Vettel mystified by tyre explosion while leading
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel says he has no clue as to why his right-rear tyre exploded while he was leading the Austrian Grand Prix.
Vettel was running a long first stint on the supersoft tyres, which he had previously used in Q2, when his right-rear exploded at high speed on the start/finish straight.
The failure caused him to spin into the pitwall and then back across the track, causing a safety car at the start of the 27th lap.
Debris from his blown tyre also damaged Nico Rosberg’s closely-following Mercedes.
“Complete question mark why the tyre failed,” said Vettel. “It was our decision [to run long from the start], it was clear that everybody had much more tyre life than expected going into the race.
“After all, 27 laps is not that much on that compound. Kimi did more than 20 laps on the ultrasoft, there was other people who went longer on the supersoft.
“Out of nothing, the tyre exploded. No signs before that, everything was normal according to the guys on the pitwall, no change in pace from the lap before.
“No signs for the failure. I didn’t go off anywhere."
Vettel remains third in the drivers' championship, despite his third non-finish of the season.
When quizzed about the sense of Ferrari’s planned one-stop strategy, he replied: “The idea was to go as long as possible, everybody was going longer on the tyres than expected. Nobody came in during the first 10 laps.”
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