Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel suffered his first retirement of the F1 2011 season today in Abu Dhabi when his right-rear tyre suffered an 'instantaneous loss of pressure' on the opening lap.
The German, who had qualified on pole and who made a good start to lead into turn 1, was pitched into a spin at the second corner and while he limped back to the pits in his RB7, he was unable continue.
Speaking about the incident, Vettel was at a loss to explain precisely what had gone wrong and the matter is now being investigated.
“On the exit of the first corner, everything seemed fine and then turning into the second corner I could feel that something was odd on the rear right,” Vettel recounted. “I had to catch the car surprisingly and then the second time, I couldn't do it anymore, as I'd lost too much air in the rear right tyre. I had a puncture and spun off. When I got back to the pits, the resulting suspension damage meant we couldn't carry on.
“There wasn't anything we could have done better really this weekend; we just need to look at what had caused the puncture now.
“I had a good start and I was very happy with the car up until that point. To lose the race there, so early on, it hurts for sure.
“There wasn't much we could do, so after that I took the opportunity to learn a little bit on the pit wall.”
Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner meanwhile was equally disappointed to see the double world champion spin out through no fault of his own.
“After such a great qualifying yesterday, it was a really frustrating race. Sebastian made a perfect start and had a clear lead into the first corner and then an instantaneous loss of pressure in the tyre made him a complete passenger,” Horner added.
“The resulting suspension damage from that meant there was no alternative but to retire the car.”