Hamilton critical of Pirelli’s 2021 tyres

Mark Scott
Lewis Hamilton Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton was biting his tongue when it came to a review of the 2021 prototype Pirelli tyres that are being tested in Bahrain.

As part of Pirelli’s testing programme for their 2021 compounds, drivers were asked to complete a minimum of six timed laps on the prototype tyres during FP1 and FP2 ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

There weren’t many drivers it seemed who enjoyed the tyres, but Mercedes especially found it tough going with Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton running P19 and P20 until switching back to the 2020 tyres.

“Oh god…I’m trying my hardest not to say anything!” Hamilton joked in the Bahrain paddock after Friday practice.

“What I want to say is…weekend in and weekend out, every year, we’ve got a team here from Pirelli. I have the utmost respect for the guys that come here and load our tyres up, bring them here and keep us safe. They do an amazing job.

“Unfortunately, I mean we’ve had the same tyre for two years. At the end of 2019 they brought a new tyre, which they normally do, and it was quite a bit worse so they said ‘ok we’ll just keep the tyre from last year’.

“So they have had two years now to develop a better tyre and we’ve arrived at a tyre which is three kilos heavier and it is like a second worse in lap time.

“I know for the fans that doesn’t make too much of a difference. But, from a driver point of view, we are working with brands and partners who are at the forefront of technology and elevate [the sport]. If you are going back after two years of development then I don’t know what is happening.

“It definitely doesn’t feel good out there and it is a worry. I definitely just prefer to stay on these tyres again.

“If that is the best they can do, which it clearly is, it would just be better to stay with this tyre.”

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Red Bull’s Alex Albon also criticised the proposed Pirelli rubber.

“The prototype tyres we used at the start they’re not very fun to drive on, so we’ll see how it goes next year,” he said.

“They’re slow, and not very grippy. I think they were about a second off what we have now, which doesn’t bode too well.”

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