Lewis Hamilton says the current generation of tyres in F1 limit the potential for a driver to recover after a poor start.
The championship leader dropped from pole position to sixth on the opening lap of the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday, with Nico Rosberg taking the lead. While Hamilton had been half a second quicker than his team-mate in qualifying, he was unable to close a 15-second gap in the race and says it is due to the limitations of the current tyres.
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“I could have kept going at the pace I was going and maybe I would have got the gap down to six [seconds], maybe, but it is still not enough to win the race,” Hamilton said. “To close a 15-second gap, which means you are going to have to go three or fourth-tenths of a second per lap faster, you are not going to have any tyres left at the end of it.
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“It is a big question, I might have or I might not have [been able to catch up] but if I did close the gap I wouldn’t have had the tyres to get past. If I was eight seconds behind I would have closed the gap and put some pressure on and been in a better position but 15 seconds is a long way to come back with the tyres they are today.
“Nico drove a great race and was faultless doing what he had to do. Once you are out in front here it is relatively plain and simple keeping the car on track.”
And Hamilton says the race shows why drivers have requested tyres they can push on from Pirelli for the 2017 season.
“Falling back to fifth I used so much of my tyres just to get back through the field and when they told me the gap was 15 seconds, the whole back straight, all he had to do was match some of my times he was sorted.
“If I had better grip and I could push a qualifying lap every lap that would be awesome but it is not the case and hasn’t been for a long time.”
Pirelli is currently testing 2017 tyres with Ferrari in Barcelona and Mercedes at Paul Ricard, aiming to deliver tyres which allow drivers to push next year.
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