Mercedes: What’s gone wrong at the F1 and can they recover?
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Lewis Hamilton has called for the FIA to consider a rule change regarding safety car restarts towards the end of races after the Italian Grand Prix. The seven-time champion claimed race directors should add more laps to races after Max Verstappen cruised to victory, denying Charles Leclerc a chance at fighting for the win.
Speaking on his team radio after the chequered flag, Hamilton said: “In situations like this they should just extend the race.” He backed up his comments after the race when he was pushed on his suggestion by RaceFans.
Hamilton explained: “I mean, what’s the harm in extending it? Naturally, as a racer, you want more time. I wanted to be able to challenge the Ferrari ahead of me and see if I could get another position.
“But I think in hindsight it was probably a good ending. I’m really grateful to have come back from the last row.” The Grand Prix was neutralised after Daniel Ricciardo stopped between the two Lesmo corners with five laps remaining.
However, marshals struggled to move the McLaren with cars unable to un-lap themselves before the end of the race, meaning they reached the chequered flag behind the safety car. It comes just months after Hamiton lost the title in Abu Dhabi on the final lap after a similar incident.
However, on that occasion, officials restarted the race before all lapped cars could re-pass the leaders. Hamilton’s suggestion has already been adopted by some racing series including the British Touring Car Championship where his brother, Nicholas Hamilton, currently competes.
The rules of the series state races can be extended by three laps if three or more are run behind the safety car. Fans and pundits also suggested the FIA could have red-flagged the race to allow for a two or three-lap showdown.
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However, the FIA defended their actions, claiming the incident was “not significant enough” for a red flag to be thrown. Despite winning the race, Red Bull boss Christian Horner also claimed the race should have been restarted.
Horner explained: “They had more than enough time to get that going. They picked up the wrong car, they had to let all those cars catch up again. We need to go through the details.
“For me, there was more than enough time to get that race going again with a car that wasn’t even in a barrier. It was parked at the side of the track.”
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