The finish of the Italian Grand Prix was very reminiscent of the controversial finish of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The only difference is that at Monza the rules were followed, while in Abu Dhabi they were blatantly broken.
The Italian GP finished behind the Safety Car, with Max Verstappen in P1. Contrary to what happened in Abu Dhabi, this time the FIA followed the full Safety Car procedure, which means all lapped cars had to be allowed to unlap themselves, and the race could then be restarted only after one additional lap under the Safety Car.
Since the FIA determined there is no time to do this procedure, the race ended under the SC. In Abu Dhabi the race director only allowed lapped cars between Hamilton and Verstappen to unlap themselves, and restarted the race immediately on the following lap.
This, of course, led to Verstappen overtaking Hamilton on the last lap, on fresh tyres, winning the race and the 2021 championship in the process.
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Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff says he is happy that the rules were followed today.
“I’m really satisfied to see that there is a Race Director and colleagues that apply the regulations against the pressure of the media, and the pressure of the fans and everybody to just be in breach of the regulations,” the Austrian said.
“So at least Abu Dhabi, in that sense, gave the FIA more robust confidence to apply regulations.
“It’s very clear, there are rules and they are written down. And from my perspective, whether I am Abu Dhabi traumatised or not, these rules have been followed to the dot today.
“There was a car out on track, there was marshals, and a crane out there. That’s why they didn’t let anybody overtake. And then there was not enough time to restart the race once all the cars caught up.
“So 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.
“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.”
Toto added that if Formula 1 doesn’t want to end races behind the Safety Car, there are ways to craft the regulations in a way which would make this possible.
“I think we need to say ‘do we want to have a race finishing under green?’ And then reverse-engineer it from there.
“So you can say ‘five or ten laps to the end, if we have a Safety Car, let’s red-flag it and make sure that we are racing at the end’. If that’s in the regs, good.
“But I think there’s much more clever people, the sporting directors, that would have some ideas,” Wolff concluded.