Lewis Hamilton has hinted that F1's race officials attempted to manipulate the result of the Belgian Grand Prix following an "unnecessary" safety car.
Twenty four hours after Hamilton equalled Michael Schumacher's all-time pole position record, the Briton, celebrating his 200th race, halved the deficit to Sebastian Vettel at the summit of the championship.
But Hamilton's victory, his fifth of this see-saw campaign, came under threat with 14 laps remaining after veteran race official Charlie Whiting deployed a safety car following a collision between Force India team-mates Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon.
Debris from the Force India cars littered the entry to the high-speed Eau Rouge corner and the ensuing Kemmel Straight, and the safety car was sent out to enable marshals to clear the danger.
But Hamilton felt aggrieved that the decision would cost him victory. ''Why have they got the safety car out?,'' a disgruntled Hamilton said over the radio. ''There is literally no debris anywhere. That's a BS [bulls***] call from the stewards."
Hamilton, however, managed to hold off Vettel for what could prove to be a crucial win. The gap stands at seven ahead of next week's Italian race.