Lewis Hamilton explains ‘you need to listen to me’ tyre comment

Jon Wilde
Close-up of Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes. Singapore October 2022.

Close-up of Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes on intermediate tyres. Singapore October 2022.

Lewis Hamilton has explained why he told Mercedes over the team radio they should have listened to him regarding tyre choice in the Singapore Grand Prix.

On two separate occasions during the two-hour race, a team radio message was broadcast in which Hamilton was complaining about his tyres.

The first occurred early in the grand prix when the seven-time former World Champion said: “I told you about these tyres, in the future you need to listen to me – no grip”.

At the time, it was speculated Hamilton had perhaps wanted to start the race on full wet tyres rather than intermediates after the 65-minute delay caused by a storm that soaked the Marina Bay circuit.

However, it emerged that the 37-year-old Briton was instead referring to being given new intermediates rather than a scrubbed set, which he thought would have worked better in the conditions.

One of Hamilton’s scrappier races included him hitting the wall on lap 33 as he chased third-placed Carlos Sainz, which meant a pit stop for a new front wing. He later locked up and ran wide when challenging Sebastian Vettel, losing a place to Max Verstappen and coming home ninth of the 14 finishers.

Explaining his thoughts on the tyre strategy afterwards, Hamilton told reporters: “I wanted to start with scrubbed [intermediates] and then I wanted to go to soft.

“I did the laps to the grid on the scrubbed inters and it was better. Then we put the [new] inters on and they were terrible – it took several laps for the temperatures to come up.

“We can’t fire up our tyres as quick as the others for some reason, on slicks or wets. And we don’t really understand why.

“There’s something going on there in terms of temperatures because on a long run in the dry we’ve got good longevity.”

In another team radio message, Hamilton had referred to Sainz just ahead of him as being “really slow” after being passed by his Ferrari rival into the opening corners – and on a difficult circuit for overtaking, he could never regain that place.

“[I had] kind of a difficult start and then got stuck behind Carlos, I don’t know why he was so slow,” said Hamilton.

“Obviously I wasn’t quick enough to get past him in these conditions and was just sitting behind him.

“I could do similar times to the guys ahead, but because I was stuck behind him I couldn’t [show it]. I think if I was in third, I would have kept with the guys up ahead.”

Hamilton apologised to the Mercedes team for the mistake he made when hitting the barrier, saying that was when it had all gone “out the frickin window” as he careered back to the pits with a broken front wing which Verstappen reported as being dangerous.

“I knew it was all over from then, but these things happen,” said Hamilton. “I’m not going to punish myself for a mistake.

“It was very tricky conditions for everyone and I think the problems we have with this car are magnified in the rain. It’s a very hard car to drive in the rain.

“For the first couple of corners, [after the crash] it felt normal, but then sparks started to come off [the wing]. Then it just failed.”

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