Friday’s practice sessions provided an opportunity for F1 teams to test out Pirelli’s newest set of tires. However, both Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel were quite dissatisfied with the outcome in FP1 and FP2.
All F1 teams were mandated to run the new tires in Bahrain for a minimum of six timed laps in the second free practice session. Although the tire pressure objectives were attained, lap times accounted were ‘worse’ than the 2019-spec tires.
The drivers’ notes post the conclusion of free practice did not exactly sound encouraging. Especially from Hamilton, who has said that he would prefer to continue running on the existing tire compounds.
Lewis Hamilton prefers to continue with the existing sets of tires
Hamilton is quoted as saying, “We’ve had the same tire for the last two years, at the end of 2019 they brought a new tire which each year they often normally do. And it was quite a bit worse.
“So they’ve had two years now to develop a better tire and we’ve arrived with a tire that’s three kilos heavier.”
“It’s like a second worse per lap.
“It definitely doesn’t feel good out there and it’s a worry, I mean I prefer to just stay on these tires if that’s all they’ve got. We just would be better to stay with this tire.” concluded Hamilton on the topic.
The 35-year-old Mercedes driver topped both the FP1 and FP2 charts while running on both the medium and soft tires. He was nearly half a second superior to Bottas, and three-tenths to Verstappen, in each of the two sessions.
Hope we don’t see these tires again, says Sebastian Vettel
Vettel likewise had similar views to Hamilton. He said, “No, they were not a step forward, the opposite pretty much. Probably worth a shot, but I hope we don’t see these tires again. They are quite a lot worse compared to the tires that we currently run with.”
“Well, if that one is the only option for 21 (sticking with 2019 tires), then absolutely I would love to stick with the 19 tires. As long as we don’t have a tire that gives us anything that the current one doesn’t give such as less overheating, better chance to fight each other, then we shouldn’t get onto a different tire.”
Such feedback from two of the most experienced F1 drivers does not bode well for Pirelli. With 2021 fast approaching, decisions need to be quickly taken. As it stands, teams and drivers may just elect to continue with the existing sets of tires.