Pirelli says Mercedes has no extra tyre concerns in Bahrain

Pirelli has played down suggestions that Mercedes could face tyre dramas in Bahrain - by revealing that the team is not suffering any more than its rivals

Pirelli says Mercedes has no extra tyre concerns in Bahrain

Nico Rosberg topped the times in Friday practice, but afterwards said he was worried about the tyre situation because it appeared his rubber was overheating badly.

However, Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery says all teams are suffering like Mercedes - which means the Brackley-based team could be in better shape than even it believes.

"That [overheating] is quite normal at 47 degrees and quite a slippery track," Hembery told AUTOSPORT. "They are no different to anyone else.

"You have to be careful, because as an individual you would think that the tyres are degrading at twice the level they were in Shanghai - up to two tenths of a second a lap on the soft. So comparing those factors you would go, 'oh my gosh!' But the reality is that the situation is remarkably similar through the paddock."

Hembery has always insisted that Mercedes' tyre troubles have never been as bad as some have made out - and he thinks the outfit is right up there with McLaren and Red Bull Racing in being a potential winner.

"I think people are confusing last year's car with this year's car," he said about the Mercedes situation. "That is our reading of it, because we are a little bit mystified sometimes with the comments made when we are looking at the raw data.

"We do have the benefit of seeing all the data from all the teams, and we felt Mercedes was going to be very competitive this year. I have gone on record as saying I would put money down on Michael Schumacher for victory this year, and I put him down to win in Malaysia, so that cost me £50.

"Clearly there are three cars pretty well close together at the front, and sat here now I would not want to call it between McLaren, Mercedes and Red Bull. It would be difficult to say who they think is going to win."

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Series Formula 1
Teams Mercedes
Author Jonathan Noble
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