Tire management is a crucial skill that’s required in Formula 1, and so far with Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton has been nothing but an artist at it.
However, the Briton opened up that it wasn’t quite the same when he was with McLaren. Apparently, McLaren never listened to his suggestions on improving tire life despite him pressurizing them. Hence, Lewis was more than eager to get the desired changes done following his entry into Mercedes.
Speaking to AutoMotorundSport, Lewis revealed the key reason behind his capability to go longer on a set of tires. “Taking care of the tires isn’t just about your driving style. It also depends on what the team makes of it,” he said.
“When I was at McLaren, I put the team under pressure, gave them my ideas about tire pressures and tire temperatures. But they never really listened. I wanted to change that at Mercedes.”
There are numerous occasions where Lewis has managed some unbelievable stints on a set of tires. For instance, recently, at the Turkish Grand Prix, the Briton did a tremendous stint on a set of Intermediates.
It looked almost impossible for the defending champion to finish the race on the same tires, but he managed to do the impossible. In the end, he saw the checkered flag with a massive lead of 30 seconds over second-placed Sergio Perez.
During the early stages, Mercedes never really looked like a team that could fight for the championship title. However, Lewis revealed that his creative ideas for Mercedes helped the team to develop his car in a different direction, and it worked.
“In the beginning, it was a struggle to try different things,” he said. “You can develop a car, work out a good vehicle set-up, but the biggest contribution to lap times are the tires and how you get the most out of them on a lap and over the distance.
“There are things like the setup or the aero balance that influence that. I put pressure on how I want the aero balance.”
From the start of the 2014 season, Mercedes steadily developed their car according to Lewis’s preference. Consequently, the outcome turned out to be more than positive for himself and the team. Lewis, in specific, has been a major contributor to Mercedes’ success in Formula 1.
Hence, will the team’s dominance take a hit once the seven-time world champion decides to call it a day with Formula 1?
(The quotes have been translated from German using Google Translate)