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Mercedes struggling with Pirelli tyres as temperatures increase

Written by  Mar 07, 2018

The biggest weakness of Mercedes in recent years has potentially carried over into 2018 after both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas struggled with the Pirelli tyres in testing on Tuesday.

With conditions much more representative, as track temperatures exceeded 30 degrees, teams were able to get a better read on the performance of the more aggressive compounds the tyre supplier has produced for this season.

While Sebastian Vettel led for Ferrari with Max Verstappen third in the Red Bull, both on Mediums, Bottas and Hamilton were second and fourth respectively using the Softs which in theory should be faster.

“The Medium tyre was difficult to get working, while the Soft tyre is better for warm-up, but suffered from degradation," the world champion commented.

"We are learning all the time, it's been a good day. We've got through everything we needed and put good mileage on the car – it's been productive.”

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For 2018, Pirelli has moved each compound one step softer with the Medium now last year's Soft and the Soft last year's Supersoft, that could well hurt Mercedes who do traditionally struggle with the softer tyres.

It is possible car set-up played a role with the focus on getting heat into the tyres in the cooler winter temperatures but if it is a trait that continues into the start of the season, it could allow both Ferrari and Red Bull a chance to capitalise.

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