Mercedes' George Russell has criticised Pirelli's Extreme wet tyre as 'pointless' after all 20 drivers changed onto Intermediate tyres early in Saturday's F1 Sprint at Spa-Francorchamps.
Heavy rain had delayed the start of the Sprint and when the race did get going, the cars circulated for four laps behind the Safety Car before a rolling start ensued.
F1 rules decree that a Safety Car start means all the cars must be fitted with Extreme Wet tyres but when the Safety Car pulled in, ten cars immediately pitted to change to Intermediate tyres before crossing the start line, with the other ten doing likewise at the end of the first racing lap.
Russell, who finished eighth in the Sprint, told media including RacingNews365: "The extreme tyre is a pretty pointless tyre. It’s really, really bad.
"It is six, seven seconds slower than the Intermediate, and the only reason you would ever run it is if you aquaplane on the Intermediate, so that needs to be substantially improved.
"I remember watching the old onboard videos of 2007 with [Felipe] Massa and [Robert] Kubica in Fuji. So much water and still [able to] push flat out.
"I remember doing test days here in F3 on [other tyres made by] Michelin and Hankook, and aquaplaning wasn't really as thing.
"I appreciate we are doing over 200mph and it's not straightforward, but there need to be some significant improvements."
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Ferrari's Charles Leclerc echoed Russell's thoughts, adding: "There's some work that needs to be done there, because we've got Extreme tyres that are really slow, but really good for [avoiding] aquaplaning.
"But we never drive in those conditions because of [a lack of] visibility.
"Whenever it's drivable, we need to go on Inters. It's quite tricky at the moment.
“I think the Extreme should be faster and closer to the Inters so we run more on the Extreme than the Inters."