Saturday 24 February 2018

Hamilton slams safety car's use after Belgium triumph

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton celebrates with the trophy after winning the 2017 Belgian Grand Prix. Photo: Francois Lenoir/Reuters
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton celebrates with the trophy after winning the 2017 Belgian Grand Prix. Photo: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

Newsdesk@Independent.ie

Lewis Hamilton took issue with Formula One's race direction yesterday, suggesting the safety car was deployed for longer than necessary at the Belgian Grand Prix to make the race more exciting.

The Mercedes driver won from pole position, slashing the championship lead of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel to seven points.

The safety car was deployed on the 30th of 44 laps and stayed out for four while marshals cleared up debris from a collision between Force India's Sergio Perez and Frenchman Esteban Ocon.

The restart proved a key moment of the race, with both Hamilton and Vettel on fresh tyres after pitting but with the German on the faster ultra-softs that threatened to give him an advantage over the softs.

"Why's the Safety Car out?" Hamilton asked his team over the radio. "There literally is no debris. That is a BS call from the stewards."

Hamilton managed to hold off Vettel at the restart, but only just, and then pulled away with the race settling down as before.

The Briton said he had actually benefited from an error which left him in the wrong power mode, allowing Vettel to pull level at the first La Source corner but denying the Ferrari driver a chance to get a subsequent run at him downhill to Eau Rouge.

Immediately after the race he suggested the safety car deployment had been a bit "like NASCAR where they keep pulling out the safety cars for no reason".

Irish Independent

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