Lewis Hamilton criticised Formula 1 officials for endangering drivers with their approach to restarts behind the safety car after a chaotic Tuscan Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver won the race, to take the 90th victory of his career and move within one of Michael Schumacher’s all-time record, but the event was overshadowed by a series of controversial incidents, including two race stoppages.
Lewis Hamilton said the way governing body the FIA handled a safety car restart, which led to a multi-car pile-up that took four cars out of the race, “put people at risk so maybe they need to rethink that”.
The top three drivers all expressed the same opinion about the FIA’s decision to delay the point at which the safety-car lights are extinguished, which defines the moment from which the leader can control the pace.
Hamilton, team-mate Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull’s Alexander Albon all said the decision to do so at the last corner left the leader with no option but to back up the field until he reached the start-finish line, where racing can start, to reduce the risk of being passed.
At Mugello, this led to confusion among the drivers behind.
Haas driver Kevin Magnussen slowed down as he approached the line, reacting to cars in front. Williams’ Nicholas Latifi took avoiding action and, unsighted until the last second, Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi rammed into the back of Magnussen’s car. McLaren’s Carlos Sainz then hit both Latifi and Giovinazzi, who came close to rolling, before his car settled back on to the track.
“It’s absolutely not Valtteri’s fault at all. It’s the decision makers. I don’t know who.” Lewis Hamilton said
“They have been moving the switching off the safety car lights later and later. We are out there fighting for position. Especially when you earn a position like Valtteri earned the position of being in the lead.”
“Obviously they are trying to make it more exciting – but today was a little bit over the limit perhaps. But he [Bottas] did exactly what anyone would do.”
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