Pirelli has completed its investigation into Kimi Raikkonen's tyre failure during the closing laps of the British Grand Prix and believe 'the possible cause of this damage is consistent with contact against an external body'.
The Finnish driver suffered a front-left tyre failure with three laps to go during the British Grand Prix, while Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel suffered a separate front-left tyre puncture a lap later, but Raikkonen was able to continue on a partially-inflated tyre to get back to the pits and change tyres to return to the track in third place behind Mercedes pair Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.
Pirelli unveiled Vettel's blowout was caused by a slow puncture, which dropped him to seventh place at the finish, and have now confirmed Raikkonen's puncture was likely to have been caused by picking up damage from an external object.
The Italian manufacturer explained its investigation saw it run rigorous tests on other front-runners' tyres in similar conditions but found no signs of wear on damage over a similar mileage as Raikkonen's incident.
"The results of the analysis on Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen's front-left soft compound tyre, which experienced an issue at the end of the recent British Grand Prix, reveal specific damage in two places at the edge of the belt close to the internal shoulder area," the Pirelli statement read. This damage is not present throughout any other areas of the tyre whatsoever. Furthermore, the belt and the structure do not show any signs of fatigue.
"The possible initial cause of this damage is consistent with contact against an external body, leading to a partial separation of the belt from the carcass in the two affected areas. In one of these two places, as a logical consequence, part of the tread also became detached. This damage did not however compromise the actual tyre structure, with Raikkonen able to make his way safely back to the pits on an inflated tyre.
"A number of detailed tests have since been carried out, both destructive and nondestructive, on other tyres used by frontrunners at the British Grand Prix with a similar or bigger distance on them compared to the set used by Raikkonen (for 25 laps).
"On no occasion was there any sign of fatigue, detachment or laceration - or even the beginning of such problems - that affected the structure of the tyre. In conclusion, Pirelli can confirm that no issues have emerged connected with the tyre itself."