Following the high-speed crashes of Max Verstappen and Lance Stroll, Pirelli says debris on the track is likely the cause of the Dutch and Canadian drivers' crashes, as the Milan-based tyre supplier also reveals cut found in Hamilton tyre.
Temperatures were somewhat cooler than they had been over the previous two days, with 26 degrees of ambient temperature and 39 degrees of track temperature when the race began. Pirelli expected the majority of the field to opt for a one-stop strategy given the results from Friday’s long runs. And that was indeed the case today with most drivers selecting a soft to hard strategy before a red flag period.
There was namely an interruption just a couple of laps before the chequered flag fell with another interruption in form of a safety car period just over halfway through the race, when Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll crashed close to the entrance of the pit lane, following a deflation of the rear-left tyre. When the pit lane re-opened, five drivers chose to make a second stop, fitting either the hard or the soft tyre.
The red flag was brought about by Max Verstappen, who was then leading with five laps to go when he suffered his own blowout going down the main straight, the Dutchman also spearing into the wall after his left-rear tyre appeared to let go.
The Milan-based manufacturer stated that the initial observations have already been made as to what could have caused these incidents affecting the rear-left tyre. None of the other tyres in the race of a similar (or older) age showed any signs of excessive wear, there was evidence of a cut found on another rear-left tyre fitted to Lewis Hamilton’s car during the same stint, there was no warning or vibration detected prior to either incident, and the rear-left tyre is actually not the most stressed on this circuit.
The Milan-based tyre manufacturer hinted that all of these considerations could point to an external factor.
Pirelli's Head of F1 and Car Racing Mario Isola does not think that extreme tyre wear led to the failures on Max Verstappen's and Lance Stroll's car during today's Baku race.
"We need to clearly establish the facts behind the incidents involving Lance Stroll and Max Verstappen to fully understand what happened. What we can say for now is that there was also a cut found on Hamilton’s tyre and that it's the rear-right tyre that actually works harder than the rear-left here.
"No warnings or vibrations were detected and none of the other tyres of a similar age or older showed any signs of excess wear. So we can not exclude that the damage was caused by an external factor, although these things shouldn’t happen and we can understand the need for answers.”