Lewis Hamilton criticised the decision to complete two laps of the Belgian GP behind the Safety Car before finally calling the race off, claiming “money talks” and that he wanted to see the fans who attended the circuit on Sunday refunded.
On an unprecedented day for the sport amid amid relentless rain at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, FIA Race Control attempted to start the race twice either side of a near-three hour delay.
Hamilton took issue with the second attempt to start the race.
Two laps were completed behind the Safety Car before the red flag was thrown again, with the laps completed enough for the race result to be called and half points awarded to the top 10.
With no actual racing taking place, Hamilton was classified in the order he qualified, third, with Red Bull title rival Max Verstappen winning the race after taking pole on Saturday.
Under F1’s regulations, a race result can be called and half points awarded if at least two full laps of the Grand Prix are completed.
“I mean, money talks,” said Hamilton told Sky Sports F1. “It was literally the two laps to start the race, it’s all a money scenario.
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“So everyone gets their money and I think the fans should get theirs back too because unfortunately they didn’t get to see what they came and paid for. It’s a shame we can’t do the race tomorrow and I love this track as well, so sad that we couldn’t do this. But today wasn’t a race.”
In a later post on his Instagram story, Hamilton said “today was a farce” and that “we should have just called it quits, not risked the drivers, and most importantly refunded the fans who are the heart of our sport”.
FIA explain decision to send cars back out
Speaking to Sky Sports F1, FIA race director Michael Masi said that their weather data indicated there was a potential improvement in the conditions.
“We are in constant contact with our official weather provider and there was a window it looked like it was provided there,” said FIA race director Michael Masi to Sky F1.
“We have got the requirement to give a 10-minute warning to everyone so it was like ‘ok, let’s try to see if we can find that window’.
“A number of the teams have said the same thing, they saw that window and could see exactly what we were tying to do. Then the weather came in and got the better of us again.”
F1 president Stefano Domenicali backed Race Control’s decision making and said that there was no commercial element to the decision to return to the track.
“There was really the will to do the race,” he said. “But the problem is that the weather started to be even worse and with the comments that the race control was receiving it was really wrong to keep on doing that because it was clear after that unfortunately after that gap potential the weather wouldn’t improve. So that was the reason behind that.
“So it’s not really commercial on that, I can guarantee you.”
More to follow…
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