Lewis Hamilton on his way to pole position at Silverstone
Lewis Hamilton on his way to pole position at Silverstone last weekend. As many as three drivers: Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Carlos Sainz suffered front left failures in the closing laps of the race - forcing typre suppliers Pirelli to launch an internal investigation. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Pirelli, the lone tyre manufacturer and supplier to the F1 World Championship, concluded after an investigation that tyre failures during last weekend’s British Grand Prix were solely due to the “unusually long stints”.

The Italian tyre manufacturer also admitted that the high-downforce loadings produced by the 2020 cars represent the “biggest forces ever seen on tyres” in F1 history, thereby resulting in at least five cars losing out over the weekend.

Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Carlos Sainz suffered front left failures in the closing laps of the race, with only winner Hamilton making it home without losing out on a position at the second Formula 1 triple-header of the season at Silverstone, last weekend.

For Hamilton, it was the 87th win of his Formula 1 career and his seventh in the British Grand Prix. In the process, the British driver set a new record for the most wins in his home race. On Saturday, Hamilton had booked his 91st pole position in the premier class, his third of the 2020 season and his seventh at Silverstone.

It was also the 100th occasion on which he has started from the front row in a Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 car. Hamilton’s pole time of 1:24.303 is a new Formula 1 record at the Silverstone circuit. At the same time, it was the eighth consecutive pole for the team at Silverstone, which sets yet another record, namely the most successive poles on one and the same track.

But, all this nearly didn’t happen for Hamilton, who clung on to his lead and bring his car home as Bottas and Sainz both dropped out of the points after their last-minute stops.

Valtteri Bottas' tyre shredded with two laps to go at Silverstone.
Valtteri Bottas, who had been giving team Hamilton a run for his money during this season, dropped out of points after his tyre shredded with two laps to go at Silverstone last Sunday. Image Credit: AFP

Pirelli’s investigation indicated that the unexpectedly long second stints triggered by the safety car that came out when Daniil Kvyat crashed – co-incidentally because of a right rear puncture – led to the late failures.

“The key reason is down to a set of individual race circumstances that led to an extremely long use of the second set of tyres,” Pirelli announced in a statement that was released post-race.

“The second safety car period prompted nearly all the teams to anticipate their planned pit stop and so carry out a particularly long final stint - around 40 laps, which is more than three-quarters the total race length on one of the most demanding tracks of the calendar.

“Combined with the notably increased pace of the 2020 Formula 1 cars (pole position was 1.2 seconds faster compared to 2019) this made the final laps of the British Grand Prix especially tough, as a consequence of the biggest forces ever seen on tyres generated by the fastest Formula 1 cars in history,” the Pirelli statement has sought to explain.

“The overall result was the most challenging operating conditions for tyres. These led to the front-left tyre (which is well-known for working hardest at Silverstone) being placed under maximum stress after a very high number of laps, with the resulting high wear meaning that it was less protected from the extreme forces in play,” the statement added.

Despite the events of last weekend, Pirelli has no plans to alter things this weekend when the drivers assemble for the fifth round of the 2020 Formula 1 season at the same venue in what is deemed to be the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.

“Pirelli will stick with its original plan to go one step softer for this weekend’s 70th Anniversary GP at Silverstone, with the C2, C3 and C4 in use, without the hardest C1 compound,” the statement said.