Debris considered likely cause of British GP punctures for Mercedes, Sainz

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Suspicion was falling on debris as the likely cause of tyre failures for both Mercedes' and Carlos Sainz late on in the British Grand Prix.

A largely processional race at Silverstone delivered an unexpected sting in the tail as the German manufacturer lost a certain one-two finish, while Sainz was running in fourth at the time of his puncture.

Red Bull too noted many cuts on Max Verstappen's front-left tyre after they pitted following Valtteri Bottas' failure. 

And, while Pirelli is yet to confirm an official reason for the delaminations, motorsport boss Mario Isola did initially hint at a perfect storm scenario.

"It's a bit early now to give you any conclusion but it could be high wear because for sure tyres with 38 laps or more on this circuit are quite worn, but I'm not saying that the wear is the cause of the issue," he commented.

"It can be debris because we had the pieces of the front wing of Kimi [Raikkonen] that were on track and also some other debris.

"So that's why we want to investigate not only the tyres with a failure, but all the tyres used in the last few laps of the race, to understand if we find any other cut or any other possible indication on what happened.

"We don't want to exclude anything, we want to analyse everything 360 degrees and avoid excluding any possibility because it's a big mistake when you make these kinds of investigations.

"We have to consider all the possibilities.

"What we can do is to analyse the tyres from the race to understand if there is anything in the construction that was subject to excessive stress, or whatever, but this is one of the investigations."

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Isola then explained that with degradation being so high around Silverstone, that also makes them more vulnerable when debris is on the track.

"The level of wear is quite high, this is a factor, looking at the tyre from [Romain] Grosjean the first stint. it was completely worn, and I had a look at some tyres coming also from the second stint, and the level of wear is close to 100%.

"So we have to understand If this is the cause of the failures or not. What is clear is that when you have a tyre that is completely worn the protection of the tread on the construction is less.

"So if there is any debris, any small piece of carbon on track, it is easier to damage the tyre, because you don't have any rubber on the tyre that is protecting the cord, and some cords are visible on the tyres.

"So that's why I'm saying that the level of wear is close to 100%."

This isn't the first time the British GP has been blighted by punctures, with several cars, including Lewis Hamilton having failures in 2013, while both Ferrari's had a near-identical fate as Mercedes back in the closing laps back in 2017.