Hamilton bows out of Pirelli 2017 spec tire test

The post-season Abu Dhabi test is underway with three mule cars from Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari taking laps on the 2017 Pirelli tire compounds. The new tires are wider than previous seasons and intended to provide a much larger contact patch and more grip as a result.

For Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton was to handle the duties today but left the car to Pascal Werhlein as he wasn’t feeling well after a few laps. I must admit that after such pressure and big events, I’m prone to crash after the finale but I doubt that’s Lewis’s issue.

Although he did bail out of a previous test after the Spanish Grand Prix and Sky Sports F1 says that’s because he was furious with the team and threatened to stop driving for them. The team immediately brought Pascal in for that test too. If you’re a conspiracy theorist, then perhaps you will try connecting dots and say that he’s thrown to toys from the pram again after losing the title this weekend. That would be odd because team boss Toto Wolff seemed supportive of his drive in the race as were we in our race review podcast—not that he cares what we think of course.

Kimi Raikkonen is handling the testing for Ferrari and both Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo are holding the fort for Red Bull.

So what are the changes? Mercedes director of engineering, Aldo Costa, did a nice video explaining what the changes will be for 2017 and why he thinks they will work.