Pirelli confirm debris caused Vettel puncture

Pirelli has confirmed that debris caused the puncture that ended Sebastian Vettel’s Austrian Grand Prix.

Formula One’s official tyre supplier issued a statement on Wednesday following their analysis of the Ferrari driver’s right-rear tyre which blew while he was leading at the Red Bull Ring.

“Analysis of the tyre issue that affected Sebastian Vettel at the recent Austrian Grand Prix has been concluded and the results shared with Ferrari,” said Pirelli.

“The few remaining parts of the tyre in question, together with an in-depth comparison to other tyres used in the race, reveal no signs of fatigue or structural failure in the right-rear tyre itself.”

“Consequently, the issue appears to be caused by an item of debris, which led to the breakage of the tyre.”

Ferrari dominate final practice as Rosberg crashes

Sebastian Vettel led a Ferrari 1-2 in final practice for the Austrian Grand Prix as championship leader Nico Rosberg crashed heavily.

Vettel posted the quickest time of the weekend so far, a 1:07.098 to finish ahead of teammate Kimi Raikkonen, 0.136s slower than the German.

Lewis Hamilton was the quickest Mercedes in third, over two tenths off the pace, as teammate Rosberg’s day came to an early finish when his suspension broke exiting Turn 2.

Rosberg crashed heavily against the wall as a result, and while he was unhurt, Mercedes will face a race against time to get his car ready for qualifying.

Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen completed the top five in the Red Bull cars.

Several cars appeared to suffer blistering problems after Pirelli lowered the rear tyre pressures from 19.5 to 18.5 overnight.

Rosberg handed time-penalty for Hamilton collision

After several hours of deliberation by the race stewards, Nico Rosberg was handed a 10-second time penalty and reprimand following his crash with team mate Lewis Hamilton.

The Mercedes duo collided on the final lap of the race as Rosberg attempted to prevent Hamilton from passing.

The stewards said: “Having taken note of the extensive evidence given by both drivers and the video and telemetry data, it was apparent that Car 44 (HAM) was in front of Car 6 (ROS) – i.e. more than fully alongside – and that the driver of Car 44 could have clearly made the turn (T2) on the track, if not for the resultant collision.

“Car 6 did not allow Car 44 ‘racing room’ and hence the driver of Car 6 was responsible for the collision.”

The championship leader was also awarded two penalty points for the accident and a reprimand for not having stopped while his car was damaged.

“The driver continued on the track with a damaged car spreading debris and with the front wing detached but recognition of extenuating circumstances, that he slowed down and tried to mitigate risk to other drivers and cars.”

On the first lap in Spain both crashed out of the race after colliding into each other while in Canada contact between the pair left Rosberg compromised for the rest of the race going into turn one.

2016 Austrian Grand Prix race result

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Pos.

Driver

Team

1

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes

2

Max Verstappen

Red Bull

3

Kimi Raikkonen

Ferrari

4

Nico Rosberg

Mercedes

5

Daniel Ricciardo

Red Bull

6

Jenson Button

McLaren

7

Romain Grosjean

Haas

8

Carlos Sainz

Toro Rosso

9

Valterri Bottas

Williams

10

Pascal Werhlein

Manor

11

Esteban Gutierrez

Haas

12

Jolyon Palmer

Renault

13

Felipe Nasr

Sauber

14

Kevin Magnussen

Renault

15

Marcus Ericsson

Sauber

16

Rio Haryanto

Manor

17

Sergio Perez

Force India

18

Fernando Alonso

McLaren

19

Nico Hulkenberg

Force India

20

Felipe Massa

Williams

DNF

Sebastian Vettel

Ferrari

DNF

Daniil Kvyat

Toro Rosso

Hamilton wins after Mercedes drivers collide

Rosberg made progress in the early phase of the race after pitting on lap ten to change onto the soft tyres, managing to jump ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and the Red Bulls and crucially team mate Hamilton, who had kept his ultrasoft tyres running for 21 laps.

Sebastian Vettel tried to stretch the stint on supersoft tyres for as long as possible, but his race ended as his right rear tyre exploded on the start finish straight, ending his race and deploying the safetycar. That set of tyres had run for 29 laps including three laps in qualifying.

Mercedes pulled away at the head of the field, trading fastest laps between them about one second per lap faster than the chasing pack.

Hamilton pitted again on lap 55, but made a mistake on his new soft tyres into turn two, running wide and losing time. Rosberg changed tyres onto the supersoft one lap later and crucially emerged just ahead, setting up a race to the finish. Hamilton was not impressed with his tyre selection, asking “why is he on a softer tyre than me?”

Hamilton closed in on Rosberg with three laps to go, forcing Rosberg to defend as his supersoft tyres started to wear. Hamilton got a run on Rosberg on the final lap and the two collided into turn two.

Rosberg’s front wing was damaged and limped home to fourth, unable to defend from Verstappen and Raikkonen behind.

Hamilton took the victory, saying “I was on the outside, it wasn’t me who crashed”

Behind the drama, Ricciardo switched to ultrasofts late in the race and passed Jenson Button to take fifth in the closing stages.

Grosjean managed to take seventh position and Sainz in eighth as they also extended their final stint on the soft tyre. Sergio Perez was on to finish ahead of Sainz, but crashed on the final lap. Valterri Bottas came home ninth behind them.

Pascal Wehrlein finished tenth to take Manor’s first points finish since Jules Bianchi in Monaco in 2014.

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