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Tyre fears prompted Hamilton’s three-stop strategy 11 May 2008

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren celebrates his second position on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Turkish Grand Prix, Race, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Sunday, 11 May 2008 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4/23 makes a qualifying pitstop.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Turkish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Saturday, 10 May 2008 Tyres on a McLaren Mercedes MP4/23.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Turkish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Saturday, 10 May 2008

Team boss Ron Dennis has revealed that McLaren had no choice but to adopt a three-stop strategy for Lewis Hamilton in Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix due to fears over his tyres’ durability. Bridgestone have confirmed the problem was unique to Hamilton.

Starting from third on the grid, Hamilton put in a strong performance to take second place, just ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, but the need for an additional stop arguably prevented him challenging Felipe Massa for victory.

“Today we saw a truly phenomenal drive from Lewis, in which he optimised a three-stop strategy that we were forced to adopt as a consequence of concerns we had with his tyres,” said Dennis. “As a result of the eight points that his second-placed finish netted him, he closed the gap on Kimi in the world drivers’ championship to just seven points.”

Hamilton experienced a dramatic tyre failure in the 2007 Turkish race and despite changes to the tyres for this year, in the case of the British driver, Bridgestone had worries over him running just two stops around the punishing Istanbul Park circuit.

“The reason we went with a three-stopper was due to Bridgestone being concerned as they thought the tyre was going to fail like it did last year,” said Hamilton after the race. “Therefore, they made us do a three stop as it was the safest route to go.

“Unfortunately for us, that put us in not such a strong position to win the race. However, I am given a problem and I deal with it and so do the team and that’s why I still believe that we are the best. I really have to say a big thank you to the team who did a great job in all the pit stops.”

Commenting on the issue, Hirohide Hamashima, Bridgestone Motorsport’s tyre development director, said: “Bridgestone and the team had safety concerns which did influence his strategy, however he achieved a very good result. These concerns affected no other car on the grid, and we will be analysing the data to see what we can learn from this. We did see three cars finish the race after making only one stop, so durability was certainly strong for the tyres for these competitors.”