Hamilton says new surface has spoiled “fantastic” Istanbul · RaceFans

by Nov 13, 20200 comments

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Lewis Hamilton criticised the new surface which has been laid at Istanbul Park, saying it has spoiled an otherwise “fantastic” circuit.

The track, which F1 last raced at in 2011, was recently resurfaced ahead of the championship’s return. Little running has taken place on it since then and the track was doused with water to clean it before first practice, presenting a very challenging surface for drivers.

Hamilton described Friday practice as “a bit of a disaster” as a result.

“This track is such a fantastic circuit and I really don’t fully understand when they spend millions to re-do a surface on the track. I know it’s been sitting around for a long time, they probably could have just cleaned it, maybe, instead of wasting all their money.”

He said the lack of grip was even worse than it had been at the Autodromo do Algarve in Portugal, which was also recently shortly before its first F1 race last month.

“The track is worse than Portimao was when we had that brand new surface there. So for us the tyres aren’t working and you can see it’s like an ice rink out there.

“So you don’t get quite the enjoyment of the lap that as you would normally get in Istanbul and I don’t see that changing.”

The lack of grip is making it very difficult to keep the tyres in the correct operating temperature window, said Hamilton.

“It’s terrifying the whole way around. It’s almost like there’s wet patches all over. So as you’re on slicks you’re accelerating and then it goes [into a skid] so fast.

“That’s because basically you’re way below the temperature window. These tyres are so hard and they work in a certain window and so if you’re 10, 20 degrees below they’re not working, if they’re 20 degrees over they’re not working.

“For some reason this surface is so smooth. The older circuits, unlike the surface here for example, it’s much more open between the tyres so it works the tyre more. This one it’s super-closed and flat and shiny and the oil seeps from the Tarmac. It’s shit with a capital ‘S’.”

Pirelli has brought its hardest tyre selection for this weekend’s race. Hamilton suspects they would have been better off bringing a softer selection.

“It would help, definitely. As you go down the range the hard tyre is useless and the medium tyre is so-so, the soft tyre is starting to be better. I think if we had gone down to the softest it may have been better.

“But it’s a really difficult circuit: Turn eight can kill the right tyre so who knows. It would have worked a little bit better than it is, but it is what it is.”

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