Rosberg: tyre pressures hurt Mercedes pace

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Nico Rosberg thinks high tyre pressures hurt Mercedes’ outright pace at the Belgian Grand Prix, though the Mercedes driver comfortably won the race last Sunday.

F1’s official supplier Pirelli had imposed minimum tyre pressures of 23.5psi for the front tyres and 22psi for the rears at Spa-Francorchamps. Combined with local temperatures in excess of 30˚C, many drivers struggled with tyre management and some openly complained about extreme degradation.

Rosberg’s team-mate Lewis Hamilton even labeled the pressures as “ridiculous” while Mercedes saw its qualifying advantage trim to less than two tenths.

“For sure the tyre pressures put us in a different area with the car [last] weekend and I think was one of the reasons why it was all very close in qualifying and closer than usual,” said Rosberg, who claimed victory from pole position. “It’s the same for everybody so we just have to manage that.”

“It was a strange weekend and we really had to adapt a lot... as a result we really did a great job because we changed the car a lot.

“Through the weekend we kept improving and by the time the race came we looked really good.”

Rosberg adds that the upcoming Italian Grand Prix could present Mercedes with a similar challenge, though its unique, ultra-fast layout could minimise the impact of Pirelli’s limits.

“Monza is going to be another one where the tyre pressures are going to be really high, so that’s going to be a challenge for us - but it’s a different track so maybe not.”

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