Formula 1’s tyre supplier Pirelli has launched an investigation into the failures that affected three of the top five drivers in the closing stages of the British Grand Prix.
Valtteri Bottas suffered a failure with three laps to go, followed by fifth-placed Carlos Sainz Jr., while leader Lewis Hamilton then hit trouble halfway around the final lap at Silverstone.
Hamilton reached the finish on three fully operational tyres to pick up victory while elsewhere cuts were also found on the tyres used by others.
Max Verstappen, who made a late stop, also had cuts on his Hard tyres, as did Sebastian Vettel and George Russell, when they were examined post-race.
“It could be high wear, because for sure tyres with 38 laps or more on this circuit are quite worn, but I’m not saying wear is the cause of the issue,” said Pirelli chief Mario Isola.
“It can be debris because we had pieces of front wing of Kimi [Raikkonen] which were on track, but also some other debris.
“Which is why we want to investigate not only the tyres with the failures but all the tyres used in the last few laps of the race, to understand if we find any other cut or any other possible indication of what happened.
“We have the possibility to do some analysis in our laboratories at the track. We don’t have a lot of time to investigate as we have another race in another week, so we have to come to a conclusion as soon as possible the target is to have something more by Tuesday at the latest.”
Most of the field had come in for Hard tyres when AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat crashed out on lap 13, meaning they needed to complete 39 laps on one set, most at full racing speed.
“The level of wear is quite high, this is a fact,” said Isola.
“Looking at the tyre from [Romain] Grosjean from the first stint, it was completely worn.
“I had a look at some tyres from the second stint, and the level of wear is close to 100 per cent, so we have to understand if this is the cause of the failure.
“What is clear is that when you have a tyre that is completely worn, the protection on the tread is less so if there is a small piece of debris on track, it’s easy to damage the tyre.
“Some chords are visible on the tyre, so that’s why I’m saying the level of wear is close to 100 per cent.”