Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Baku City Circuit, 2021

Hamilton “lucky” to avoid similar failure to Verstappen as Pirelli discover cut tyre

2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton was potentially at risk of a tyre failure similar to that which put two other drivers out of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen and Lance Stroll both crashed out of Sunday’s race at high speed after suffering apparent failures on left-rear tyres. Pirelli’s head of Formula 1 Mario Isola confirmed Hamilton also had a seven centimetre cut on his left-rear tyre.

“Probably in the case of Lewis, the cut was not deep enough to cut the construction, so he was lucky because of all of that,” said Isola. “And in the case of Max and Lance, there was an air loss and therefore a failure.”

Isola confirmed the damage to Hamilton’s tyre was discovered when the race was stopped following Verstappen’s crash.

“We found a cut on the inside shoulder of a rear-left tyre used by Lewis Hamilton in the same stint,” he explained. “The cut was quite deeper and bigger, probably six or seven centimetres, but not cutting the construction. So the tyre was still in one piece.

“When there was the red flag and Lewis came to the pit lane and changed the set of tyres, we have been able to find the cut in the tyre.”

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff confirmed they had observed the damage to Hamilton’s tyre but said they would “wait for the analysis of what it was.”

“I don’t want to point the finger at anybody,” he added.

Pirelli is beginning an investigation into the failures which put both Verstappen and Stroll out of the race.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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40 comments on “Hamilton “lucky” to avoid similar failure to Verstappen as Pirelli discover cut tyre”

  1. I’ll say one thing for the 2021 Baku GP, which was mostly a boring affair, but man how it manages to bring new narratives.
    So much for Verstappen (and Stroll) not managing their tyres, ey?

    1. Who even suggested that @hahostolze and why do all your comments about F1 concern Verstappen?

      1. @john-h it was suggested, amongst others, on the page regarding the red flag and stoppage. Also other comments on the more general comments but I can’t be bothered to find those.

        As to your question, I’m sorry, do I need a particular reason for posting on here? I’ve been active on here for seven years, always supporting one driver (Kimi) as my profile clearly states, but yeah I’ve become more invested in a compatriot now that he’s actually doing really well and still only getting marginal recognition for it. I no longer have the time to follow every session and every detail of a weekend, as I used to, but when it matters I comment profusely and in support of those I feel need it. Does that adequately answer your question?

        Reply moderated
      2. @john-h it was suggested, amongst others, on the page regarding the red flag and stoppage. Also other comments on the more general comments but I can’t be bothered to find those.

        As to your question, I’m sorry, do I need a particular reason for posting on here? I’ve been active on here for seven years, always supporting one driver (Kimi) as my profile clearly states, but yeah I’ve become more invested in a compatriot now that he’s actually doing really well and still only getting marginal recognition for it. I no longer have the time to follow every session and every detail of a weekend, as I used to, but when it matters I comment profusely and in support of those I feel need it. Does that adequately answer your question?

        1. Apologies @hahostolze , you don’t need a reason, I admit I went too far with that comment. To be honest as a veteran as this site I’ve seen the comments get increasingly decisive and just plain rude lately, and it bugs me to the point where it spilled over here. The irony is not lost on me. Sorry again.

          1. @john-h You say sorry to a person who wrote this yesterday?

            Do a better lap, Max, and stop moaning. The RB was the best car here. Merc a lot closer than they let on, but you have no real excuses.

            He was purple on both sectors and then red flag came out. VER complained for red flag rules. Yet, this person here thinks that he didn’t try to do good laps and he is using excuses.

  2. Look, I think if there is debris on the track after a huge crash, I think they should just red flag the session and ensure that the track is clear.

    1. @krichelle Would be somewhat redundant in the long-term in the form of adding extra overall time.

    2. If that is the case, what was the cause of Strolls crash when there was no big crash before that?

  3. Looks like a clear cut case then :-)
    Too bad it had to end this way for both Max and Lewis, but good for the championship

    1. I think it’d have been good for the championship to have no failures and no hamilton mistake, I think this was a race where red bull needed to gain, street track, cause then the normal tracks come again.

      1. Imagine Max loosing championship by 10 points, yeah Lewis and Mercs got away with it this time. Redbull needs to pull a bunny out of the hat to out-develop Mercs.

        Reply moderated
  4. And that is the reason we had a red flag.

    1. @randommallard Yeah because Red Bull definitely wanted to help Hamilton when they called up Masi and noted there was no warning for Verstappen and he should red flag the race so everyone can change their tyres.

      1. @justrhysism Very much potentially. There was no warning for Verstappen so there may have been no warning for Perez. Or Hamilton. Or anyone. And if someone had lost tire pressure in the safety car queue it could have caused havoc. They may have helped Hamilton, but they may have also helped Perez and the rest of the field. And it is not worth lying about having no warning as race control can just find that telemetry. And Race Control don’t like being lied to. Just ask McLaren at Aus 2009

  5. Could the cut be a result of a problem with one of the curbs?

    1. During the stoppage they showed Hamilton front wing damage. He obviously drove into something sharp, the damage in the carbon looked like a cut ,it would make sense that this debris continued on under the car to impact the rear tire.
      Verstappen could have driven over Stroll’s debris as well, but then,what caused Stroll’s puncture in the first place?

      1. It is believed that wing damage was due to a tree branch on the track at T15. It was spotted early on in the race and is the reason Max cut T15 on lap 2 or 3. This was on the first stint so probably had nothing to do with Max’s failure

  6. Pirelli should investigate this problems thoroughly. Ves just cruising around most of the time feeling comfortable, Lewis lucky he didn’t crash with the same problem. Maybe there was something on the track. Curious I am.

    1. Henrik Møller Jørgensen
      6th June 2021, 20:30

      VER was cruising… At full till in the front with hardly any DRS. That must have penalized his tyres pretty hard, so No great surprise that his tire failed

      1. His tire should easely complete the race distance according to Pirelli info.
        There was enough thread on it but it seems the construction failed of debris cut into it.

  7. Coventry Climax
    6th June 2021, 18:38

    I did not expect any other reply from pirelli, and there’s no doubt that they will find out they are not to blame for the crashes of Stroll and Verstappen either.
    The red flag should have been for pirelli, a long time ago already.

    And if it really is debris, then the FIA should implement a mandatory, more efficient way to clear away debris than handful of guys with just a broom. Vacuuming truck(s) come to mind. Oh, and have Ferrari, Mercedes or Aston Martin make them, so we won’t have to wait for ages before the end of a safety car or restart.

    1. It’s ludicrous the amount of armchair tyre engineers here and on Twitter, we didn’t need them.

      Even Scarbs is sceptical about Pirelli’s fault here, a small puncture at that speed can make serious damage.

      1. Coventry Climax
        7th June 2021, 0:34

        @matt88:
        I don’t know about twitter, never go there.
        Who is scarbs?
        Pirelli should be aware that a small puncture can turn into big and potentially very, very dangerous tyre failure, and design their tyres accordingly, which, 10 years on, they apparently can’t.
        I don’t buy the story that they just make exactly and only what the FIA asks them without any sort of comment. Any company with a sense of self respect would decline, if this were the case. Let alone the business case: “You just make these lousy tyres for us, and we will make it known to the wider public.” That should at least make you wonder what amount of dollars is on that contract. And then talk about bringing down expenses?

        1. “Who is scarbs?”
          No further comment, Engineer Sir

        2. Scarborough is Craig Scarborough, a very, very well respected F1 tech journalist

        3. Wow. That’s possibly the most… umm.. interesting comment I’ve seen for quite a while.
          I reckon Mr Coventry Climax himself believes he could make a better and more structurally sound tyre than Pirelli, right?

        4. One quick question: Do you think Masi is very dangerous?

    2. I’m somewhat sympathetic towards pirelli, they don’t get much meaningful the testing and then they’re asked to design and build a degrading tyre. So, build something that fails without it failing and we’re not going give enough trading data to know when… Bring on the 18″ tyres already!

  8. Without being sceptical about what actually is the cause of the punctures (could well be debris). I wonder if we’d ever hear if it is a structural failure.

    With cost caps in place wouldn’t lead a confession by Pirelli lead to claims from Aston Martin and Red Bull?

    1. My understanding is that in both cases the cars had a tyre blow out, so it wasn’t a puncture. A puncture is where something penetrates through the air tight seal within the tyre, while a blow out is the air tight seal is ripped apart. So a puncture is often a slow release of air (but not always), while a blow out is definitely a quick release of air. In the video you can hear a small explosion type sound a few seconds before both Lance and Max lost control of their car. If that explosion type sound just prior to when the driver lost control of the car was the tyre blowing out then this wasn’t a puncture.
      I’m not sure what Pirelli mean by saying “We found a cut on the inside shoulder of a rear-left tyre used by Lewis Hamilton”, but it sounds like there was damage to the inside tyre wall. One could expect a cut to be on the tread if something sharp was run over, but on the inside tyre wall? If the driver hit a kerb or such like with the tyre wall so that it damaged the tyre wall then one would expect it to be like an abrasion, not a cut, and it should be on the outside of the tyre, not the inside. The fact the damage was to the same tyre that failed for both Max and Lance leaves one with the suspicion this “cut” wasn’t just coincidental, but could have been the start of a tyre failure similar to what Max’s and Lance’s tyres went along.

  9. The Sky commentary team had walked the track and said it was full of debris like screws for example.

    Maybe F1 should require track cleaning before sessions here.

    1. Coventry Climax
      7th June 2021, 0:41

      Yeah, like I suggested, approx five comments up. This whole tyre farce has been going on for way too long now.
      But I guess it comes in mighty handy to always have something/someone else to put the blame on.

      This is a world that shoves millions around, yet where this is concerned they’re either absolute amateurs or absolute frauds.

    2. @balue There has been numerous instances of issues with tracks not found until after cars have been around the track so there is absolutely improvements that could be made to the track checks and maintenance. I suspect the issue is probably around the fact that the marshalls change every race and hence the checks are less complex and comprehensive than they should be.

      You do have to wonder if a commentary team can see that debris, why didn’t the FIA.

  10. so 3 (+?) different cars have the same damage to the to the same tire and they’re calling it a cut, which to me implies something external did damage to the tire. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but what are the chances that 3 cars pick up the exact same damage vs the chances there was a defect in the tires this weekend.

  11. Maybe they should not have brought the softest three compounds?

    I’m not a fan of Pirelli’s work, but it’s also a risk the drivers take though. They see tyre issues happening and no one chooses to go for a two stop strategy. And they just keep driving while having vibrations.

    1. @f1osaurus but neither of the drivers who had the failures received any warning. Red Bull confirmed this to Rqce Control. And no that isn’t something worth lying about either, as Race Control can easily access that telemetry as well, and Red Bull wouldn’t risk another lie-gate situation like McLaren at Aus 2009.

      1. But I agree that Pirelli should maybe have been more Conservative on their tire choices

      2. @randommallard Norris was complaining of vibrations.

        Still, when one driver has an exploding tyre then that’s also a warning that it can happen for others.

  12. Because everyone in F1 wants the most grip and the fastest lap times, because that is ‘more exciting.’ Apparently.
    Also, because F1 cars can’t race together well, they need to increase the number of pit stops so that something actually worth seeing happens. Even with the softest compounds, most cars had pitted before 20% distance.

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