Mark Webber was "very, very lucky" to finish the Singapore Grand Prix on the podium claims Bridgestone, after discovering that his tire was close to coming off its rim following his collision with Lewis Hamilton.
The World Championship leader survived a mid-race brush with Hamilton to take a third place that helped extend his lead in the points standings.
But it was only after the race that tire supplier Bridgestone realized how close Webber had been to suffering a puncture – with his tire millimeters from slipping off the rim.
Evaluation by Bridgestone showed that the collision with Hamilton had pushed the tire off its normal mounting on the rim. There was approximately 5mm left between the inner edge of the rim and the tire – and if it had slipped over that small distance it would almost certainly have resulted in the tire losing its pressure.
Bridgestone's director of motorsport tire development Hirohide Hamashima said it was incredible that Webber's tire had stayed intact.
"He was very, very lucky. It was just 5mm from slipping off," Hamashima told AUTOSPORT. "If it had slipped off then the pressure would probably have gone down. So Mark was lucky there, but also with the track, too. If there were very high-speed left hand corners here, then the tire would have moved a little bit more and then it would have been finished."
When asked if he had seen a tire stay inflated like that before, Hamashima said: "No. A few times I have seen it for a few laps, but over 25 laps is incredible."
Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner admitted that Webber had had some good fortune judging by the post-race inspection of his tire.
"Mark has ridden his luck because looking at the state of that front right tire it is pretty much off the rim," he said. "I have never seen anything like it."