Nico Rosberg believes that it was nothing more than pure luck that stopped him from crashing after suffering a tire failure during practice for the Belgian Grand Prix.
Rosberg finished as the fastest driver in both practices at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on Friday, but saw his second session come to an early end after he suffered a scary rear-right tire failure at high speed.
On the fast run up to Blanchimont in the final sector, Rosberg’s tire delaminated, causing the German’s car to spin violently before coming to rest in the run off area.
Although Rosberg himself walked away unharmed, the rear of his car was damaged and debris had been strewn across the track, warranting a red flag period.
“In the second session it was quite a shocking moment for me when my rear tire failed,” Rosberg explained.
“When you are going as fast as 300 km/h and something goes wrong, that’s a horrible feeling.
“I thought I would end up in the wall and, to be honest, it was pure luck that I didn’t. We now need to investigate with Pirelli what happened.”
Mercedes technical team boss Paddy Lowe felt pleased with how his drivers had fared in both practice sessions on Friday as Lewis Hamilton followed Rosberg home in second place, but said that the team would be working closely with Pirelli to work out the cause of the tire failure.
“Today started reasonably well, with P1 running more or less to plan save a small engine problem for Nico which the team turned around very quickly,” Lowe said.
“We tested a few different items before moving on to a standard P2 programme of prime and option runs. This ran smoothly until the long run on options, when a tire failure for Nico brought out the red flags in the final third of the session.
“With one car ruled out of running, we decided not to continue the regular programme with Lewis until we had understood the problem.
“We’ll be working hard with Pirelli this evening to understand what happened and how we can ensure that we’re operating safely for the rest of the weekend.”