Monday 21 May 2018

Vettel in broadside at Pirelli as blowout ends faint title hopes

Lewis Hamilton celebrates after winning yesterday’s Belgian Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton celebrates after winning yesterday’s Belgian Grand Prix

Daniel Johnson

The start of the Belgian Grand Prix was expected to provide the controversy in this race but its bitter conclusion did it instead.

For while Lewis Hamilton embodied calm after strolling to victory, Sebastian Vettel's temper exploded with as much violence as his right rear tyre had done moments earlier.

The German's Pirelli tyre had shattered on the penultimate lap as he left Eau Rouge - the most daunting corner on the calendar, taken at nearly 200mph - ruining both his probable third place and his already slim championship chances.

It also destroyed any semblance of faith he had in Formula One's oft-criticised tyre suppliers.

The four-time champion accused the Italian manufacturer of risking his safety and was quickly supported by Nico Rosberg, who suffered a similarly terrifying blowout in practice on Friday.

"Things like that are not allowed to happen," the 28-year-old said. "If it happened 200 metres earlier, I'm not standing here now, I'd be stuck in Eau Rouge. If this happened earlier then I'm f****d. I don't know what else needs to happen."

Pirelli, having been battered publicly ever since it entered the sport in 2011, was quick to defend itself just two weeks before what is the company's home race. Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery, pointed out that Ferrari were the only team to try a one-stop strategy. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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