By Alex Kapadia
Former Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has echoed the view of the McLaren team boss that the fastest car may not win the first three or four races of the 2011 season.
Instead the use of tyres and strategy could overcome other mechanical and design deficiences, according to Ross Brawn.
McLaren driver Hamilton cited his own experience two years ago as proof speed is not always of the essence.
“Looking back at 2009 I had one of the worst cars – or at least the only car that was driving on three wheels – and I came from 18th to fourth [at the first race] and that was with the weird tyres – we didn’t know how the tyres would behave with the lower downforce.
“The first few races you can imagine that everyone is going to be confused with the pit stops and eventually it will settle down and everyone will get used to it – maybe three pit stops will be common. But now we don’t really know – it could be two, it could be four, it could be five… who knows?”
Hamilton also revealed he is still getting to grips with the new Pirelli tyres – especially tuning in to when the tyres go after steady degradation.
“You can’t predict it,” he admitted, “but you can feel it going. It’s being able to make the call when the tyres are losing temperature, that’s when the tyres are losing rubber. Then you need to be able to make the right call and hope that your team don’t say: “No, don’t come in”.