Max Verstappen’s tyre failure labelled ’embarrassing’ as Pirelli look to reveal findings

Max Verstappen speaks ahead of Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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As Pirelli look to have some important answers for F1 teams this weekend in Paul Ricard, former Formula One world champion Jacques Villeneuve has labelled the tyre failures at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix as “embarrassing”.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll both suffered high-speed crashes in Baku on the hard compound of tyre, with the sport’s official tyre supplier saying they would be opening a full investigation into what happened.

On lap 30, Stroll appeared to suffer a blowout near the pit entry as he edged towards top speed, and hit the wall hard, bringing out a Safety Car.

Verstappen meanwhile was leading with five laps to go when disaster struck not too dissimilar to Stroll, with his left-rear tyre appearing to give way, catapulting the championship leader into the wall at 200mph.

The crash brought out the red flag, with the race then effectively becoming a two-lap sprint race to the end after a half an hour break.

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“Tyres should not explode like that,” said Villeneuve, “They did not even have that many laps. It’s embarrassing.

“And too bad – Stroll was having a good race and Max had it under control.

“Max was just doing best lap after best lap and he had a big lead so he didn’t need to drive so fast. But I’m not sure what else he could have done because he wasn’t sliding around, there was nothing major. So bad luck there.”

Pirelli’s head of F1 and car racing Mario Isola said after the race he believed the two high-speed crashes were due to debris on the track and not tyre wear but added it appeared Lewis Hamilton also had a cut in his tyre after initial investigations.

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“I don’t want to point the finger at Baku and the circuit,” said Isola. “I saw that they were cleaning the circuit many times during the weekend. Debris and carbon parts are always very sharp.

“The point is that on a street circuit you have much less run [off] and so the debris stays on track. But this is quite normal in any street circuit, it’s not just Baku. I believe it’s the same in Singapore, it’s the same in Monte-Carlo, because the debris is there.

“If you have a crash, any damaged part of a car because maybe a driver is jumping on a kerb and breaking a part of the wing or whatever, it stays on track so it’s much easier to pick it up.”

Results from a full investigation are expected ahead of the French Grand Prix as to what happened, with a report expected in Paul Ricard for all teams.

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