George Russell gives his comments on Italian GP Safety Car finish

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

George Russell gives his view on finishes behind the Safety Car, and notes that this was discussed after the controversial 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Italian Grand Prix finished behind the Safety Car, after the FIA followed full safety car protocols.

The exact opposite happened at the controversial 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where race director Michael Masi broke several rules to allow for one final lap of racing, which in turn unjustly prevented Lewis Hamilton from winning his eighth world title.

While some are saying the Italian GP should have been red flagged, so that it could then be restarted and end under green flag conditions, Lewis Hamilton said that in the case of a late Safety Car, the races could be extended.

George Russell, who is one of the directors of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, says this was debated in the aftermath of Abu Dhabi.

“You can’t extend the race,” the Briton said.

“Following Abu Dhabi, we had some discussions about races ending under the safety car. I think we looked at every single race since ’98 and it happened 10 times.

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“Maybe that’s wrong, don’t quote me on that but maybe it’s worth looking at. But you can’t extend the race without enough fuel so it’s just how it is.”

Russell then conceded that a finish behind the Safety Car is simply something that can happen in racing if current rules are followed.

“It’s obviously not always easy when the car stops in an awkward place. We always want to end a race under green flag but you know, what can you do?

“It’s just how the game goes. And I don’t know what the race picture looked like but I don’t think it would have changed the result, either way.

“What is clear though, is these one-stop races, minimal tyre deg, they don’t seem to offer that much of an exciting race.

“But I haven’t obviously seen what the race was like behind us,” the Briton concluded.

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