Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Imola, 2020

Red Bull suspect debris caused tyre failure which ended Verstappen’s race

2020 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Red Bull suspect debris caused the tyre failure which ended Max Verstappen’s race after he passed Valtteri Bottas for second place.

Verstappen’s race began well as he passed Lewis Hamilton immediately after the start.

“The start was good,” said Verstappen. “I got Lewis and then I was trying to stay with Valtteri.

“We both pitted of course, I tried to do the undercut. Then I think he had damage on the floor, so we were losing a lot of lap time and I couldn’t get close as this track is so hard to pass.”

After Hamilton got ahead of the pair of them through the pits, Verstappen also demoted Bottas. He took advantage of a mistake by the Mercedes driver, who was coping with a damaged car, at Rivazza on lap 43.

But a right-rear tyre failure pitched Verstappen’s car into a gravel trap at Villeneuve eight laps later.

“The pace was good, the car was feeling quite good and then suddenly on the straight I lost the car,” Verstappen explains.

“There was a tyre blow-out. I don’t know exactly what happened, but when I quickly looked at the car there was nothing broken on the car.

“It’s a big shame. It was a lot more fun as well. I was really pushing and trying to stay with them.. So it was a shame, not only to not be on the podium but also to have been second.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says the team believes the failure was caused by debris.

“We think that he’s picked up or hit some kind of debris,” explained Horner.

“He was on the radio to his race engineer at the time and ‘boom’ – the tyre suddenly went. It suggests it was just a total instantaneous puncture and that was a result of it. So very, very frustrating. It felt like today he had pretty decent pace so annoying not to get second place today.”

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2020 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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24 comments on “Red Bull suspect debris caused tyre failure which ended Verstappen’s race”

  1. And somewhere in Mongolia, an ambassador mumbled to himself: “karma”

    1. Either it was karma or sabotage. I mostly believe someone sabotaged him.

  2. Nah it was sabotage. Clear sabotage since Hockenheim 2018.

  3. Seems as likely as anything. It has been the standard reason given for all of them with Pirelli for years afterall!

    Seriously, I wouldn’t even be surprised if it was some chip of Vettels wing that was lodged under Bottas car. Afterall Verstappen was close behind Bottas for quite a few laps before he got past.

    1. @bascb that does seem to be the consensus, although the source of that debris is not entirely sure. Whilst a piece of the debris that was on Bottas’s car could have dropped off, I would have thought that less likely given that Max had passed Bottas quite a few laps earlier.

      There are a few alternative theories going around, as it seems more likely that Max picked up his puncture at Ravazza. It was noted he was using the kerbs more aggressively than other drivers were through those corners, and running the car wider on the exit kerbs would increase the risk of picking up debris that might have been dropped there.
      An alternative theory is that, since the damage seemed to occur closer to the inner shoulder, it may have been a case of the floor rubbing against the tyre and eventually cutting through the carcass.

  4. Looking after the tyres, avoiding debris, that’s down to then driver

    1. edit

      Looking after the tyres, avoiding debris, that’s down to the driver

      1. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
        1st November 2020, 20:38

        Clearly a comment from someone that hasn’t raced at all.

  5. Verstappen needs to go to Renault.

  6. A good race, a bad result. Game over for the fight for 2nd in the championship, bar some very bad luck for Valtteri. Now just focus on individual races.

  7. Another time the owners of Red Bull lying to cover up the disasters that their star driver makes.
    It was clearly explained by the TV commentators that the tire exploded due to the poor treatment the Dutchman gave it.

    1. @jorge-lardone
      yes it was amazing how fast he went on that tire. Nothing good will come of that..

    2. @jorge-lardone
      Pirelli: It was debris.
      Some hateful clown on the internet with zero race experience and the intellect of a turd: “It was clearly explained by the TV commentators that the tire exploded due to the poor treatment the Dutchman gave it.”
      Yeah right, Jorge, once again highlighting your hateful cluelesness.

  8. Did you notice they are seemingly pricking Honda now that they are leaving? “Ah, we’ve just checked the GPS and the car is amazing in corners, just slow on the straights” and “Tell us what you think about that useless engine mode 8, Max!”

  9. Now the rest of the season is practically useless to watch. Merc and RB are going to prepare their cars for next season. Plenty of time. The rest? Abandon all hope.

  10. Max was really close to Bottas for a very long time and I was thinking this cannot be good for his tyres. So not sure it that was part of the problem or if it was just debris but it crossed my mind that his tyres wont last following Bottas so close for so many laps

  11. Max was extremely unlucky.

    Hamilton popped a tyre at Silverstone but still managed to cross the line in first.

    Some people get all the luck.

    I think Hamilton’s had one mechanical retirement in about 4 years now. Luckiest guy on the grid.

    1. Yes, Ham has all the luck. He only had to bring home 3 tyres on the last lap, whereas Max had to wrestle the car home with one extra tyre.
      I felt sorry for Max that day. The two cars in front of him got punctures. How unlucky can he get?

    2. Both Bottas and Hamilton retired from the Austrian gp in 2018 due to gearbox and engine failures.

      1. Yes, that’s the one in the last four years I’m talking about.

    3. Well you can’t really blame the Merc for being bulletproof. That’s what the regulations ask the teams to do and Mercedes has responded to this to perfection.

      Besides that: yes, Lewis has had some luck. But it’s impossible to point at 93 wins and say ‘it was all luck’. If we were (able) to put in the rulebook that no luck should be granted to car no. 44 he’d still be as dominant as he is.

      Bad luck for Max. Onwards and upwards.

    4. I think luck for Hamilton comes in 2 flavors (don’t know the balance) 1) Created Luck – staying out much longer than planned or desired by the team – he put himself in a position where #2 can be much bigger 2) Luck – VSC / SC when your tire are getting old and comes out just before you reach pit entrance.

      Without #1, his luck would look very much like the luck others get – random.

      At a macro level, the universe has very big plans for Lewis, driving is just a way to elevate his status for the next big thing he is supposed to accomplish. For example, my wife knows tons about Lewis & Roscoe and very little about how he does on the track. He is building a massive base of supporters and many know little about F1 beyond how to spell it.

  12. That tire appears to have eliminated from the inside wall a few milliseconds before complete failure, doesn’t appear to be debris. Would be nice to know how hot it was at that inside corner. See new video at released an hour ago.

  13. “Delaminated” not “eliminated”. That is a technical term.

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