70th Anniversary Grand Prix – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton says he thinks tyre pressures were the cause of his team’s issues on Sunday, with Max Verstappen claiming victory.
Championship leader Lewis Hamilton finished P2 on Sunday, being beaten by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen after the Dutch driver started the race on the Hard compound tyres. The Medium-shod Mercs were unable to pull away and fell into the Red Bull’s clutches and encountered severe blistering that allowed Verstappen to pull away after the Mercs were out of the way.
Speaking after the race, Hamilton said the increased tyre pressures for this weekend appeared to have hurt Mercedes more than other teams. The pressures were raised by Pirelli after tyre failures at last week’s race, ironically including both Mercedes cars at the end of the race.
“I would imagine most likely is obviously Pirelli were struggling with tyre failures last week.” said Hamilton. “So then a weekend on, they just put the pressures up and up and up and up. They’re balloons now, they’re the highest pressures we’ve ever had on a track like that.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised if that was a thing for us. But I don’t know if anyone else struggled with blistering like we had so it’s something we’ll look into.”
Having fallen down to P4 after extending his second stint before pitting again with 10 laps to go, Hamilton says he was satisfied to have recovered to be able to hold onto a 30 point lead in the championship.
“Definitely unexpected to have the blistering as hardcore as we experienced it but I’m really grateful to have progressed and managed to just get my way through the race.I think right at the end I had blistering again but I’d been pushing pretty heavily to catch the guys.”
“That second stint, I was managing like you couldn’t believe. I was managing to the best of my ability but it just didn’t make a single difference to that blistering.” continued Hamilton.
“At the end I was just driving with half a tyre basically. If you look in the mirrors, one half was bald and the other side was okay, so it held together. But of course I was nervous it was going to explode or something.”