Pirelli have confirmed that Sebastian Vettel's front-left tyre failure during the British Grand Prix was caused by a slow puncture.
Only two laps from the finish, the Ferrari driver’s front left tyre blew up. He mentions it happening very suddenly as his team mate Kimi Raikkonen suffered a front-left tyre problem as well. Vettel secured a seventh-place position at Silverstone and held onto his championship lead with a one-point difference between him and Hamilton.
Regarding his tyre failure, Vettel said that: "It was very sudden. Obviously once Valtteri [Bottas] passed I dropped the pace and tried to get the car home, turning everything down.
"For sure we lost a bit of pace because the tyres were going down [in performance] but nothing out of the ordinary. So it was quite sudden when the tyre decided not to take me to the end of the race.”
According to Skysports, Vettel's soft tyres had been on his car for 30 laps which is over half the race distance. This should however not have caused a problem as he denied that Ferrari had pushed them over the limit.
"For sure the tyres were not brand new. They were on the tyre for 30-odd laps, but from what we predicted in terms of wear it should have been no problem to carry on," he added.
"The fact is that the tyre blow-ups came by surprise. It's not like we were gambling and jeopardising our race result."
The full Pirelli statement said:
'Pirelli has concluded the analysis on Sebastian Vettel's damaged front-left P Zero Yellow soft tyre, which affected him two laps from the finish of the British Grand Prix.
'As appeared clear since Sunday afternoon, a full investigation has now confirmed that the original cause of the failure was a slow puncture. The consequent driving back to the pits on an underinflated and then flat tyre led to the final failure.
'Kimi Raikkonen's damaged tyre shows less evidence of what occurred, so further tests and analysis are still ongoing in Pirelli's laboratories and indoor testing facilities. It will take a few more days to reach a definitive conclusion.'