Formula 1 race director Michael Masi says a red flag was not needed during the Belgian Grand Prix in order to deal with the crash involving Antonio Giovinazzi and George Russell.

Giovinazzi crashed on his own exiting the Fagnes chicane and speared into the barriers on the right-hand side, before the oncoming Russell was also caught up in the incident as he looked to take evasive action.

Russell’s Williams was struck by a loose wheel that had torn itself off Gioviazzi’s car which sent the Briton into the wall on the left-hand side of the track.

Despite the large amount of debris spread across the track by the two cars, only a Safety Car was used in response to the crash. Masi defended the decision, saying it “wasn’t necessary to have a red flag”.

“A red flag is one of the many tools available to the race director, as is the Safety Car and the Virtual Safety Car,” Masi explained. “The marshals did a great job clearing a path through in the first instance quite quickly.

“Once the Safety Car line went through, there was a very clear path through there. So, in my view, a red flag was not necessary.

“From the FIA perspective whenever an incident occurs it’s always something that we look at and ways that we can improve any circuit. So I don’t think it’s just a Spa matter, every single incident we see what improvements can be made.”

Lewis Hamilton aced the Safety Car restart on his way to cruising to his fourth win at Spa-Francorchamps and his fifth victory from the opening seven races of the 2020 season.

The Mercedes driver has subsequently extended his championship lead to 47 points over Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.