Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton says it would be a 'disaster' if Pirelli puts tyre pressures up

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Lewis Hamilton has warned of a "disaster" if Pirelli goes ahead with plans to increase tyre pressure limits for this weekend's Italian Grand Prix.

Pirelli, Formula One's sole tyre supplier, is in the spotlight in Monza after two high-profile blow-outs at the last race in Belgium.

Sebastian Vettel's tyre exploded on the penultimate lap, while Nico Rosberg was also subjected to a terrifying 190mph blow-out in practice.


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Pirelli issued a statement on Thursday insisting the failures were caused by "external factors" such as debris, and in Vettel's case, "prolonged usage". Vettel, the four-time world champion, was the only driver to attempt a one-stop strategy in Belgium.

Pirelli has recommended to teams to run higher pressures at Monza - four psi higher at the front and three psi higher at the rear - but Hamilton has warned it could have a detrimental effect.

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"In terms of putting the pressures up, I don't personally think it is the right way," said Hamilton, who was sporting a new blond hairstyle in the paddock on Thursday.

"I don't think any of us have tried five psi more in these tyres because they are not designed to have five psi more.

"We work in a range - which is the optimum range - so we will be moving out of the optimum range of the tyre and that will mean we will be using a different part of the tyre so there will more wear, less grip, and it is going to be a disaster.

"So, I hope they don't put five psi more - a couple is okay. In Belgium, we had a very difficult corner which is Eau Rouge which takes a huge amount of G-Force and pressure on the tyres, which I am sure did not help. Here, you don't have that."

Pirelli said they had a total of 63 cuts to their tyres during the course of the race weekend in Belgium. They added that in 15 previous events, including five test sessions, an average of only 1.2 cuts were noted.

"The problem is that at every circuit you can get cuts so it could happen again," Hamilton's former McLaren team-mate Jenson Button said.

"Pirelli have always been very hard in terms of when it comes to safety and they will do everything they can to make the tyre as safe as possible and I am certain of that, but something needs to be done.

"Cars losing tyres at over 300km/h (186mph) I don't think I have ever seen that - maybe once with Michael Schumacher in testing - but I have been racing for 16 years.

"I am happy they have got limits but they are pretty scary limits for every F1 team as we have never run tyres with this pressure before or such low camber so it might throw up other things."

Button, who will serve a five-place grid penalty in Monza for an engine change, did however lend his support to Pirelli's proposal. He added: "I think it is right for them to be extreme and in terms of safety I think they are doing the right thing."

Earlier, Vettel insisted he was satisfied with Pirelli's investigation into the tyre blow-out which he claimed could have killed him.

"It is not acceptable to have a blow-up at that sort of speed, out of the blue, and that is what I said after the race so there is nothing to add,'' he said.

''The investigations that have been going on, the stuff that obviously got analysed and talked about explained some of it - maybe not all of it yet - but it is still ongoing.

''The most important thing is that we make progress. From Pirelli's side it looks very professional, they handle it with extreme care, so I think they are going the right way."

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