“The tyre just blew off the rim” – Pirelli have serious questions to answer as Max Verstappen crashed out of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix at Baku after a rear-left tyre failure.
It was all smooth sailing for Max Verstappen as he somehow found himself leading the race ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc. It seemed like it was going to be another routine victory for him, until Pirelli’s left-rear tyre lost it, sending Verstappen onto the barriers.
Verstappen was visibly frustrated, as a win would have given him a comfortable lead at the top ahead of Hamilton. Fortunately for him, Hamilton did not get any points too, as he choked the race restart after the Red Flag.
Verstappen was visibly angry as he got out of the Red Bull, put up the steering wheel in place, and kicked hard at the Pirello tyre. After being released from the Medical Centre, Verstappen confirmed what sporting director Jonathan Wheatley told FIA Race Director Michael Masi on team radio – there was no warning whatsoever of the failure.
“I didn’t feel anything up until the moment that I suddenly went to the right. The tyre just blew off the rim.
“It’s not a nice impact to have. It’s quite a dangerous place to have a tyre blow out at that speed. But all fine with me, the car not so much.
“Up until then, I think we had a very strong race. I was basically matching the lap times that I had to do behind. We were fully in control.
“Of course it’s very disappointing what happened. We lost out on a lot of points, we could have opened up the gap in the championship as well, so to have this happening, especially so close to the end, is very frustrating.”