A sudden left-rear tyre failure sent Verstappen careering into the wall along Baku’s long main straight with five laps to go, with the incident resulting in a red flag suspension and the race to end with a two-lap sprint to the finish following a standing restart.

Despite Verstappen’s heavy impact with the wall which scattered debris across the track, racing continued for nearly a full lap before the Safety Car was deployed, something Leclerc branded as a “joke” during the race.

“That’s a joke, that’s a joke,” Leclerc said over team radio when informed they were still racing after passing the scene of Verstappen’s crash.

“Put the fucking safety car out straight away, why are they waiting?”

Leclerc explained after the race that he still unsure why it had taken so long for race control to respond and said he would be raising the issue at the next drivers’ briefing at the French Grand Prix.

"I was just surprised there was not a Safety Car earlier, that's why I raised my concerns on the radio," Leclerc said.

“For me, it was clear I would stop pushing with a crash like this. It's in the middle of a straight, so it's quite dangerous.

"It just took longer than what I expected, that's it. But I think all the drivers have been surprised the same way.

“The Safety Car thing I will definitely bring up just to understand why took a bit longer than normally. That will be a point I raise.”

Most of the drivers had passed the scene of Verstappen’s accident before the Safety Car was deployed, meaning they continued racing after the yellow flag zone.

Some drivers, including Leclerc and Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz, visibly slowed more than others approaching Verstappen’s crashed car.

“I nearly got overtaken by [Daniel] Ricciardo,” explained Sainz.

“Both Charles and I slowed down, we must have been the ones to slow down the most. Basically a Virtual Safety Car there or a Safety Car would have helped more I think.”

He added: ”Normally when there is such a big accident, first there is a double yellow, and then straightaway seconds after there is a Safety Car.

"Today it took, I think it was 30 seconds, one minute, for the Safety Car to be deployed, and we had to go through a very heavy accident in only yellow flag conditions.”

 

Comments

Loading Comments...