Esteban Ocon has claimed that Renault detected tyre cuts during practice for Formula 1’s British Grand Prix, in the wake of three drivers suffering failures late in the race.
Mercedes pair Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, along with McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr., had left-front punctures in the closing laps of the grand prix at Silverstone on Sunday.
Red Bull also revealed that ’50 little cuts’ were detected on the Hard tyre that was removed from Max Verstappen’s RB16 with two laps left.
Pirelli has already launched an investigation into the cause of the failures.
“We have seen a lot of cuts and stuff that we normally don’t see in practice,” said Ocon, who finished sixth.
“It is true that Silverstone is probably the toughest circuit for tyres with a high speed and the kerbs.
“There is a new thing out of Turn 13; Maggots, Becketts, Chapel, this combination of corners. At the right-hander, Turn 13 exit, now there is no kerb anymore. Which there was before. So you run in the dirt and then you go on to the kerb, and that could also damage your tyres.
“I don’t know if it came from the carbon debris or just the track being very hard with the tyres.
“The new cars are wider than I was used to in ‘18, that’s for sure. But yeah we have seen more damage and more cuts to the tyres than we have ever seen.”
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel also revealed post-race that “when I stopped the car in parc ferme I could see that there was quite a big cut so I guess I was lucky: it could have been probably a couple of laps.
“I don’t know how long the cut has been there so I think several cars had issues: probably some got caught out and others were lucky.”
Williams’ George Russell, who finished 12th, commented that he had concerns at a stage where he did not realise others were suffering from problems.
“I actually wasn’t aware of anybody’s issues,” he said. “I actually came on the radio with a couple of laps to go and explained my tyres were in really poor shape and I said that I’m just going to bring the car home because I feel like I’m going to get a puncture.
“But I thought to myself surely not, punctures are a thing of the past, and then I came in and learned that three other drivers got punctures!
“So I’m pretty pleased that I brought the car home in those final two laps. Silverstone’s brutal, it’s so fast. We’re almost flat every single lap through Copse, which you’re doing 280km/h through there every single lap.”