F1 2013 Silverstone British Grand Prix: Hamilton's exploding tyre trouble

PUBLISHED: 21:19 30 June 2013 | UPDATED: 21:19 30 June 2013

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton on track at Silverstone [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton on track at Silverstone [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

Archant

AN exploding tyre cost Mercedes Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton the chance of winning the 2013 British Grand Prix in front of his home fans at Silverstone.

2013 British Grand Prix result

Silverstone top 10

1 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)

2 Mark Webber (Red Bull)

3 Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)

4 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

5 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)

6 Felipe Massa (Ferrari)

7 Adrian Sutil (Force India)

8 Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso)

9 Paul Di Resta (Force India)

10 Nico Hulkenberg (Sauber)

The 28-year-old F1 star from Hertfordshire was leading the Silverstone race when his rear left tyre dramatically “exploded” after just eight laps.

The blowout forced Hamilton to crawl back to the pits for a fresh set of Pirelli tyres. He also completed the race with damage to his Mercedes car.

Felipe Massa, Jean-Eric Vergne and Sergio Perez also suffered potentially dangerous tyre failures during the course of the race, prompting a number of drivers to argue for better safety.

Despite dropping to last place after his first pitstop, Hamilton battled his way through the field, aided by two safety car periods, to finish fourth after a remarkable drive.

2013 FIA F1 World Drivers’ Championship

1 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 132pts

2 Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 111

3 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) 98

4 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 89

5 Mark Webber (Red Bull) 87

6 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 82

He crossed the line just behind Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari and might have snatched a podium had the race been a lap longer.

Speaking afterwards, Hertfordshire-born Hamilton said: “Of course, I’m disappointed by today’s race and I would have loved to deliver the win this afternoon for all the British fans here at Silverstone.

“The race started so well for us today; I felt comfortable out in front and was managing my pace.

“The tyre problem was such a shame and from then, it was just a case of giving it my all and battling as far up the field as possible.

Formula One World Constructors’ Championship

After Round 8:

1 Red Bull 219pts

2 Mercedes 171

3 Ferrari 168

4 Lotus 124

5 Force India 59

“I had some good overtaking moves and, given another lap, I might have got Fernando [Alonso] and ended up on the podium. Everything considered, fourth place is pretty good after having been last on lap 10 and we’ll take that.”

Silver Arrows colleague Nico Rosberg won an eventful British Grand Prix for his third career win, and second of 2013, after also taking the Monaco chequered flag.

Both Mercedes drivers started the grand prix on option tyres and then ran prime tyres for the rest of the race. Nico stopped on laps 12, 34 and 42, the latter stop a precaution owing to a damaged tyre, while Lewis pitted on laps 8 and 36.

Race winner Rosberg said: “This is a great moment for me and our team to win in the home of motor racing at Silverstone.

“We have such great momentum in our Silver Arrows team and I’m very proud to be part of it. This win is for every single person who has been involved in building our car.

“It was a shame for Lewis today, and I also had a problem with my tyre but I was lucky because of the safety car.

“It was so special to win today, especially in front of fellow team members and their families as our factory is only 10 minutes away from the track.

“The race was really exciting. I had to manage the tyres really carefully, I was told to avoid the kerbs.

“At the end, it was difficult to hold Mark [Webber] and to look after my tyres but I was able to keep the position, and take a great victory for us.

“Now we can look forward to another home race next weekend at the Nürburgring.”

Mercedes F1 principal Ross Brawn was delighted to see Rosberg win and the team motor into second place in the Constructors’ Championship behind Red Bull.

“It is a very special feeling to win here at Silverstone and especially at the end of such a dramatic afternoon,” said Brawn.

“Nico didn’t put a foot wrong today: he drove extremely well, looked after the tyres like he needed to and was in the perfect place to pick up the pieces when others ran into trouble.

“It got very tense in the final laps after the second safety car period, but Nico showed he had the speed to respond and the composure to bring the car home. It’s his second victory in three races and really deserved.”

Turning to Hamilton, Brawn said: “As for Lewis, he showed exactly what he’s made of today. He was driving beautifully at the front of the field and slowly pulling away when he suffered the tyre failure.

“Then he went from dead last on lap nine to fourth at the finish – and he was lapping incredibly quickly with a damaged car in the final laps.

“I am sure he will take a lot of encouragement for the rest of the season from the basic pace we showed today. But the biggest praise of all must go to our team.

“We have worked night and day this year to improve this car, solve our tyre management issues and put ourselves in a position to take the fight to our rivals. “Today, we took another big step in the right direction and perhaps we have turned a corner now. It’s extra special to have done it here at Silverstone, in front of our colleagues, family and friends. Congratulations to the entire team.”

Hamilton’s former team, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, failed to win a single point after Jenson Button finished 13th and Sergio Perez was forced to retire late on with puncture damage to his MP4-28.

Button said: “I started on the Prime tyre, but that quickly grained and gave me problems early on in the first stint. I was happier on the Option.

“Our pace wasn’t too bad, but the last stint was particularly tough. After the final safety car, there wasn’t a lot of tread left on my tyres, so getting them up to temperature was very tricky – we struggle with that anyway.

“Into the closing laps, I was vulnerable. All the cars on fresher tyres were fighting to get past, and as soon as I went offline to defend, it became even more difficult to get temperature back into the tyre.”

He added: “For safety reasons, the reasons behind this weekend’s tyre failures need to be addressed.

“It’s dangerous for the driver of the car, because he can lose control; but it’s also dangerous for the driver of the car behind, because you can get hit by a belt of rubber. Hopefully, things can be changed for the next race.”

McLaren’s Checo Perez said: “My race had been going well. I’d been running inside the top 10 for most of the afternoon when my left-rear tyre suddenly exploded.

“I just felt an explosion along the Hangar Straight – there was nothing I could really do about it.

“The tyres are a big concern. Luckily nothing too serious happened to anyone, but we need to sit down together, get an explanation and get something done.”

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