Red Bull suspect debris caused the tyre failure which ended Max Verstappen’s race after he passed Valtteri Bottas for second place.

Verstappen’s race began well as he passed Lewis Hamilton immediately after the start.

“The start was good,” said Verstappen. “I got Lewis and then I was trying to stay with Valtteri.

“We both pitted of course, I tried to do the undercut. Then I think he had damage on the floor, so we were losing a lot of lap time and I couldn’t get close as this track is so hard to pass.”

After Hamilton got ahead of the pair of them through the pits, Verstappen also demoted Bottas. He took advantage of a mistake by the Mercedes driver, who was coping with a damaged car, at Rivazza on lap 43.

But a right-rear tyre failure pitched Verstappen’s car into a gravel trap at Villeneuve eight laps later.

“The pace was good, the car was feeling quite good and then suddenly on the straight I lost the car,” Verstappen explains.

“There was a tyre blow-out. I don’t know exactly what happened, but when I quickly looked at the car there was nothing broken on the car.

“It’s a big shame. It was a lot more fun as well. I was really pushing and trying to stay with them.. So it was a shame, not only to not be on the podium but also to have been second.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says the team believes the failure was caused by debris.

“We think that he’s picked up or hit some kind of debris,” explained Horner.

“He was on the radio to his race engineer at the time and ‘boom’ – the tyre suddenly went. It suggests it was just a total instantaneous puncture and that was a result of it. So very, very frustrating. It felt like today he had pretty decent pace so annoying not to get second place today.”

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2020 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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