July 01, 2013

Horse 1505 - The Mysterious Case of the Exploding Tyres (Rd.8)

- stolen from The Daily Mail

Nico Rosberg must be considering himself one of the luckiest people in F1 after winning the British Grand Prix in less than perfect circumstances.

The two Silver Arrows of Lewis Hamilton and Rosberg completed a front row lockout in qualifying and after the first corner, only Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull could split them. Hamilton's chances of winning the race literally exploded as his rear left tyre did likewise and in one lap, Hamilton limped back to the pits on three wheels, from 1st to 22nd, to get his tyres replaced.

Sebastian Vettel inherited the lead and more than likely would have won the race except that on lap 46, the gearbox in his Red Bull contracted a disease of neutrals and ceased to live. He pulled over to the side of the circuit, which brought out one of many safety cars and the field bunched up again.

It was then Rosberg who inherited the lead as behind him, more tyres exploded on the Ferrari of Felipe Massa, Jean Eric Vergne's Toro Rosso and Sergio Perez's McLaren, the latter of the three bringing out a safety car as bits of tyre carcass and wheel littered the Hangar Straight and needed to be cleared.

At the restart, a late charging Fernando Alonso pulled his Ferrari up from 8th to 3rd, the two Lotuses (Lotii?) of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean faded and Lewis Hamilton who had quietly chipped away through the field, had worked his way back to fourth. Mark Webber who had yet another of his awful starts, made a sterling run through the latter half of the race, to finish second.

Serious questions need to asked about Pirelli though. They will argue that they're not to blame but rather the drainage system at Silverstone was cutting into the tyres. The problem is that once a tyre has exploded, it becomes insanely difficult to extract any evidence from it. In the case of Hamilton's exploding tyre, it looked as though the tyre had delaminated before failing.
When Jean Eric Vergne's tyre exploded late in the race, it showered debris in the path of both Lotuses and bits of stuff hit Kimi Raikkonen's helmet with a closing speed of more than 300km/h.

No comments: