Lewis Hamilton suspects Pirelli’s increased tyre pressures contributed to Mercedes’ degradation issues during Formula 1’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.

Hamilton finished second behind Max Verstappen’s Red Bull after the Dutchman was able to manage his tyres better than the Mercedes pair, who were both struggling with blistering throughout in the two-stop race.

The six-times world champion believes that the increased tyre pressures - a countermeasure following a trio of late failures seen at Silverstone in last weekend’s British Grand Prix - ultimately hurt Mercedes more than Red Bull.

“You look at their tyres, they have not had the problems we have today,” Hamilton explained. “It was definitely unexpected to have this blistering as hardcore as we experienced.

“I’m really grateful to have progressed and managed to just get my way through the race. I think right at the end I had blistering again, but I’d been pushing pretty heavily to catch the guys in the lead.”

Asked what he felt was the reason that Mercedes struggled more than its rivals, Hamilton replied: "Not that I know of at the moment, but I'm sure the team will be working as hard as they can, because we've not had that before.

"I would imagine most likely is obviously Pirelli were struggling with tyre failures last week. So then weekend on weekend, they just put the pressures up and up and up and up. They're balloons now, they're the highest pressures we've ever had on a track like that.

"I wouldn't be surprised if that was a thing for us, but I don't know if anyone else struggled with blistering like we had so it's something we'll look into.”

After passing Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas in the closing stages for second, Hamilton has now moved 34 points clear of the Finn in the championship, though Verstappen’s win has lifted him up to second, 30 points down on the Briton.

 

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