Qualifying for the 2023 São Paulo Grand Prix was delayed by 15 minutes following calls from Pirelli to the FIA for the track surface to be cleaned.

Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso both suffered rear-left punctures during the sole hour of practice earlier on Friday in which drivers had spotted screws and nails on the racing surface, and loose stones left drivers feeling they had been “sand blasted”.

Teams reported that most of the debris was situated in the pitlane of the Interlagos circuit.

F1 tyre supplier Pirelli called for the FIA to clean the track in response to the issue which will leave those impacted at a disadvantage in losing a set of tyres.

“We had a couple of punctures due to debris and we also found some cuts on the tread. Obviously, we are going to inform the FIA to clean the track,” Pirelli motorsport Mario Isola said.

“I believe the problem is the pitlane more than on track. But we have to pay attention because we had a couple of punctures.”

Marshalls had been seen sweeping the 2.7 mile circuit, delaying the start of the session to 15:15 local time.

Aston Martin performance engineer Tom McCullough mentioned in the Team Principal’s Press Conference that during a Thursday track walk, the team had noted the dirty track in his feedback to FIA race director Niels Wittich.

“We always walk the track; we always measure the track to understand the grip level and the state of the track,” he said.

“It was very dirty as far as the rainwater running across – the mud you can see as you go around. We always report back what we think of the track to the race director. We said it was dirty.

“We didn’t actually notice any debris out on track. When Fernando did his first run, the first comments he had were, ‘lots of stones. I feel like I’ve been sandblasted as I’m driving.

“We could see the front wing; the front of the car had taken a hard hit.”

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