Tyre explosion eliminates Vettel from Austrian GP lead

Sebastian Vettel - Credit: Scuderia Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel was forced into retirement during the Austrian Grand Prix after suffering a right rear tyre failure on the run down to turn one.

The German had taken over the lead of the race at the Red Bull Ring but his chances of his first win of the season disappeared at the start of lap 27 when the right rear Pirelli Supersoft tyre exploded in spectacular fashion down the start/finish straight.

The Scuderia Ferrari driver had started ninth after a pre-race grid penalty for a gearbox change had relegated him from his fourth place on the grid, and was running third before first Lewis Hamilton and then Kimi Raikkonen headed to the pits for their first pit stop of the afternoon put Vettel into the lead.

The safety car was deployed to retrieve the stricken Ferrari, with Nico Rosberg having run over the debris running close behind Vettel when the tyre exploded, while Rio Haryanto was lucky to avoid the Ferrari as well as he came back across the track.

It is Vettel’s third failure to finish of 2016, after previous retirements in Bahrain and Russia, while every time he has finished so far he has finished on the podium.

Vettel was the second retirement of the race, with Daniil Kvyat having pulled off the track early in his Scuderia Toro Rosso at turn one with just a handful of laps completed.