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Verstappen: Pirelli cannot blame F1 teams for tyre failures

Max Verstappen says Pirelli cannot blame Red Bull and Aston Martin for the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix tyre failures and “have to look at themselves”. 

Damage on the car of Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Damage on the car of Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

After Verstappen and Aston driver Lance Stroll endured violent, race-ending crashes last time out in Baku when their left-rear tyres let go while running along the track’s main straight, Pirelli said the problem was “related to the running conditions of the tyre”, despite “the prescribed starting parameters (minimum pressure and maximum blanket temperature) having been followed” at each squad. 

This suggested that the tyres may have been running below the mandated minimum pressures when out on track, although both Red Bull and Aston insisted in separate statements in the wake of Pirelli’s investigation that there was “no car fault” that contributed to the problems. 

Speaking alongside Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who said “I don't think Pirelli are at fault”, in the pre-event press conference for this weekend’s French GP at Paul Ricard, Verstappen defended his squad’s actions. 

He said: “Of course, they explained that they don’t have measurement tools during the race, but we gave them our tyre pressures and they were within the limits they set.  

“If those limits are not correct, there is nothing we can do about it, we just follow what is possible within the rules.  

“If that means that we have to go up on pressures, we will – everyone will go up on pressures.  

“But they say they didn’t have the correct measurements, but we gave it to them after the race and it was shown that we didn’t do anything wrong there.  

“And also, Aston Martin didn’t do anything wrong.  

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR21, crashes out during Qualifying

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR21, crashes out during Qualifying

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

“So, they cannot put the blame on us. I think they have to look at themselves.  

“And we are here, happy to help of course with everything.  

“They already went up on pressure from Friday [in Baku] to Saturday, so that means something.

“Maybe it wasn’t enough. We’ll go up on pressures here, for sure, and hopefully that’s enough.”

Verstappen also said he was “personally not” happy with what he called Pirelli’s “vague” explanation of the Baku tyre failures. 

"For me it was just a bit vague what came out,” he said.

"But the only thing I can say is that from our side, I think the team did everything like they should have done. 

“They followed all the guidelines with tyre pressures and stuff. So, there was nothing to be found there.

“I don’t really get… for sure we’ll go up on pressures here for this weekend. I’m 100% sure we will.

“Probably it has something to do with that, what happened in Baku, but it would also be nice to just know if it was tyre pressure related.

“[Pirelli should] just speak out – it would be a bit easier to understand [if that happened] and I think the explanation we got so far [wasn’t enough] because the team didn’t do anything wrong.”

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