Christian Horner says F1 abandoned a key policy by allowing the Italian Grand Prix to finish under a safety car.
The Red Bull boss’s lead driver, Max Verstappen, won the race to take another step towards his second world title, which could be clinched as early as the next race in Singapore.
However, even Horner was unhappy with the manner of the finale of the race after Daniel Ricciardo broke down in a tricky position on the track. As marshals struggled to move the stricken McLaren, there was confusion when the safety car picked up George Russell’s third-place Mercedes rather than leader Verstappen, who was booed past the chequered by the disgruntled Italian fans.
READ MORE: F1 commentator rages at Italian GP finish and tells chiefs to 'get in a room' to make changes
While Verstappen was a worthy winner, there was frustration that the race wasn’t red-flagged and restarted or that the safety car wasn’t called in earlier to allow at least one more racing lap.
“It was an anti-climax in the end,” Horner told Channel 4. “We had the fastest car and Max had the race under control. We were denied, as well as all the fans, the chance to win it on the track.
“I can’t quite understand why it took so long. I think the safety car picked up the wrong car and that delayed things yet further. It goes against the principles of everything we’ve talked about in avoiding that scenario.
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“I’m delighted for the victory but sorry for fans, that they didn’t get the grandstand finish they deserved.”
Asked if he thought there was a nervousness among stewards following the controversial events of last season, when Verstappen was able to pinch the title from Lewis Hamilton after the usual safety protocols were not applied in Abu Dhabi, Horner replied: “I think so. The ‘let them race’ philosophy was abandoned today. It was disappointing. There was more than enough time to get that race going, the car wasn’t in the barrier.
“It needs to be looked at closely because we needed to avoid that. Or if they couldn’t get the race going, they should have red-flagged it.”
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