Max Verstappen correctly predicted Pirelli’s response to the tire failure that cost him victory in a scary high-speed blowout and crash late in the F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix at Baku on Sunday.

Immediately after the incident, F1’s sole tire supplier said it would investigate the cause of the Red Bull driver and Lance Stroll’s similar incidents. Both Verstappen’s Red Bull and Stroll’s Aston Martin had left-rear tire failure. Verstappen’s came while he was six laps from the finish line and with a comfortable lead of more than 2 seconds.

Verstappen led 29 laps and looked like a lock to extend his points lead in the championship. He added he wasn’t surprised by Pirelli’s united front to blame debris for the tire failures.

I already know what the outcome will be, but it’s still hard to accept,” Verstappen said. “It will always have something to do with carbon debris.”

Indeed, Pirelli declared in a subsequent post-race statement that “initial observations” show that the problems were caused by “an external factor.”

The Spanish newspaper El Mundo observed that it was “Pirelli’s usual excuse,”and Max’s father Jos Verstappen agreed that Pirelli always deflects blame after similar incidents.

However, Pirelli’s F1 boss Mario Isola told reporters that a “6 to 7 cm cut on the inner shoulder” of one of Lewis Hamilton’s tires was also found.

That said, he admitted that “these things shouldn’t happen and we can understand the need for answers.”

Verstappen never saw the debris field that Pirelli claimed must have been causing the tire failures.

“If there was really all this debris lying around, someone would have picked it up earlier,” Verstappen said. “We’re all driving on the same track.”

Pireli’s Isola said that Pirelli needs to do a full investigation in the coming days.

“We have a few indications of what happened but nothing more,” Isola said. “An exact result can only be obtained from an examination in our laboratory in Milan. But we rule out that it was wear. The tires still had enough rubber on them.”

Verstappen’s initial anger was subdued once he learned, while getting checked in the medical center, that his championship rival Hamilton made the late-race mistake that also put him out of the points.

“All’s well that ends well,” Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko told European media outlet ORF. “It’s just a shame because we would have expanded our lead drastically.”

Verstappen added, “Mercedes is very strong on normal circuits, so I really wanted to make the gap bigger here. But we’ll see. We’ve had two very positive weekends and the car was very strong. Nobody had a chance to make it difficult for me, so that says it all.”

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