Lewis Hamilton expecting a race full of 'lift-and-coasting'
Lewis Hamilton says he's expecting a race full of "lift-and-coasting" because of the massive time penalty required to make a pitstop during the French Grand Prix.
The pit entry and exit have both been relocated at the Paul Ricard circuit, lengthening the pitlane substantially and, with the FIA mandating a slower 60km/h speed limit as opposed to the usual 80km/h, the time penalty for stopping is just under 30-seconds.
Hamilton therefore expects everyone to try and preserve their tyres to make a one-stop strategy work, which the Briton expects will result in a fairly mundane race.
"The tyres, even though we have the soft, they are pretty hard – for a single lap they are really hard and not easy to get in a working range for all the corners.
"Then on the long run, they don’t like the heavy car, they grain quite heavily, quite easily so I don’t think you’ll be going very far on those but the medium and hard look quite resilient to that.
"The track was 55 to 60C [today] which is the highest we have seen this year. I would hope that would mean we could do more than one stop, but these tyres are so hard, that we'll just end up doing one stop for sure.
"Plus the pit lane is so slow, no one wants to lose 27-28 seconds or whatever it is so they will eeek out those tyres. So I’m not expecting to see the most exciting of duels out there because people are trying to make the tyres go as far as possible, so there will be lots of lift-and-coasting."
Hamilton was investigated for an unsafe rejoin during second practice, but was later cleared by the stewards. Speaking about that, he was happy to have been able to catch the spin, which he described as "kind of cool".
"It was a serious moment, I’m surprised I caught it. If I had gone round I might have gone off into the wall.
"I got it under control by drifting, then I had to apply the brake, and come off the brake and apply the brake and a bit of gas to try and keep the balance, it was kind of cool. So definitely happy with the save.
"I tried to trundle back onto the track, away from the racing line, trying to go slow to stay out of the way, I saw him [Max Versyappen] all of a sudden come round.
"Luckily I didn’t stop him going into the corner, think he had a big snap on exit. It’s practice, sometimes these things happen, it wasn’t intentional or anything like that."