Pirelli Justify Debris Theory Using Lewis Hamilton’s Tire After Azerbaijan GP

Published 06/07/2021, 8:46 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Baku City Circuit, Baku, Azerbaijan – Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action at the start of the race REUTERS/Anton Vaganov


The Azerbaijan GP has been one of the most dramatic races this season so far, with two crash-inducing punctures that changed the course of the race. Given the nature of the punctures, many believed it was a tire issue and even blamed Pirelli, the tire suppliers, for the same. However, they believe that the accidents were caused by debris and nothing else.

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Lance Stroll was the first victim; running in P4 at the time, his rear left suffered a puncture and saw him retire from the race. Max Verstappen, the race leader, suffered the same issue on the same tire in the dying laps of the race and was forced to retire.

Pirelli points to debris for a puncture at the Azerbaijan GP

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The Pirelli F1 head, Mario Isola, told Autosport, “Another element that is important is that we found on the rear left tyre of Lewis Hamilton, another cut, quite a big one. This was at the red flag, so in the same stint where Max crashed.”

He added, “I believe it was debris, because they didn’t have any warning that there was something strange on the car, on the suspension, on the tyre, on the brake, nothing was giving any sign of failure. And it was a sudden failure.”

Formula One F1 – Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Baku City Circuit, Baku, Azerbaijan – June 6, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen kicks the wheel of his car after crashing out of the race REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

“So considering the rear left is not the most stressed tyre, the cut we found on Lewis’s tyre and so on, these are indications that are taking us in that direction.

“But we don’t want to exclude anything because as Max said, these things shouldn’t happen,” Isola concluded.

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The world just dropped from under us: Christian Horner

Max Verstappen was set to win the Azerbaijan Grand Prix but faced a tire puncture in the final few laps that knocked him out of the race. However, Red Bull still went away with the race win, in the form of Sergio Perez’s first win with the team, second overall.

However, being their star driver, Verstappen’s crash came as a big disappointment to Red Bull, who were hoping to extend their lead in both championships with the Dutchman’s win.

Explaining to Sky Sports how sudden and shocking the puncture was, team principal, Christian Horner, as quoted by RaceFans, said, “Everything in control. GP had just checked in with Max, all okay. And then boom, the tyre went.

“At the moment we don’t know why, it looked like the wear was all in good shape so whether it’s debris or something as happened. But it’s a big place to have an accident. Thankfully he’s okay.”

Formula One F1 – Monaco Grand Prix – Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco – May 20, 2021 Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner in the FIA Press Conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

“We were managing the tyres pretty well and you could see all the wear pins and all that was going well. You can see it’s suddenly deflated. Whether it’s a bit of debris from the shunt earlier you just don’t know.

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“So I think let’s get the tyre back, look at it fully. But obviously [we were] feeling at that point that the world’s just dropped from under us,” Horner concluded.

Despite this setback, Red Bull have increased the gap to Silver Arrows for this year’s constructors’ championship, and will look to further extend it at the French Grand Prix.

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Arpit Gomes

442 articles

Arpit Gomes is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Currently pursuing his Journalism degree from Xavier’s Institute, he is a big fan of McLaren and their driver Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo. Arpit always looks forward to the paddock moving to Spa and drivers dealing with the exciting Eau Rouge corner as well the straight at Monza.

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