Just when Pirelli appeared to be out of the woods, tires have once again become the focus of the Formula One fraternity after a series of spectacular failures during the early stages of the British Grand Prix.
With conditions very hot at Silverstone, many were expecting tire wear to be higher than usual, but it is unlikely anyone predicted the kind of tire failures that occurred. Lewis Hamilton was the first to lose out after pulling away into the lead from pole position. When going down the Wellington Straight, the left-rear tire of the Mercedes blew out, forcing Hamilton to crawl back to the pits and fall down the order.
Felipe Massa was the next driver to be affected, spinning on the entry to the Wellington Straight and too suffering a puncture. This second blowout signalled to the rest of the field that it was time to pit, with Jean-Eric Vergne being the lead runner in 7th who did not change his tires. As a result, the Toro Rosso suffered a puncture on the entry to Stowe, with the debris left on the racing line warranting the safety car to make an appearance.
Red Bull found cuts in Vettel’s rear tires, suggesting that the failures may be due to the way the kerbs have been cut. Regardless, the drivers may find themselves having to be very careful during today’s race.