Several teams and drivers have expressed their belief that the team that handles their Pirelli tyres best could be set for victory on Sunday in the Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix.
Drivers including Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button voiced fears that the hard and medium tyres brought to Sepang by the Italian tyre manufactuere may not stand up to the famously harsh Malaysian conditions that often see drivers lose up to 5% of their body weight in ninety minutes as temperatures in the cockpit climb northwards of 40C.
It’s too hot for the tyres.” Hamilton said bluntly after the afternoon session had finished.
“The tyres arent really working well in these conditions and even though we’ve got the hard tyre and the medium here, the tyres do not feel great. But it’s the same for everyone.”
“The hot temperatures hurt us quite a bit I think because we’re not quite so strong in high-speed corners, and it just exaggerates the issues you have.” added Button, who won the race in 2009.
“Degradation’s always worse with the hot conditions, so we’re finding it tough out there at the moment and hopefully with the cooler conditions on the weekend and a few set-up changes we can be a bit more competitive.”
During practice many drivers reported understeer problems caused by rapidly blistering and degrading tyres around the ten lap mark, and with Sunday’s race set to run for fifty six laps it could be a cause for concern.