Monza mess evokes memories of Abu Dhabi at Mercedes


Chaotic end to Italian Grand Prix leads to difference of opinion at Mercedes.

As the field proceeded behind the Safety Car to the chequered flag, Lewis Hamilton couldn't help but feel that had the same rule been applied last December he would have had an eighth world title.

With Daniel Ricciardo's McLaren 'parked' between the two Lesmos and stuck in gear, marshals had to wait on a recovery vehicle to move it, and all the time the lap remaining count was ticking down.

The FIA subsequently justified the decision to not stopping the race and restarting it.

"While every effort was made to recover car number three quickly and resume racing, the situation developed and marshals were unable to put the car into neutral and push it into the escape road," said a spokesperson for the sport's governing body.

"As the safety of the recovery operation is our only priority, and the incident was not significant enough to require a red flag, the race ended under Safety Car following the procedures agreed between the FIA and all competitors. The timing of the Safety Car period within a race has no bearing on this procedure."

Had the same procedure been adopted in Abu Dhabi following Nicholas Latifi's crash, Hamilton, who was leading the field at the time, would have claimed his eighth title.

At that time, race director, Michael Masi, contrary to the rules, gave the green light for one final lap of racing, at the start of which the Briton was overtaken by Max Verstappen.

"It always brings memories back," Hamilton told Sky Sports at race end. "That is the rule that it should be, right? So only one time, in the history of the sport that they haven't done the rule."

However, for once, team boss Toto Wolff didn't agree with his driver.

"It's very clear," said the Austrian. "There are rules and they are written down, and from my perspective, whether I'm Abu Dhabi traumatized or not, these rules have been followed to the dot today.

"There was a car out on track, there were marshals and a crane out there. That's why they didn't let anybody overtake.

"Then it was not enough time to restart the race once all cars crashed out.

"If one is not happy with the regulations, and you want to have a big-bang show and two laps of racing and mayhem, I think I'm absolutely up for it," he added. "But then we need to change the regulations. So I don't think we should complain about anything that happened because this is the rules."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Monza here.

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Published: 12/09/2022
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