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2018 F1

Rubbish claims, Pirelli thin tread decision not to favour Mercedes – Wolff

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Team boss, Toto Wolff claims that, Mercedes never pushed F1 tyre supplier Pirelli to bring this weekend’s thinner tread tyres which the Silver Arrows has put to good use in Barcelona.

Following blistering problems with tyres during pre-season testing at the newly-resurfaced Circuit de Catalunya, Pirelli have revised their tyres by reducing the amount of tread on the compounds for this weekend’s Spanish GP as well as the upcoming races in Britain and France.

On Thursday, Sebastian Vettel said: “Obviously we have different tyres because Pirelli reacted to the issues Mercedes had and Red Bull had in testing.”

When the source asked if Pirelli had changed the tyres ‘to help Mercedes’ after he took pole position for this afternoon’s race, an unimpressed Hamilton responded: “That was a stupid question really, so I don’t really have an answer for it.”

“Is b******ks a bad word in English?” responded Mercedes boss Toto Wolff when told the Silver Arrows’ rivals had complained.

“It is rubbish. All the teams had very heavy blistering in testing – Red Bull, Ferrari and ourselves. The tyres wouldn’t have lasted in the race and the ambience and track temperature was arctic [in winter testing]. For that reason, Pirelli changed the thickness of the tyres to prevent the blistering, and they have been successful because we haven’t seen any blistering today.

“I don’t know where this rumour has come out from that we have been influencing Pirelli and the FIA. I’ve never seen anything like it. Why would they do it?”

“In the past, when we have not performed we have taken ourselves by the nose and looked to find performance on our car. We didn’t have a default mode of asking what are the others doing that was wrong.” Wolff added.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was equally dismissive of the claims, stressing that only 0.4mm of tread had been shaved off and adding: “On this track in testing you could see the super-softs weren’t behaving as well as the softs.”

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen said: “Sometimes it works for one team better than others. It’s pretty difficult to say how different it would have been had we had normal tyres.”

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