After surrendering his pole position and falling 15 seconds behind Nico Rosberg, World Champion Lewis Hamilton has claimed that the current generation of tyres makes it difficult for drivers to recover from a botched start.
The Brit revealed that the current tyres have limited drivers all season from recovering during a race and added that he could have closed his team-mate’s gap at Sunday’s race, if he didn’t have to worry about the deterioration of his set.
However, the 31-year-old also said that although he could have hunted Rosberg down, the German’s flawless drive made it nearly impossible for anyone to catch him.
“I could have kept going at the pace I was going and maybe I would have got the gap down to six [seconds], maybe, but it is still not enough to win the race,” Hamilton quipped.
“To close a 15-second gap, which means you are going to have to go three or fourth-tenths of a second per lap faster, you are not going to have any tyres left at the end of it.
“It is a big question, I might have or I might not have [been able to catch up] but if I did close the gap I wouldn’t have had the tyres to get past. If I was eight seconds behind I would have closed the gap and put some pressure on and been in a better position but 15 seconds is a long way to come back with the tyres they are today.
“Nico drove a great race and was faultless doing what he had to do. Once you are out in front here it is relatively plain and simple keeping the car on track.”
With wider set tyres to be introduced next year, Mercedes will test the new design towards the end of September when they return to Paul Ricard.