BBC’s Ben Edwards described the tyre situation in Formula One (F1) as a ‘mess’ after Nico Rosberg won an enthralling British Grand Prix on Sunday.
The broadcaster’s lead commentator for F1 described the exciting action on the track at Silverstone for millions at home, but the race was marred by several tyre blow-outs — most notably to Lewis Hamilton when the British driver was leading after seven laps.
Hamilton eventually finished fourth, but it was Mercedes teammate Rosberg who took the win from Red Bull’s Mark Webber and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso after triple world champion Sebastien Vettel suffered a gearbox failure when he was out in front.
Edwards — who lives in Wortham, a village just off the A143 between Bury and Diss — said: “For all sorts of reasons I hate to see tyres letting go like that.
“Whether it’s a problem with the circuit or a problem with the tyres, that’s the disturbing aspect that has come out of this.
“But what an enthralling race we had with Hamilton suffering a tyre failure and then Vettel leading and then going out, which is so unusual with Red Bull being three-times champions in both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships — it’s so rare for them to suffer a failure.
“They have been amazingly good, so that’s been disappointing for them, but fair play to Nico Rosberg, who was in the right place at the right time.
“He drove really well and fended off Mark Webber at the end, so we had a grandstand finish — the race had a bit of everything.”
Hamilton got off the line in the lead, with Vettel leapfrogging Rosberg into second, but fourth-placed Webber — who announced at the start of the weekend he would be leaving F1 at the end of the season — had a terrible start, dropping down to 15th.
Felipe Massa was the biggest winner at the start, moving up to fifth from 11th.
However, the tyre drama began when Hamilton suffered a blow-out of his left rear tyre on lap seven — forcing him to limp on three wheels for almost an entire lap to get back to the pits — and Massa was the next to suffer that misfortune, with the deflation spinning him off the track.
Toro Rosso’s Jean Eric-Vergne became the third driver to be hit by the failure, with the track getting littered with debris and bringing out the safety car.
More drama followed when Vettel’s gearbox packed up round the final two corners and the rest of the field swept past him before the safety car was called again to allow for the championship leader’s Red Bull to be moved.
The remaining seven laps were packed with excitement — including a tyre blow-out for Sergio Perez — as Alonso and Hamilton progressed up to third and fourth, while Webber finished just 0.7 seconds behind winner Rosberg.
Rather than the result of the race, the tyres became the focus of questioning in the post-race interviews, while commentator Edwards also had his take on the matter.
“The whole tyre thing is a bit of a mess at the moment,” he said.
“Pirelli have had to try and work with one arm tied behind their back because they haven’t been able to test with the current car and these cars are producing more downforce than the test car they have got, which is a few years old, and that is relevant.
“Some teams want the tyres to change and others don’t, so they are stuck as to whether they can do anything with the tyre or not.
“To be honest, the whole situation has been messy and I don’t put all the blame at Pirelli’s door, but what we saw shouldn’t be happening.
“On a fast track like Silverstone, the consequences could be horrible and something needs to be sorted out.”
Pirelli were due to meet the FIA on Wednesday to come up with a solution ahead of this weekend’s race at the Nurburgring in Germany.
Heading to the home of Vettel, Edwards believes Mercedes are making progress towards fighting the reigning world champion for this year’s title.
He said: “You look at Mercedes and they are now second in the Constructors’ Championship — they’ve got ahead of Ferrari — and they’ve got two great drivers.
“So have Red Bull, but Mercedes are definitely on a bit of a charge.
“Alonso got what he could out of the race — he finished in a good position with very good points — and he’s had a bit of bad luck this year, so things do balance out.
“I think he’ll feel the fates have smiled on him and turned against Vettel, but it’s the way it goes.
“I still think the championship has a long way to go before we really know who is going to win it, but Red Bull are still the favourites.”