Why did Lewis Hamilton tell his mechanics ‘you need to listen to me’ about tyres?

Lewis Hamilton finished ninth in Singapore  (AFP via Getty Images)
Lewis Hamilton finished ninth in Singapore (AFP via Getty Images)

Lewis Hamilton has explained that his frustration during the Singapore Grand Prix was due to being a new set of intermediate tyres, rather than the scrubbed set that he would have preferred.

Hamilton was heard complaining on the radio to his team during the race at Marina Bay about the tyre strategy employed.

“I told you about these tyres, in the future you need to listen to me – no grip,” the Mercedes driver said to his mechanics.

Speculation during the race suggested that the seven-time world champion might have preferred to begin on full wet tyres on a damp evening in Singapore.

But Hamilton has clarified that he was happy to begin on intermediates, with the decision to switch to a new set, rather than tyres on which he had already done at least a lap, the cause of his frustration.

“I wanted to start with scrubbed [intermediates] and then I wanted to go to soft,” the 37-year-old explained.

“I did the laps to the grid on the scrubbed inters and it was better. Then we put the [new] inters on and they were terrible – it took several laps for the temperatures to come up.

“We can’t fire up our tyres as quick as the others for some reason, on slicks or wets. And we don’t really understand why.

“There’s something going on there in terms of temperatures because on a long run in the dry we’ve got good longevity.”

Hamilton finished ninth in Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix (AP)
Hamilton finished ninth in Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix (AP)

Scrubbed tyres tend to warm up faster than a new set.

Hamilton produced a relatively untidy drive in difficult conditions in Singapore, eventually finishing ninth.

The British driver collided with a wall while attempting to launch a move on Carlos Sainz on the 33rd lap of the race, leading to a change of front wing and drop down the field.

A subsquent lock-up allowed Max Verstappen to pass him late on.

“I knew it was all over from then, but these things happen,” said Hamilton of his crash. “I’m not going to punish myself for a mistake.

“It was very tricky conditions for everyone and I think the problems we have with this car are magnified in the rain. It’s a very hard car to drive in the rain.

“For the first couple of corners, [after the crash] it felt normal, but then sparks started to come off [the wing]. Then it just failed.”