Hamilton on Vettel Spa F1 battle: ‘That’s what racing is all about’

Leave a comment

Lewis Hamilton was full of praise for Formula 1 title rival Sebastian Vettel after a close battle throughout Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix, believing the Ferrari driver to have enjoyed better race pace at Spa.

Hamilton edged out Vettel by 2.3 seconds at the checkered flag following a race-long fight, the pair running side-by-side on two occasions.

Vettel was unable to find a way through, allowing Hamilton to grab his fifth victory of the season and cut the gap at the top of the drivers’ championship down to just seven points.

“The Ferraris I think genuinely had the upper hand particularly on race pace throughout the weekend,” Hamilton said.

“He was very, very strong today, and I was towing him around everywhere, so they were getting a good tow down the straights.

“On the restart the safety car was driving so slow, it was I guess to let the other people catch up, so keeping tyre temperature, given I was on the harder tire, was very, very difficult. I came to the restart, Sebastian was very, very close, the front tyres weren’t switched on initially. He got a good tow.”

Vettel was able to tuck in behind Hamilton’s car after the safety car period, only to get too close and force himself to back off a bit, losing straight-line speed.

“I think he was a little bit too close on the run out of Turn 1, so I think he had to lift off as he would have otherwise come by potentially before Eau Rouge, which perhaps was a good thing for me because he lost a little bit of performance,” Hamilton said.

“He did a great race, he was very, very consistent throughout. It was fun to be racing against another team and Sebastian really at his best and the car at his best, battling within half a tenth every lap.

“That’s what racing is about. I think they’re able to keep up and follow quite closely for a long, long time, so I think they had the better pace today.

“But fortunately I was able to do just enough to stay ahead.”

Pirelli reveals new super-hard, hyper-soft F1 tires in Abu Dhabi

LAT/Pirelli
Leave a comment

Pirelli has confirmed it will add two new tires to its range for the 2018 Formula 1 season, launching the ‘super-hard’ and ‘hyper-soft’ compounds in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

Pirelli currently makes three of its five dry compounds available to teams for each race weekend, and despite varying selections across the course of the season has struggled to offer much in terms of strategy options, with one-stop races being the norm.

The hope is that the addition of two new tire compounds and a re-alignment of their durability will offer teams more choices in races.

Pirelli confirmed plans to introduce a new softest tire below the current ultra-soft earlier this month, inviting fans to pick a name.

The pink-colored compound will be known as the ‘hyper-soft’ from next year, with the arrival of a new ‘super-hard’ (colored ‘ice blue’) also being confirmed at a launch event in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

“Compared to this year, when the tires grew by 25% to fit a brand-new generation of cars, the changes for next year are less far-reaching,” Pirelli head of car racing Mario Isola said.

“However, we’re pleased to present some important innovations with softer and faster compounds across the range: including the new hypersoft.

“We realized that, under the unique circumstances of this year, some of our 2017 compounds were perhaps conservative: the tires we have created for 2018 addresses this, in line with the objective of having around two pit stops at most races.

“However, the fundamental design concept of the tires hasn’t changed next year, preserving the attributes that all drivers have appreciated this year and allowing them to push hard from the start to the finish of each stint.

“The new range consists of faster tires that should lead to even harder and more spectacular racing in 2018.”

Besides the seven dry compounds made available, there will be the two rain tires – wet and intermediate – taking it to a total of nine for the 2018 season.