Lewis Hamilton felt Formula 1 drivers were put at risk by the late decision to restart the Tuscan Grand Prix, following the multi-car pile-up which caused the race to be suspended. 

F1’s first ever competitive visit to Mugello proved a dramatic affair with a Safety Car thrown just seconds into the race for an incident which eliminated Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly.

During a rolling restart, Carlos Sainz, Kevin Magnussen, Antonio Giovinazzi and Nicholas Latifi were all wiped out in a major accident which forced the race to be red flagged.

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Hamilton insisted that his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, who was leading the pack at the time of the restart, was not responsible for causing the dramatic crash.

“Firstly, it’s absolutely not Valtteri’s fault at all,” Hamilton said.

“It’s the decision-makers. I don’t know who. They’re obviously trying to make it more exciting but ultimately today you’ve seen they’ve put people at risk.

“So, perhaps they need to rethink that. They have been moving switching off the Safety Car lights later and later and later and we’re out there fighting for a position.

“Especially when you earn a position like Valtteri earned the position of being in the lead and then obviously they are trying to make it more exciting – but today was a little bit over the limit perhaps. But he [Valtteri] did exactly what anyone would do.”

Reflecting on the incident, Bottas added: “I don’t know who’s deciding what’s happening with the Safety Cars but they’re trying to make the show better by turning the lights later.

“So we can’t build a gap early and then go like the corner before the race start. They in the main straight, so maybe it’s time to think if that’s right and safe to do so.”

Asked whether he thinks F1 is risking compromising safety for the show, Hamilton replied: “I don’t want to overstep the mark.

“I know the fans were excited with the last race, with the restart and everything so it seemed like they… if there’s a piece of paper on the track they’re going to put the red flag out and do a restart and I can understand why and that is exciting.

“Ultimately, these races can get boring when everyone streams out and there’s such big gaps between everyone and so this does bring it back it in.

“They do it in NASCAR, the put out the yellow flag all the time and safety cars, whatever, all the time to keep the race exciting, but they definitely need to take into account the safety aspect because today wasn’t particularly safe with the restart.

“I could almost see that coming. I’m sure they will learn from it and we will move together, the sport together.”

 

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