• Spanish Grand Prix - FP2

New hard tyres 'a disaster' - Hamilton

ESPNF1 Staff
May 20, 2011 « Alonso expects podium fight | »
Lewis Hamilton: "It was feeling pretty poor this morning with the new super hard tyre" © Sutton Images

Pirelli's latest hard compound tyre has been labelled a "disaster" by Lewis Hamilton ahead of its race debut at this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.

Pirelli was hoping the new 'super hard' tyre would add five laps to the life of its original hard compound, but on Friday some drivers struggled for grip and experienced degradation as a result. Hamilton was among the most critical and said the tyre was slower without the benefit of any extra life.

"The car was OK once we got to the better tyre," he said. "I think everyone was much, much happier with the [soft] tyre. The super hard is a disaster, that wasn't nice to drive. A two second difference, and they don't last longer.

"It was feeling pretty poor this morning with the new super hard tyre, I don't know why they've brought that tyre, because the previous tyre was pretty good. It looks pretty difficult to switch on, and then to last, it's just sliding. I think we were about 2.5 seconds off the pace just with that tyre. Then we switched to the normal soft, and it was fantastic. I think you'll see most people driving with that tyre for the weekend."

Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi added: "The new super hard compound gives you the feeling you are driving a totally different car. They are so slow. This is going to be tricky for everyone and might produce interesting tyre strategies in the race."

Fernando Alonso reckons most teams will be forced to use the soft tyres to make it through the first session of qualifying and will then struggle to complete the race with less than four pit stops.

"It's hard to imagine we can get through Q1 without having to resort to using the softs," he said. "One thing we had already seen in winter testing and which has been confirmed today is that degradation is pretty significant and so there is cause to expect a race like the one in Istanbul in terms of the number of pit stops."

Pirelli tested the new compound during private sessions at Barcelona earlier this year and in Friday practice sessions at previous grands prix. Renault's Nick Heidfeld admitted the results so far this weekend had been surprising.

"What was really interesting today were Pirelli's new super hard tyres," he said. "Although we've gained some experience of them occasionally on Fridays, we haven't used them a lot and they didn't really perform as I expected. They are significantly slower over one lap and during the long run too. That's the main difference between them and the previous hard tyres."