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Mercedes hypersoft call not ideal, says Hamilton

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Mercedes hypersoft call not ideal, says Hamilton
By:
Jun 9, 2018, 10:05 AM

Lewis Hamilton says he would have preferred Mercedes to have brought more hypersofts to the Canadian Grand Prix, after the team’s limited selection left it unable to try it out in Friday practice.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL33
Fernando Alonso, McLaren and Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren

Mercedes selected fewer sets of the hypersofts for the Montreal weekend than any other team, with its selection of five sets being three less than main title rivals Ferrari and Red Bull.

That decision came after pre-season testing indicated that the hypersoft had very high degradation and, with teams having to choose tyres 14 weeks in advance of flyaway races, there was no chance to change things after the early season races.

Hamilton is not due to try out the hypersoft until Saturday morning’s third practice session, and the world champion says he would have liked to have at least got some running on the tyre on Friday.

“Ultimately we don’t have as many hypersofts as everyone else,” said Hamilton, who was fourth fastest in second practice using the ultrasofts.

“I don’t know if people watching know, but they [the teams] have to select quite far ahead and from the [pre-season] test when the tyres didn’t last, that was the information we got then. We planned for a different strategy from what everyone else got.”

He added: “Hindsight is a great thing and naturally it would have been great to be able to try the hyper. Others have. We’ve seen some that have degraded a lot and some that haven’t, but [in] P3 we will take it for a spin and look for it.”

The hypersoft situation is especially critical for Mercedes because the German car manufacturer had more difficulties managing the tyre in the race in Monaco than other teams.

But having learned lessons from what happened two weeks ago, Hamilton and teammate Valtteri Bottas think things will be better this time out.

Hamilton said: “We’ve definitely understood it but you still have to set it up and go with a certain spec. And each tyre, at least the hyper seems to require something different from the ultra and others.”

Bottas added: “I think we have learned from Monaco. If we could go there again, we would get more out of the hypers. For a single lap it shouldn’t be an issue to get them to work, but we will find out.”

Although some graining was experienced with the hypersoft on Friday, the early impressions are that the tyre is not being punished as much in Canada as it was in Monaco a fortnight ago.

Fernando Alonso said McLaren wanted to save its hypersoft running until final practice so it could better prepare itself for qualifying.

“I tested only in FP1, in the first 40 minutes, and then we avoid that tyre in FP2, just to have a little bit more experience in FP3 before qualifying,” he said.

“Maybe it's a little bit better than expected, definitely it's the quicker tyre for one lap, but also in the race it seems not as bad as maybe we thought.

"In Monaco there was a lot of graining here and we thought here could be even more. So far I think it's behaving quite well.”

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