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Pirelli suspects debris led to Verstappen tyre failure

Formula 1 tyre supplier Pirelli believes debris led to the tyre failure that pitched Max Verstappen out of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Verstappen jumped Lewis Hamilton at the start of the race at Imola to claim second spot but dropped to third after the Briton extended his first stint.

The Red Bull driver nonetheless re-claimed second, at the expense of Valtteri Bottas, in the aftermath of the Finn running wide through Rivazza.

But Verstappen then suffered a high-speed spin into the Villeneuve gravel after his right-rear tyre instantly failed on the approach to the curve.

“Obviously we need to look at the medium tyre to understand exactly what happened,” said Pirelli chief Mario Isola.

“It seems that some debris on the track could have caused a puncture.”

It marked Verstappen’s fourth retirement of the year and third in as many rounds on Italian soil, following engine-related setbacks at Monza and Mugello.

It also mathematically ended Verstappen’s slender title prospects.

“I had a good start and was enjoying fighting and staying with both Mercedes cars,” he said.

“I pitted early to trigger the pit stops and Valtteri followed, but he had damage and started holding us up after the stop so we lost a lot of time to Lewis who was in clean air.

“Once I got past him, the pace was there and the car felt good. I was actually having a lot of fun and then suddenly on the straight I lost the car because of some sort of tyre failure.

“It’s a big shame because it would’ve been very nice to have second place and another podium.

“It is what it is and to score zero points is obviously not what you want but overall the race itself was very positive.”

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