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GP Week : Issue 10
LEWIS Hamilton’s three-stop strategy was dictated by a tyre issue. Hirohide Hamashima, Director of Bridgestone Motorsport tyre Development, told GPWeek that the issue, which forced the McLaren team to run Lewis Hamilton on the three-stop strategy, was completely unique to the British driver, and that it was a separate issue to the tyre delamination Hamilton suffered in Turkey last season. “Last year we had a delamination problem with the tyre shoulder at Turn 8 where the tyre rolled over with a big lateral force, so on the outside of the front right tyre there was a small area working too much,” he said after the race. “Then we found the delamination with Lewis. However, we saw a big delamination on Lewis but we found small failures for all the drivers. Then we improved the construction during the winter. “This weekend we never saw the trouble like this, so it’s not the same trouble, even with Lewis Hamilton. But then the car is a little bit quicker and somehow Lewis’ driving technique is different to other guys, and we found a small failure inside his right front tyre, inside the sidewall. So then we discussed with McLaren about how to fix those troubles.” Hamashima says that Bridgestone had suggested a two stop strategy to McLaren, but that ultimately the team had erred on the side of caution. “We suggested an 18 laps, 20 laps, 20 laps strategy but finally they decided on a three stop strategy.” He also revealed that the issue had been identical with both compound of tyre, and that Lewis’ unique driving style was the potential root cause of the issue. “This is not related to compound softness. It is a constructural problem. Heikki has no problem. Only Lewis. He’s a bit severe on the front tyre.” issue “unique” BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen has declared himself happy with his team’s result in Turkey – despite neither Robert Kubica nor Nick Heidfeld being able to challenge the pace of the Ferraris and McLarens, Dr Theissen said that finishing fourth and fifth was the best result possible: “Taking our starting positions of fifth and ninth into account, I am very happy with today’s result. “Both drivers gained positions at the start. Kimi Raikkonen was able to overtake Robert during his first pit stop as we expected. On the other hand, Nick gained two places during his first pit stop. Fourth and fifth and nine championship points underline the team’s performance today.” The team will be conscious however that it could not compete with the podium finishers. After such a strong start to the season, BMW’s expectations of a race win have been heightened in 2008. While the points undoubtedly help the team in its quest to fight for the constructors’ championship, the elusive first win is the ultimate goal. “In terms of car performance, Ferrari has an edge,” Theissen told reporters earlier in the weekend. “In the past two races we were equal with McLaren. It is a bit difficult to find out how big the gap really is because I’m not sure if Ferrari was going full pace, but the gap certainly is smaller than it used to be; it’s coming down. Ferrari needs a strong day as well to win a race. If anything goes wrong, we can be there and I hope we will be there.” BMW confident despite being off the pace 32