Max Verstappen takes his frustration out on his blown rear-left tyre
The tyre failures on Max Verstappen and Lance Stroll’s cars that sent both drivers into the wall at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix may have been caused by debris on the track in Baku, according to initial investigations by supplier Pirelli.
Verstappen was close to victory when his his rear-left tyre blew on the long pit straight, causing him to crash out in dramatic fashion. Stroll’s day was also ended by a blowout of the same tyre earlier in the race.
Pirelli boss Mario Isola said a full analysis will take place in Italy this week but indicated that debris was the most likely cause at this early stage. He also said Lewis Hamilton’s rear-left tyre had sustained similar damage to Verstappen and Stroll’s due to debris.
“It’s a bit early to understand what happened to the tyres,” Isola told “>Sky Sports Germany following the race.
“We are waiting for the tyres back to the fitting area to analyse them, but we probably need to air freight them to Milan for a complete analysis.
“First investigations suggest debris because the rear-left is not the most stressed tyre on this circuit. It’s the rear-right; if we talk about wear it’s the front-right. So it’s in a position that doesn’t suggest anything special on tyres.
“The other point is that we found another cut on a rear-left tyre from another car that luckily didn’t cut the construction. It was a rear-left from Lewis [Hamilton], that was clearly a cut from debris.
“The other point is that obviously both failures happened more or less in the same part of the circuit. Max was a few hundred metres after the crash of Lance.
“Maybe there was some debris, but I don’t want to say ‘it was debris’ because first of all we need to analyse the tyre.”
Verstappen’s high-speed crash resulted in a red flag in Baku and looked to have provided a major boost to Hamilton’s title chances.
But Hamilton went on to make a mistake with his brake switch, causing the Mercedes driver to run off on the first turn following the restart to the race.
Sergio Perez secured a dramatic victory as Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly joined him on an unlikely podium.