Sebastian Vettel's British GP tyre failure caused by slow puncture, Pirelli confirm
German suffered front-left problem two laps from the end of race
By William Esler
Last Updated: 03/08/17 9:03pm
Sebastian Vettel's front-left tyre failure during the closing stages of the British GP was caused by a slow puncture, Pirelli have confirmed.
The world championship leader was forced to limp back to the pits with just two laps remaining, with his tyre starting to delaminate.
The German would eventually finish seventh, having inherited third when Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen also suffered front-left tyre problems, which resulted in his championship lead being reduced to one point after Lewis Hamilton claimed victory at Silverstone.
Pirelli remain unsure what caused the Finn's issue, though, and will carry out further tests.
Speaking after the race, Vettel said the blow-up had come completely out of the blue.
"It was very sudden. Obviously once Valtteri [Bottas] passed I dropped the pace and tried to get the car home, turning everything down," he said.
"For sure we lost a bit of pace because the tyres were going down [in performance] but nothing out of the ordinary. So it was quite sudden when the tyre decided not to take me to the end of the race."
Vettel's soft tyres had been on his car for 30 laps, over half the race distance, but the German had said this should not have caused a problem and denied Ferrari had pushed them over the limit.
"For sure the tyres were not brand new. They were on the tyre for 30-odd laps, but from what we predicted in terms of wear it should have been no problem to carry on," he added.
"The fact is that the tyre blow-ups came by surprise. It's not like we were gambling and jeopardising our race result."
Full Pirelli statement:
'Pirelli has concluded the analysis on Sebastian Vettel's damaged front-left P Zero Yellow soft tyre, which affected him two laps from the finish of the British Grand Prix.
'As appeared clear since Sunday afternoon, a full investigation has now confirmed that the original cause of the failure was a slow puncture. The consequent driving back to the pits on an underinflated and then flat tyre led to the final failure.
'Kimi Raikkonen's damaged tyre shows less evidence of what occurred, so further tests and analysis are still ongoing in Pirelli's laboratories and indoor testing facilities. It will take a few more days to reach a definitive conclusion.'
If you are using skysports.com you can comment below to get involved in the debate, but please adhere to our House Rules. If you wish to report any comment, simply click on the down arrow next to the offending comment and click 'Report'.