Sebastian Vettel has claimed that he and his fellow drivers were happier with the revised Pirellis they used at the Nurburgring, regardless of whether they made their cars perform better.
The German had been among the most out-spoken critics of the tyres following the dramatic incidents at Silverstone, but insisted that he was only concerned from a safety point of view, despite cynics suggesting that the switch back towards 2012 specifications would favour Red Bull over some of its rivals.
“Whenever I opened my mouth, it was purely targeted at safety, because it can't be the case that we go out and have a race like at Silverstone,” Vettel commented, “I think, at the end of the day, we step into the car, we want to race, race at the limit, and we cannot drive into the unknown.
“We are leading the team championship and the drivers' championship and, if anything, we are the ones that have most to lose. Nevertheless, we pushed very hard, at least I did, from the drivers' point of view. I wasn't shy of communicating, and I think we are happier overall - all the drivers – with the tyres we raced this weekend. Whether it suits your car or not is secondary.”
Among those teams opposing the switch of tyres before the FIA mandated it on safety grounds were Lotus and Force India, but the former's Romain Grosjean admits that he liked the revised rubber last weekend.
“I think, when we tested it in Canada, personally, I quite liked them,” the Frenchman said, “They were more proper racing tyres with the different rear belt, so I was sort of happy that they brought them here. I think the compounds – medium and soft – were better than hard and medium normally, so I am looking forward to using the full new tyres from Budapest onwards that I understood a little bit better last year than this year.
“The fronts are a bit strange sometimes but, as Sebastian said, I think the main thing was to have a safety issue. We all remember Felipe Massa in 2009 and we don't want to see the same thing with a piece of tyre, so we were glad that Pirelli did something - and well done to them, because it wasn't easy.”
While the revised rears taken to the Nurburgring were an interim measure in reaction to the blow-outs suffered at Silverstone, the Hungarian Grand Prix, in three weeks' time, expects to see yet another specification introduced, closer to the 2012 tyres that clearly suited Red Bull, although Vettel believes that nothing is yet set in stone.
“First of all, I think we have to wait now,” he advised, “I think there's a test at Silverstone where race drivers are allowed to test for at least a day and get a little bit more of an idea [about the tyre]. Then I think Pirelli will make up their mind and get together with the FIA. Whether the teams like it or not, it doesn't matter.
“I think, at this point, we don't know which tyres we are running in Hungary, but the most important thing is that we learn the lesson from previous races, especially Silverstone. Here [at the Nurburgring], nothing happened, which is good, but it's good to have another proper look, especially around Silverstone, and then decide for the remainder of the season.”