Hamilton driving style caused tire woes UPDATE According to reports, it was McLaren rather than Bridgestone that decreed that Lewis Hamilton should use a three-stop strategy during the Turkish GP.
In the aftermath of Hamilton's powerful drive to second place, it was claimed that his aggressive strategy was the consequence of Bridgestone advising the team that, due to Hamilton's unique driving style and the demands he makes on his front-right tires when cornering Turn 8 at Istanbul, two-stopping was unsafe. However, the reality may have been subtly different.
It has emerged that Bridgestone instead cautioned the team against running a long middle stint, suggesting that Hamilton could run stints of 20 laps, 18 laps, and 20 laps. After calculating the likely results of such a pattern, the team's strategists then decided that a three-stop strategy would be better - presumably because that would mean the Englishman would only have to run a few handful of laps on soft tires, a compound he struggled with all weekend.
McLaren chief Ron Dennis praised Lewis Hamilton on his second place finish in Turkey after the team adopted a 'safety first' approach to their tire strategy.
|Apparently Lewis Hamilton is not as smooth as some of the other drivers and puts too much stress on his right-front or left-front tires (depending on circuit configuration) that causes possible tire structural issues|
Hamilton pitted three times at the Istanbul Park circuit, where he suffered a blowout 12 months ago, in contrast to his main rivals who each changed their tires twice.
With last year's exit in mind, the McLaren team opted to provide Hamilton maximum protection whilst giving him as much chance as possible of obtaining a podium place - with the result delighting Dennis.
"We saw a truly phenomenal drive from Lewis in which he optimized a three-stop strategy we were forced to adopt as a consequence of concerns we had with his tires," remarked Dennis.
"It was a structural concern with the tires, so we took a decision with Bridgestone to run three stops.
"We didn't want to have any tire failure, and although we could have run two stops, we put the safety of the driver first.
"Lewis did a great job and we can now look forward to Monaco and Montreal."
There were fears Hamilton's slightly more aggressive driving style could have resulted in another 200mph blow out as witnessed at the track a year ago.
A Bridgestone spokesperson said: "Lewis had a specific problem last year, but several other drivers we noticed had internal tire problems.
"Based on that, we changed the construction and strengthened it over the winter period and then brought those tires to all the races this year.
"In actual fact, nobody else has had a repetition of any of those problems this year, with the exception of Lewis.
"He is the one driver who, perhaps with his style of driving, has put higher forces onto his front-right tire." Sky Sports