NURBURGRING, Germany (AFP) – Lewis Hamilton's hopes of registering his maiden victory for his new Mercedes team have suffered a setback with the revised tyre regulations introduced at last weekend's German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring.
His Mercedes team chief Ross Brawn confirmed as much on Monday when he admitted that the ban on swapping rear tyres from wheel to wheel combined with the high temperatures led to the team's weaknesses being exposed again.
Hamilton battled to finish fifth after starting from pole and his problems were a reminder of the team's early season struggles with the fast-wearing Pirellis.
Hamilton said: "It would be good to get a win but at the moment it really doesn't feel like it's going to happen. Luck is definitely not with me, but who knows? At some stage it's got to come."
The 2008 champion has started from pole at the last two races. At the British Grand Prix, he led but then suffered the first of the four tyre blowouts that led to the crisis which ushered in a change of tyres and revised rules for using them.
Brawn said: "The construction of the tyre has changed and I think the ability to swap tyres before was a good way of off-setting the stress of the tyre. You could use it in qualifying and then swap it, and have it in a different condition for the race.
"You cannot do it with these tyres and I think we were back into going over the limit of the temperature of the tyres and suffering from it. The first half of the race was pretty horrible for us but in the second half, the fuel weight went down, it got a touch cooler and we got back in the window again.
"The times were respectable, so it shows how critical we are. On high fuel at the beginning of a race when we were trying to push we overstressed the tyre, and we need to find solutions to overcome that."
As Brawn and his boffins work on the car, the team's motorsport chief Toto Wolff said he was talking to the sport's rulers about allowing Mercedes to take some part in the young drivers' test at Silverstone later this month. They were banned after taking part in an earlier allegedly secret test in Spain.
He said it was not about performance gain but safety issues, especially now that teams were allowed to run their senior drivers at the test.
"When it is about safety, it would be good if all teams are clear whether they (the tyres) work on their cars," he told AUTOSPORT. "But it is up to the FIA to decide. Safety is the priority for the FIA and I am sure they would safeguard that it is the same for everybody."