Pirelli blames 'race circumstances' for Silverstone tyre failures

Formula One chequered flag
Formula One chequered flag

Pirelli said on Tuesday that problems with its tyres late in the British Grand Prix, which saw Lewis Hamilton cross the line on three wheels, was due to unusually long use of the second set of tyres.

Hamilton clung on to the victory on Sunday after driving with one tyre in shreds for most of the final lap, while his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas and Carlos Sainz Jr of McLaren also suffered punctures on a hot afternoon at Silverstone which saw the safety car come out twice.

Bottas was second when his tyre disintegrated and Sainz was up to fourth when his fell to bits. Both finished outside the points.

In a statement Pirelli, the exclusive tyre supplier for Formula One, said that the "key reason" behind the tyre problems was "a set of individual race circumstances that led to an extremely long use of the second set of tyres".

"The second safety car period prompted nearly all the teams to anticipate their planned pit stop and so carry out a particularly long final stint: around 40 laps, which is more than three-quarters the total race length on one of the most demanding tracks of the calendar," the Italian manufacturer said.

"Combined with the notably increased pace of the 2020 Formula 1 cars (pole position was 1.2 seconds faster compared to 2019) this made the final laps of the British Grand Prix especially tough, as a consequence of the biggest forces ever seen on tyres generated by the fastest Formula 1 cars in history.

"The overall result was the most challenging operating conditions for tyres. These led to the front-left tyre (which is well-known for working hardest at Silverstone) being placed under maximum stress after a very high number of laps, with the resulting high wear meaning that it was less protected from the extreme forces in play."

For the second race at Silverstone next Sunday, which will officially mark the 70th anniversary of the creation of the F1 World Championship, Pirelli has already confirmed that the three types of tyre on offer will be one notch harder than those used in last Sunday's GP.

Pirelli said the tyre set up would also be reviewed and altered, with, for example, a higher minimum pressure to reduce stress on the tyres.


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