During the practice sessions today, all drivers were expected to run variations of Pirelli's 2021 compounds. Hamilton was one of the many who had not been impressed with the new rubber.
The new compounds that Pirelli created for this season were overwhelmingly rejected by the teams last year. This year the 2019 compounds were again used. In February, Hamilton said Pirelli wanted to make improved tires for the year 2021.
Hamilton was unimpressed, however after pushing the tires today.
The Mercedes driver comments, "“ We've got a team here from Pirelli and I have the utmost respect for the guys that load our tires up, come here and keep us safe and they do an amazing job, ”said Hamilton.“ Unfortunately , we've had the same tire for the last two years. "
To continue, "At the end of 2019 they brought a new tire, which they normally do, and it was quite a bit worse. So then they said 'well, we'll just keep the tire from last year'."
Hamilton said the current rubber is a step backward, despite getting more time to improve the tires.
Hamilton adds, "They've had two years now to develop a better tire and we've arrived with a tire that's three kilos heavier and is like a second worse per lap. I know for the fans that doesn't really make a difference but from a driving point of view we're working with brands and partners who are at the forefront of technology and elevating and moving forwards. And if you're going back, after two years of development, then I don't know what's happening .It definitely doesn't feel good out there and it's a worry. I'd prefer to just stay on these tires. If that's all they've got and that's the best they can do, which clearly it is, then it'd be better just to stay with this tire. "
Hamilton attended an FIA conference last year as a delegate of the Grand Prix Drivers Association (GDPA) to express their questions regarding the production of tires. Drivers gave their input last year to the 'target letter' for Pirelli from F1, which sets expectations for tire production.
Hamilton says, "The previous target letter we weren't involved in and they hadn't listened to a single word we've said in previous years, we delivered lots of emails going back and forth to help them. And it's still no better . So I wouldn't say that we can do any more. Ultimately it's technology. I don't know if we're at the limit of technology or it's just their limit. "
In 2022, Formula 1 is due to move to new, 18-inch wheels. Hamiton is worried that this could be another step backwards.
Hamilton explains, "When we go to the bigger rim, I've heard we lose grip when we go to that tire. I think what we actually really need in Formula 1 is slightly less downforce and more mechanical grip and a lot of that comes from the tires so that we can follow closer. But it doesn't seem that we're going in that direction. Naturally I think we don't want to go backwards, so I think there's more work to do. "
The new tires have received negative reviews from other drivers. Red Bull's Alexander Albon said they were not very fun to drive on and equally unenthused was his team mate Max Verstappen.
Red Bull's Verstappen comments, "It's difficult to know what components we were running, we were a bit all over the place to be honest in terms of grip and balance. So we'll look into that and we'll speak to Pirelli about it . "
The verdict on the tires made by Haas driver, Kevin Magnussen was they they were "not very good"
Magnussen adds, "They're certainly not quicker, I don't know if that's the final tire for next year but [they] could be better."
Scuderia Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel agreed with Hamilton's opinion that instead of going to new ones, F1 should retain its existing tires.
Vettel comments, "They were not a step forward, the opposite pretty much, [They were] probably worth a shot but I hope we don't see these tires again, they are quite a lot worse compared to the tires we currently run. If that [tire] is the only option for '21 then absolutely I would love to stick with the '19 tires, ”he added.“ I think as long as we don't have an option that gives us anything that the current tire doesn't give - less overheating, better chance to fight each other - then we shouldn't get onto a different tire. This one is worse, for sure, and it will make all the problems that we struggle with already even worse. "