Belfast Telegraph

Formula 1: New 'stressed' tyres liven up races, says Sebastian Vettel

By David Tremayne

While Fernando Alonso has called for more respect between drivers after the incident in Bahrain when Nico Rosberg pushed him off the track, Lewis Hamilton made it clear yesterday that the similar incident he was involved in with the Chinese Grand Prix winner was done and dusted for him.

Whatever the Briton felt about it, though, Rosberg's racing style was still the subject of debate at last night's drivers' briefing in the run-up to Sunday's Spanish GP at the Circuit de Catalunya here.

"I'm not bothered," Hamilton said. "I didn't even bother discussing it with him. It's in the past for me. It would be good to have some clarity on the one-move rule, but whatever decision the authorities might reach is OK by me."

Hamilton said his focus is on making the most of a modified McLaren this weekend to regain the lead in the world championship that he lost to Sebastian Vettel in Bahrain. "I feel that I'm still driving aggressively in the races, but I'm not attacking as much as I did in the past in order to save my tyres.

"In races this year I could have been attacking more, but then I wouldn't have had any tyres left before the end. It's frustrating, but my engineers tell me that I have been using my tyres better than Jenson [Button] this year. That's a positive that I'm very pleased about."

Criticism of Pirelli's strategy of supplying limited-durability tyres, as requested in the first place by the teams, was led after Bahrain by Michael Schumacher who said at the recent Mugello tests that he feels as if he is driving "on raw eggs". The seven-times world champion added: "I don't want to stress the tyres. Otherwise you just overdo it and you go nowhere."

Vettel put a different slant on the issue, however. "I think we get a completely different impression in the car than you get outside it, it's two different worlds," he said. "With the quality of racing today we have to look after the tyres much more than we did three or four years ago.

"Take 2009, where we were allowed to refuel, and fit new tyres that lasted longer and didn't have so much degradation. We could push each lap like we did in qualifying, but now the racing is different. We have to fuel the cars up so they are heavier, so there's more stress on the tyres, and that puts the whole thing in a different window.

"It's a new world for the tyres with the greater degradation, then we start to slide around and one guy slides more because he put his tyres on two laps earlier. It's different racing, with more overtaking, and that is seen as better from the outside because things are seen to happen. So it depends on what you want in that regard.

"The races today, and last year, since we changed a couple of things, became much better for the fans and for us. One race here I followed Felipe Massa for 60 of the 66 laps and couldn't [pass]. Today, we know that chance will come."

Meanwhile, Sir Jackie Stewart made a plea for Ferrari to consider fellow Scot Paul di Resta as a possible replacement for Massa in 2013. "Paul would be a very good target for Ferrari," the three-time champion said. "Alonso probably has the best toolkit of knowledge and physically is one of the best drivers in the world. To have a young driver such as Di Resta as an understudy is something I'd consider if I was at Ferrari."

Belfast Telegraph


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