Post the Australian GP, I have been thinking about Lewis Hamilton and tyres. When Kenneth Branagh finally gets around to making the movie version of the Shakespearean drama that is Lewis Hamilton’s Formula One career, tyres will play a disproportionately prominent role. Hamilton has had more unfortunate incidents involving rubber than a fire in an Ann Summers factory.
Take his first year in F1, 2007. It was Fernando Alonso’s initial inability to make the
adjustment from Michelin to Bridgestone tyres that destabilised the Spaniard relative to his young apprentice. But for a delaminated tyre at the Chinese GP that year, Hamilton would have been the first ever rookie World Champion.
Arguably the Brit’s greatest victory, at Silverstone 2008, was at least in part assisted by an inexplicable tyre choice by Ferrari on Raikkonen’s car . Had Timo Glock been able to maintain any kind of pace on slick tyres on the last of the 2008 Brazilian GP, I’d now have to be telling my children “Yes, that man mucking around at the back in the red car with the yellow helmet really was once World Champion.”
More recently, the switch from Bridgestone to Pirelli, and the prominence of preservation over outright pace, has disadvantaged Hamilton relative to his McLaren teammate, Jenson Button.
How will the story end? If Hamilton can address his own personal tyre war, then the others might need to watch out, if not, then like a set of 25 lap old options tyres, he may end up losing his marbles.
FORMULA ONE MUM