Red Bull continue to insist the current generation of F1 tires are too aggressive despite their successful start to the season.
They have won two of the first four races of the year, lead the constructors’ championship by 16 points and have Sebastian Vettel in the lead of the drivers’ championship by ten points.
But team principal Christian Horner told Autosport after yesterday’s race: “I think the tires are still too on an edge.”
“Needing to four-stop in a race is I think a bit too extreme. There are other teams that look like they have bigger issues than Red Bull with their tires, but you need to speak to them to ask their opinion.”
Both Red Bull drivers completed the race with three pit stops. Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button were among those who had to pit four times, while Kimi Raikkonen and Paul di Resta stopped just twice.
Formula One’s official tire supplier Pirelli says Red Bull’s view is not widely supported. Before the race it claimed eight of the eleven teams had urged them not to make changes to the tires.
Pirelli changed the tire allocation for Bahrain before the race, making it more conservative. It will hold a meeting in Milan tomorrow to discuss how the tires have performed so far this year and whether further changes need to be made.
On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.
And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.
Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.
The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.
“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.
“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.
“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”
A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.