Pirelli’s range of F1 tyre compounds for 2018 are “more vulnerable” to degradation than previous years, according to Sebastian Vettel.
Sebastian Vettel says Pirelli’s range of tyre compounds for the 2018 Formula 1 season have proven to be “more vulnerable” to degradation than previous years.
Vettel was among a number of drivers including world championship leader Lewis Hamilton to complain about how quickly Pirelli’s tyres degraded and lost performance during the Monaco Grand Prix.
The German also faced tyre struggles in May’s Spanish Grand Prix, with Ferrari forced into switching Vettel onto a two-stop strategy that ultimately saw him drop out of second place and finish fourth.
“I think Monaco was a lot worse than the races before,” he told reporters in Montreal on Thursday. “In Monaco you always have a bit of pace management because you can’t overtake so the guy in front can set the pace, but this year was extreme because with the tyres you couldn’t push.
“I think that’s what we meant after the race and you could see it also during the race. I think it’s a no-brainer when you compare to last year the lap times and you see a big difference, whereas if you compare the other races it’s not been that big. In that regard it’s a one-off but I think overall the tyres this year are a bit more vulnerable than last year.”
And Vettel says he is keen to find out how the Hypersoft tyre will fare at this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix.
“We have the same tyres but it’s a different track and a different nature and it can vary a bit more as to which tyre is the limitation. We will see, I think Friday will be important. Weather wise it should be fine and consistent and then after practice we can read into it.
"If it’s like Monaco in terms of wear, degradation, we’ll just have a lot more stops. We’ll see how the other compounds work. We know on this track you can overtake but it’s also sensitive on tyres. Usually in the past, it’s been between one or the other. It’s not always easy to find the best strategy."
Ferrari is expected to be boosted by a power unit upgrade in Canada, while chief rivals Mercedes have been forced to delay the introduction of its new-spec engine after encountering a late issue. Despite Hamilton’s fears that Mercedes could be at a disadvantage without its upgraded engine, Vettel has played down the impact it should have.
When asked if he felt Hamilton - who leads the world championship standings by 14 points - would be handicapped, Vettel replied: “I think with this generation of engines I don’t think that is a big problem.”
“Compared to last year, we have another car and the approach is, of course, also different. It is hard to make any prediction about this weekend. A lot can depend on what the other teams can do here and on the weather as well, as it might be raining. The track is a little bit different from any other, but we think the engine can play a role here. So, let’s see where we are. We have brought some updates here, which I am sure everyone does at some point along the season: so far, we’ve had a good and efficient car on the straights and this should help. There are a couple of tricky points, but I like this track. Unlike Monaco, which is not the best place for overtaking, I think it should be different here. However, tires play a bigger role this year. We’ve done a good job so far, but there’s still a long way to go”.