• Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Vettel perplexed by puncture

ESPNF1 Staff
November 13, 2011 « Austin plays down Ecclestone's doubts | 'It was one of my best races' - Hamilton »

Sebastian Vettel said that he was left perplexed by the puncture that caused his retirement on the first lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Vettel lead in to turn one but as he took turn two he spun off the track with an instant deflation of his right rear tyre. Having limped back to the pit lane, Vettel was forced to retire with the flailing rubber having caused too much damage to the rear suspension. Vettel told the BBC that he had no prior warning until he approached turn two.

"To be honest, at the exit of the first corner everything seemed fine," Vettel said. "As soon as I started turning in for the second corner I could feel something was odd on the rear right, and then I had to catch the car surprisingly. The second time I had to catch it I couldn't do it anymore; I'd lost too much air already on the rear right and had a puncture and spun off. On the way back I damaged the suspension so badly that we couldn't carry on."

Vettel said he had no explanation to why the puncture had occurred, but that he it was something the team needed to look in to.

"It looks like on the exit we lost tyre pressure and then the tyre was flat by the time I went in to turn two. I don't really know why, there's nothing that I did different to any other laps, or different to any other drivers. So we need to really understand what exactly caused the puncture and whether it was an issue with the tyre, whether I ran off the track too much, cut the kerb at a funny angle, I don't know."

Vettel also said that he didn't know if he would have won the race after retaining the lead at the start, but that it wasn't worth dwelling on the lost result.

"Up until that point I think we had a very good start, I was very happy with the car and it's hard to say how quick we could have been. I think Mark [Webber] had a difficult race; his pace looked good so I think the car was in good shape. On the other hand I think Lewis [Hamilton] and Fernando [Alonso] I think drove a solid race at the front and had good pace. I think we would have had a chance, but it's difficult to stand here and tell you what could have been. It's difficult to know what could have been, in the end it didn't happen because we didn't make it much more than one lap."