Sebastian Vettel asks Pirelli ‘Who next?’ after Max Verstappen and Stroll tyre failure

Max Verstappen speaks ahead of Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel has raised serious concerns to Pirelli, demanding an investigation into their tyres after Aston Martin teammate Lance Stroll and championship leader Max Verstappen suffered high-speed crashes at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Concerns were raised about the tyres after the race after the two very similar crashes in Baku due to a tyre failure, with a full investigation promised by both Red Bull and Pirelli ahead of Paul Ricard.

To add to the worry, Pirelli also revealed Lewis Hamilton’s hard tyre also showing a cut after the race.

Vettel, whose Aston Martin team-mate Stroll was the first to crash, said: “Obviously I was on the safer side because my tyres were fresher than everyone else’s but when Max had the same issue, it was quite clear that… who’s next? That sort of thing.

“I don’t know why but this is not supposed to happen so I think there needs to be a bit of an investigation because it’s probably the worst place of the year you want to have this.

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“It could go massively wrong if you get it wrong so close to also to pit entry, to the wall there. We are doing well over 300kph (186mph).”

In the aftermath of the race, Pirelli boss Mario Isola revealed preliminary investigations had pointed towards debris on the track being a possible cause.

“First investigations suggest debris because the rear-left is not the most stressed tyre on this circuit. It’s the rear-right; if we talk about wear it’s the front-right,” Isola, Pirelli’s head of F1, told Sky Germany.

“So it’s in a position that doesn’t suggest anything special on tyres.

“The other point is that we found another cut on a rear-left tyre from another car [Hamilton] that luckily didn’t cut the construction.

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“It was a rear-left from Lewis, that was clearly a cut from debris.

“When something like that happens, we need to collect information to understand what happened.

“No warnings or vibrations were detected and none of the other tyres of a similar age or older showed any signs of excess wear.

“So we can not exclude that the damage was caused by an external factor, although these things shouldn’t happen and we can understand the need for answers.”

A full report from Pirelli is expected ahead of the French Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.

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