Albon unimpressed with “painful” Pirelli tyre performance at F1 Chinese GP

Photo credit: Williams Racing
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Williams driver Alex Albon was unimpressed with the performance of Pirelli’s tyres in China, calling the experience “painful.”

Albon pinned the extreme tyre degradation on Pirelli’s decision to raise the minimum front tyre pressures to 27psi for the Chinese Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton made similar remarks after the race. 

“The undercut here was huge,” Albon said on F1TV’s Post-Race Show. “It was amazing. These tyres this weekend have been…struggling is the most diplomatic word to use.”

Albon revealed that he could feel his tyres dropping off after just a few corners.

“Pirelli obviously increased the minimum tyre pressures again last night. The tyres last literally four corners out of the pit lane. You feel really good through [Turn] 2, 3, and then they are gone again.

“It’s so high that it’s literally just tearing the tyre up. And ‘safety, safety’ but it’s painful. Anyway, that’s the same for everyone.”

He noted that the elevated tyre pressure necessitated adjustments to their front wing angles during the race to compensate for the degradation.

“I mean, we’re putting so much flap in the car,” Albon said. “Normally you take out flap for a race car, but you’ve just got to keep it in and try and deal with the oversteer.”

Having started 14th, Albon could only climb up to 12th in the race, sandwiched between the Alpine duo and five seconds shy of the top 10. 

“I don’t know if that Safety Car benefitted us or hindered us. Tricky. I think for the whole midfield […] for a lot of drivers it was difficult.

“Pirelli again went another step on the tyre pressures, which is totally not fun at all. And yeah, we’re just battling a lot of deg. (…) We’re lacking a serious amount of front. When we have to go in deep, it’s a bit like a mess.”