Hamilton on crash after safety car situation: "Today it was over the limit"
By Robert McGillivray 14 September 2020 | 10:08
During the first restart of the Grand Prix of Tuscany things went completely wrong. Front runner Valtteri Bottas hit the gas very late and the drivers at the back didn't quite get it. The result was a crash involving several cars and another safety car. The German Auto Motor und Sport explains exactly what the problem was.
"The safety car protocol requires all drivers behind the leader to maintain a constant speed and an even distance", the site says. "Overtaking is of course forbidden, but some drivers in midfield couldn't wait to resume the race. They accelerated even before Bottas increased his pace".
The drivers in the back reacted to the cars in front and also started to accelerate. When the early starters noticed they were wrong, they applied the brakes again. The cars in the back couldn't react in time anymore, which resulted in a crash with several cars.
There was an accordion effect in which some drivers managed to avoid the slower cars, but others did not. Eventually, Kevin Magnussen, Antonio Giovinazzi and Carlos Sainz ended up in the wall. Williams driver Nicholas Latifi also dropped out. Nobody was injured, but after the race, everyone agreed that the situation was extremely dangerous.
Romain Grosjean blamed the leading driver, but Bottas thinks it is not his fault. "Of course I was looking for my advantage and accelerated as late as possible", said the Finn. "But before that, I drove at a constant speed. And as you know, the race doesn't start again until I get on the gas". Bottas believes that the 'guys who crashed there don't have to whine'.
Safety car the culprit?
After the race, a number of drivers asked the FIA to find a new solution to avoid such situations in the future. According to Bottas, race management is also partly to blame. "Lately it has been observed that the lights on the safety car are going out later and later," says the Mercedes driver. "We can't create enough distance with it and pick up the pace a few corners earlier, for example".
"They're trying to make it more exciting," adds teammate Lewis Hamilton. "But today drivers were in danger. The lights on the safety car go out later and later. Today it was probably a bit over the limit".
Red Bull Racing rider Alexander Albon supported Bottas and said, "When the line is back that far, it's clear he's going to pick up the pace as late as possible. If some drivers in midfield are wrongly anticipating to gain an acceleration advantage, this is what you get". Albon calls it dangerous, but predictable. "The less time you give the leader to pick up the pace, the easier it is to read when the restart will take place". (Photo: Mercedes AMG F1)
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