Formula 1 - Mercedes expects boost from tyre tweak

Mercedes duo Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton believe their chances of a good result in the Spanish Grand Prix have been boosted by the change in the hard compound tyre.

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Although Mercedes struggled in Bahrain with overheating rear tyres, both drivers think that cooler European weather and moving the hard Pirelli's operating window in line with the medium will help them.

"The [new hard] tyre is closer to the operating window of the medium," explained Rosberg.

"The hard was the tyre that we had the most problems with, especially here in winter testing with all the graining. The conditions that we have on the weekend here will help."

When asked why, if Mercedes has struggled because its tyres are too hot, a tyre that operates in a cooler window will be better, Rosberg said: "Everybody is overheating in a way.

"The temperatures we get at the moment are massively high, for everybody. It is just that in cold conditions the temperature range the tyre is made for is important.

"Bringing it to a lower temperature range is the temperature the tyres are designed for. It will make them work in a more normal way and not have as much graining for example."

Hamilton believes that Mercedes' struggles in Bahrain had been a good learning experience for his team, as it bids to build on its strong qualifying performance with good race runs.

"I definitely feel that this is going to be different," said Hamilton. "Obviously Bahrain was very much rear limited there.

"On my side of the garage we were quite positive, at least in the second half of the race. So I am excited about the things we learned in that race and hopefully we can bring it here.

"Here is about balance between front and rear degradation, so front left and rear tyres will be an interesting one.

"We have the new harder tyre which hopefully will play into our hands a bit more - but everyone is in the same boat. However, with the [track] temperatures also, we stand a better chance."

DEBRIEF: WHAT IS NEW ABOUT THE HARD?

Formula 1 teams are going to get their first taste of the new hard tyre during first free practice in Spain - although they should get very few surprises.

The new compound is identical to last year's hard. The only difference between the two is the construction changes that were introduced over the winter.

Pirelli has delivered the compound change to try to make life easier for the teams during the cooler European phase of the season.

The high temperatures of Malaysia and Bahrain had highlighted difficulties teams faced in getting a good balance on both the medium and hard, with the latter having a higher operating window.

Had that tyre been used in Europe, then teams may have struggled to find a set-up that was aggressive enough to get it working but that did not then overheat the other compound available.

The new hard has an operating window almost identical to the medium, which should make it easier for the teams to get a set-up that works on both tyres.

That should open up more options in races and make both tyres an attractive choice for races.

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