Mercedes has 'come a long way' with tyres - Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton feels Mercedes is in a “good place” with regards to its understanding of Pirelli’s tyres, following early-season issues, but is wary that it is an ongoing process.
Mercedes was on the back foot compared to Ferrari early in the season in terms of getting the tyres into the right window, with Hamilton in particular struggling on the Ultrasoft compound.
Hamilton’s problems were most pronounced in Monaco, as he dropped out in Q2 before taking only seventh in the race, after which he emphasised that improvements were required, both by himself and the team.
Mercedes and Hamilton hit back with victories in Canada and Britain – as well as demonstrating strong pace in Azerbaijan before being delayed by a headrest problem – and is upbeat over progress made across recent months.
“I think we’ve come a long way, we’re definitely I think on top of it, but there’s still traps that we’re aware of,” Hamilton said in Hungary.
“We have blistering [as] shown in the last few races [because] the cars get faster and we’re pushing the tyres harder, that’s appearing, [we need to] understand where that comes from.
“It’s a constant study, something we’re surveying all the time.
“It’s the same for me as a driver, I sit with the tyre engineers and I pick their brains, trying to make sure that I understand how to utilise them more, how far I can push them.
“I think that’s going to be an ongoing thing as we go through these next races.
“We’ll continue to learn more about them but we’re definitely in a good place with them, but [there’s] still some surprises that could come up I guess.”
Hamilton trails Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel by 14 points in the standings.