Lewis Hamilton says it is the teams and not Pirelli who are to blame for the recent tire failures that were seen in Azerbaijan, and wants to see guidelines better policed.
Max Verstappen and Lance Stroll suffered high-speed blowouts in Baku, leading to a Pirelli investigation that concluded both Red Bull and Aston Martin followed starting pressure and temperature parameters but that the way the tires were run contributed to their failures. Hamilton had previously questioned how long Red Bull waited to go on track in Monaco after removing tire blankets, and while he says better guidelines are required he also say a new technical directive needs policing.
“I’m kind of in two minds,” Hamilton said. “At the end of the day safety is always the priority. And for me and for my team there have been clear rules and guidelines as to where we have to operate so I was very surprised, naturally, to see they had to clarify those… which obviously you can take what you want from that.
“I’m happy that they have acknowledged that they need to clarify it, and I think what’s really important from now is how they police it, as they’ve not been policing how the tires are being used – tire pressures, tire temperatures – and we need to do better. It’s great they’ve done a TD, but it’s the action now we need to see them follow through, and be really vigilant, to make sure it’s equal across the field.
“Wherever there is a failure, they always put the pressures up, so that tells you something. More often than not the tires are not running at the pressures that are being asked. We didn’t have a problem with our tires. I think they’ve done a great job with the tires this year — they’re more robust than before. And in this particular instance I don’t think Pirelli are at fault.”
While the Red Bull and Aston Martin drivers have voiced their unhappiness at the findings of the report and say they don’t have full confidence in Pirelli’s tires, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc sides with Hamilton that the teams have to take more responsibility.
“First of all I think safety should always be the most important thing in Formula 1 — for us drivers, for basically everyone,” Leclerc said. “This is always the most important thing, but it’s also the duty of the team to respect everything that has been put in place. Whether this is the case or not, I don’t know, and this is the job of the FIA to discover that.
“I think it’s always good to have extra checks in case some teams try to play a game with it. But I believe it’s also definitely the responsibility of the team to make sure everything is safe for the drivers to drive the cars.”