubber.

  15. TMF (@tmf42) said on 12th April 2013, 12:51

    Pirelli will change their mind once China and Bahrain are over. The very least they’ll do is dropping the qualifying tire idea and come with more conservative compounds to the other races.
    Sure everyone has the same tires and just needs to figure out a way to deal with them but if the balance of racing vs. tire management shifts completely towards tire management it’s no longer fun to watch.

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