IN THIS ISSUE
“Everything was fine, and then...”
Sebastian Vettel says he is still baffled by the tyre failure that cost him the chance of fighting for victory in last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix.
The Ferrari driver was leading at the time of the failure, while most others had already stopped.
The German was trying to extend the first stint on the super-soft tyre as long as possible before the dramatic blow-out on lap 26.
Vettel said there was no warning of any tyre trouble and he doesn’t understand why it happened.
He said: “There were no signs before that, everything was normal. It’s completely a question mark on why the tyre failed.”
Vettel added that he didn’t think Ferrari were taking a risk by leaving him out for so long on older tyres, as other drivers had also managed lengthy stints on even softer rubber.
“It was clear everybody had much more tyre life than expected, so 27 laps is not much on that [super-soft] compound,” he said.
“Everybody was trying to go longer on the tyres. Kimi [Raikkonen] did more than 20 laps on the ultra-soft, there were other people who did more laps on the super-soft.”
Pirelli is trying to establish what happened but because the whole tread was lost as a result of the explosion it makes it harder to identify the cause. The tyre firm has dismissed claims that the failure was caused by debris, insisting there’s not yet any proof that was the case.
Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene was baffled as to why Vettel was the only driver to suffer.
“We are talking with Pirelli to understand the reason,” he said. “Other teams were running without any problem. This is really strange. That happened when he was leading the race and all of a sudden, with no prior warning.”