Lewis Hamilton arrived, smiled, talked and immediately claimed the limelight Thursday when, sporting a mop of newly-dyed blond hair, he warned that Pirelli’s recommendations on tyre pressure for this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix could be disastrous.
Two weeks on from winning a thrilling Belgian Grand Prix, punctuated by spectacular tyre failures, the two-time defending world champion made a dramatic entrance at the Autodromo Nazional.
His appearance caught the eye, his body language oozed confidence, and a sense of humour, and his comments raised eyebrows. It remains to be seen if his father and family approve of the new bleached-boy look, trapped albeit beneath a reversed baseball cap.
His hair, or that part of it that was on view, was the first thing to grab the attention as photographers made a trail and cameras whirred, the second and most vital was the way he slammed the recommendations of Pirelli about tyre pressures at Monza.
Asked about tyres, and specifically Pirelli’s response to the two high-speed blowouts suffered by Rosberg and four-time champion German Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari in Belgium, Hamilton delivered a scathing response.
To a suggestion that the recommended ‘starting’ pressure for the racing tyres be raised from the normal pressure of 18 psi to 23, at the front, and 22, at the rear, he reacted with alarm.
“That’s definitely too high and definitely the wrong way to react,” Hamilton said.
“The wear will be higher and there will be less grip and it could end up in a disaster.
“A couple of psi might be ok, but five or six is too much.”
Earlier, Rosberg and Vettel had accepted a statement explaining the causes of their punctures in Belgium as “going in the right direction”.
Having won last year’s race, he will on Sunday seek to add to his championship lead by becoming the first driver, since Damon Hill in 1994, to win Monza two years running.