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F1 drivers express concerns about the safety car

A puncture four laps to go caused Verstappen to spin out on the main straight at one of the fastest points on the course, crashing into the wall and leaving debris scattered over the track.

The incident ultimately led to the race being interrupted so that the track could be cleared after the deployment of double-waved yellow flags and a safety car under a red flag.

When most of the drivers had passed the scene of the accident, however, the safety car had not yet been deployed, which led Ferrari to inform Leclerc via team radio that he was still racing for position after passing the yellow flags.

“That’s a joke, that’s a joke,” replied Leclerc. “Immediately safety car, what are you waiting for?”

The safety car Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB16B, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12 and the rest of the field

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

The safety car was eventually deployed, but Leclerc said after the race that he was still unsure why it was taking so long for race management to neutralize the race.

“I was just surprised that there was previously no safety car, so I expressed my concerns on the radio,” said Leclerc when asked by Autosport about his message.

“Because it was clear to me that with a crash like this I would stop pushing. It’s in the middle of a straight, so it’s pretty dangerous.

“It just took longer than I expected, that’s it. But I think all the drivers were surprised in the same way.”

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Leclerc added that he will “definitely go into it” at the next driver briefing with FIA Race Director Michael Masi “to understand why it took a little longer than normal”.

Leclerc’s Ferrari team-mate Sainz was also worried about the delay.

“Usually in such a big accident there is a double yellow first and then seconds after a safety car,” he said.

“Today it took, I think, 30 seconds, a minute until the safety car was deployed, and we only had to experience a very serious accident under yellow flags.”

GPDA director Vettel was also of the opinion that the use of the safety car had taken longer than usual.

“I was wondering a little why it took so long, when Max had the shunt, until the safety car came out,” said Vettel.

“It was pretty clear that he was in the middle of the track and it took a little long, but we’ll see. We’ll find out why.”

In just under two weeks after Friday training for the French Grand Prix in Paul Ricard, the drivers will next meet Masi.


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