The crash happened after the safety car went in and the race was restarted. Some of the drivers at the back accelerated a bit early and caused a multi-car crash that involved Antonio Giovinazzi, Kevin Magnussen, Nicholas Latifi and Carlos Sainz.
This prompted Romain Grosjean to exclaim: “F**king stupid from whoever was at the front”.
The man at the front was Valtteri Bottas, who slowed down while leading the field to the restart line. However the Finn claims what he did was all within the rules.
“We’re allowed to race from the control line, which has been there for a while I think,” explained Bottas.
“The difference this year is the safety car, they are putting the lights off quite late, so you can build a gap pretty late on.
“Of course when you’re in the lead, you try to maximise your chances, and I’m not at all to blame for that. Everyone can look at everything they want for it, I was doing consistent speed until I went.
“Yes, I went late, but we started racing from the control line, not before that. The guys behind who crashed because of that, they can look in the mirror. There’s no point whining about it.”
Bottas went on to question current safety procedures.
“It’s just… the FIA or FOM, I don’t know who decides what is happening with the safety cars, but they’re trying to make the show better by turning the lights later, so you can’t build a gap early and go the corner before the race starts.
“Maybe it’s time to think if that’s right and safe to do so,” concluded the Finn.
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His team-mate Lewis Hamilton also pointed the finger at F1’s rulemakers.
“It’s absolutely not Valtteri’s fault at all, it’s the decision-makers,” said Hamilton.
“They’re obviously trying to make it more exciting, but ultimately today you’ve seen they put people at risk, so perhaps they need to rethink that.
“They have been moving the switching off the safety car lights later and later and later, and we’re out there fighting for position, especially when you earned a position like Valtteri earned a position of being in the lead.
“Then they are trying to make it more exciting, but today was probably a little bit over the limit perhaps.
“[Bottas] did what anyone would do,” concluded the Briton.
However Race Director Michael Masi quickly responded saying the FIA was not doing anything to “spice things up”.
“Absolutely not,” Masi said.
“From an FIA perspective, safety is paramount full stop. End of story.
“In my capacity as race director and safety delegate that’s point blank where my role is: as sporting integrity and safety. And anyone who says otherwise is quite offensive personally.
Massi went on to deny that the lights on the Safety Car were switched off relatively late.
“They can criticise all they want, if we have a look at a distance perspective from where the lights were extinguished to the control line, it’s probably not dissimilar, if not longer, than a number of other venues.
“The Safety Car lights go out where they do, the Safety Car [goes into] the pit lane.
“We have the 20 best drivers in the world, and as we saw earlier in the Formula 3 race those drivers in the junior category had a very, very similar restart to what was occurring in the F1 race and navigated it quite well, without incident,” concluded Masi.