Vettel's birthday to forget in Austria

RELIEF: Ferrari's Vettel gets out of his car after his right rear tyre explodes, causing a crash during Sunday's race. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE


    Jul 05, 2016

    Vettel's birthday to forget in Austria


    SEBASTIAN Vettel has had better birthdays than the 29th he marked at the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday, even if he could at least enjoy the warm glow of Germany's Euro 2016 football prowess over Italy the day before.

    The Ferrari Formula One driver, who started ninth after a five-place penalty for a gearbox change, crashed out when his right rear tyre exploded at speed on the pit straight while he was leading following pitstops for others.

    The day before, the German had cheerfully refused a birthday present of an Italian football shirt, suggesting the television reporter who offered it might need it to wipe away her tears after the quarter-final in France.

    Germany went on to win in a penalty shoot-out.

    There were no tears in the Ferrari ranks at the Red Bull Ring on Sunday, only relief that the blowout had no serious consequences.

    "I didn't feel anything, or rather, I felt it when it was too late and it exploded out of the blue. There were no signs before that, everything was normal," said the four-time champion.

    "I spoke with the people on the pit wall and everything looked the same, the pace was the same as the lap before, the tyres felt fine, the lap times were fine. It's completely a question mark on why the tyre had the failure."

    Pirelli said the circumstances of the failure, which brought out the safety car after the Ferrari skewed into the pit wall and then back across the track, were being investigated but it appeared to be an isolated incident.

    Vettel denied Ferrari had adopted an aggressive strategy, even if the plan was to go for as long as possible on the supersoft tyre.

    He had done 27 laps at the time of the failure.