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Aug.30 (GMM) Formula 1 is scrambling to learn from Sunday’s farcical Belgian GP at fabled Spa-Francorchamps.
Amid the ongoing covid crisis, thousands of fans stood all day in teeming rain for a race that ultimately took place over two official laps behind the safety car.
Seven time world champion Lewis Hamilton was furious.
“It was a farce,” said the Mercedes driver, who collected the trophy for third place behind pole-sitter and winner Max Verstappen, and Williams’ George Russell.
“The only people to really lose out are the fans who paid good money to watch us race. But money talks. It was literally the two laps to start the race – it’s an all-money scenario.
“So everyone gets their money, but I think the fans should get theirs back. I think the sport made a bad choice today,” Hamilton said.
However, even Hamilton – whose championship lead was cut to just 3 points with the half-points outcome – admitted the track conditions were undriveable.
Only Verstappen, who lapped the safety car from the front, argued that the race could have taken place after 3pm despite the difficulties.
“First of all, it was the right decision not to race,” Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz said.
“All the people criticising at home are talking nonsense. Basically, you could not see from here,” the Spaniard said, demonstrating a small distance from his eyes with his hand.
The other Ferrari driver, Charles Leclerc, added: “With what happened here (to Anthoine Hubert) two years ago, I think it was the right choice.
“We are not afraid, but prevention is better than cure. We must appreciate that there are human lives behind the steering wheels.”
Verstappen surmised: “I think with recent events, they didn’t want to risk another big shunt happening. It just didn’t feel right.
“Of course the fans won’t agree but you also have to think about safety.”
For some drivers, the biggest issue is that the two late safety car laps meant that Formula 1 could declare an official race and distribute half-points.
Sainz said: “Giving points for a race that didn’t happen seems wrong to me. If you have not competed, why are you distributing points for a race that didn’t exist?”
Former F1 driver Marc Surer told Sport1 he is expecting a “huge stink behind the scenes” in the following days.