Tyre safety fears dominate controversial British Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton leads calls for urgent attention to the issue as five cars suffer blowouts in a controversy-packed race at Silverstone
Lewis Hamilton led the calls for urgent attention to this year's controversial problems with the fast-failing low-durability Pirelli tyres after yesterday's controversial British Grand Prix.
Hamilton took as many plaudits as his teammate Nico Rosberg when he recovered from a massive tyre explosion to finish fourth. Rosberg won, though he later was called before the race stewards to explain why he didn't slow down for the yellow flags between bends three and five over an hour into the race. He escaped with a reprimand.
In a race marred by five tyre failures and two safety car interventions, Hamilton lost the lead before fighting back from last place.
"The safety is the biggest issue, it's unacceptable...," said the 28-year-old 2008 world champion. "We had that tyre test [in Spain in May] to improve the tyre and to have four blowouts is unacceptable.
"It's only when someone gets hurt that someone will be doing something about it. I think it's a waste of time talking to the FIA [International Motoring Federation], and if they don't do anything that says a lot about them."
His former teammate Jenson Button of McLaren concurred: "There is nothing to be said - everyone can see what happened. We've had five tyres fail over the last few days, so it's a big issue and something that needs to be sorted out. It doesn't change how you drive, but of course it's on your mind. Happening at 300 kph, like for Checo [Perez], it's not right. It's not just dangerous for the driver in the car, it's dangerous for all the other cars.
"The cars behind get hit by rubber that has metal in it. It's got to change. I don't think anything needs to be said. We all know the situation."
As the drivers reflected on the dangers of Pirelli's succession of tyre failures in the aftermath of the race, and the controversy that followed Mercedes' 'secret' test with Pirelli last month in Spain, the FIA's president Frenchman Jean Todt held emergency meetings with the Italian suppliers.
Rosberg survived huge late pressure from retirement-bound Australian Mark Webber of Red Bull to claim his second win of the season.
It was Mercedes' first victory in Britain since Stirling Moss won in 1955 at Aintree and Rosberg's second in three races and third of his career.
Rosberg, who won earlier in the season in Monaco, said it was a wonderful moment for him to win a race his Finnish father the 1982 world champion Keke never won.
"This a very special day for our team in our home race," he said. "We are progressing all the time so it's a very special day for me and the team today."
Webber, who had won this race twice, said he felt happy but also frustrated at just falling short. "It was frustrating, but the boys did a great job," said the 37-year-old.
"There were a lot of issues with the tyres and we were lucky and it was a clean race for us."
Fernando Alonso, who cut Sebastian Vettel's lead in the title race to 21 points, said his third placed finish was a bonus for him especially with his main rival failing to finish a race for the first time this season.
"It was a good race for us. We got lucky to recover some points and it was a good result for us in the end," said the 31-year-old.
Rosberg had words of consolation for Hamilton. "With Lewis, I feel sorry for all the British fans," said the German. "It would have been great for Lewis."