Lewis Hamilton is hoping Pirelli's new tires will not hurt Mercedes' Formula 1 championship changes, as he prepares to try them for the first time.
Pirelli is introducing a different construction for its tires for this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix, switching to the 2012 design. Mercedes was the only team that could not test the tires ahead of this weekend as it was banned from the young driver test at Silverstone.
The team has struggled with the tires in races this year, with Hamilton dropping from first to fifth in the German Grand Prix earlier this month. Hamilton is hoping that the new tires will at least not make his plight even worse.
"We haven't understood the tires, or we would have better results," said Hamilton at a pre-race press conference. "So whatever we have now we'll find out if it helps when we put the new tires on. I'm just hoping when we put these tires on at least they won't be any more of a negative for us. Hopefully it will help us keep the pace a little bit more.
"We have to fight for positions higher than fifth and start off the race better, because in the second part of the race we seem to be as quick, if not quicker than others."
REASSURED BY CAR'S PACE
Despite the uncertainty about the tires, Hamilton admitted knowing that Mercedes has the quickest car in qualifying trim makes him very positive ahead of every race.
"I come here positive because I know that I have a car that's improved with more upgrades, and knowing that we were on pole in the last race and that we have a fine chance of doing the same this weekend," he added. "But whether we'll win is yet to be seen. That's what we are working toward.
"It's a really positive feeling going to a track knowing it's going to be good, whether the tires will work in our favor or not. It's what you think about when you come to the races. The only downer is the tires."